168 Hours

168 Hours


"168 hours" is a book written by

. She argues that the time we have is enough to fit our professional, social, physical, and emotional obligations, provided we make conscious efforts in allocating time for them.

Through case studies, she shows how imagining the outcome we want and planning the action items we would need to execute can help us reap reasonably good rewards.

The central idea behind 168 Hours

While people feel that they don't have enough time to handle work and personal commitments, they often fail to notice that a lot of the time gets wasted on menial tasks with minimal returns.

Instead, we should prioritize our interests and commitments and block time for beneficial tasks in the long term. We can do this by eradicating or outsourcing the short-term ones, which would give us more space to work on fulfilling tasks.

Major points

  1. Keep track of your time
  2. You can only improve what you know is sub-optimal. Once you track your time for a week or two, you'll realize that you spend a lot of time on menial things like scrolling on social media, checking your email, etc.

  3. Figure out your core competencies and spend time on those
  4. Do what you're good at where the motivation you get while excelling is like no other. If your job doesn't allow you a reasonable sense of autonomy, does not fulfil you, or doesn't foster a positive culture, maybe it's time to rethink why you're working there.

  5. Being busy is not the same as being productive
  6. You might think you are getting a lot of work done, but what's your actual output? Does it matter to you? Does it provide value in the long run? Does it contribute to your goals? If not, reassess your situation.

  7. Outsource what you can
  8. You can't and shouldn't do everything. Everything has an opportunity cost. Doing "Task A" at one time means you can't do "Task B." Do what is meaningful for you, and outsource the rest as much as possible. For instance, hiring help for household tasks will allow you to better focus on your job or side hustle.

  9. Improving your leisure time.
    1. Choose 2-4 activities or hobbies that you like or feel that you need to do.
    2. Create blocks in your schedule to perform these because doing them 'when you feel like it' isn't good enough.
    3. Commit enough time, energy, and resources to make these meaningful.
    4. You'll often find 10-20 min blocks in your schedule, so create a list of small activities that'd bring you joy and do them in these time blocks.


For implementing the ideas discussed in 168 hours, it would help to use the various productivity or time management tools available in the market.

Tools where you can create tasks for your goals, and block time for them on the calendar, will ensure that you don't have to rely purely on your willpower to get through them.

Overall, 168 hours is a good read for anyone interested in getting the most out of their lives and time.

Book Authors

Laura Vanderkam

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