Monday, May 16, 2011

168 Hours

168 Hours is the name of the book by Laura Vanderkam that I discovered through Justin Wehr's great list of books he's read. 168 is the number of hours in a week. An excerpt:
Most of us are accustomed to thinking about our time as 24-hour blocks. I've come to believe that it's more useful to think in terms of 24/7, a phrase people toss about but seldom multiply through. The way I see it, anything you do once a week happens often enough to be important to you. The weekly 168-hour cycle is big enough to give a true picture of our lives. Years and decades are made up of a mosaic of repeating patterns of 168 hours. Yes, there is room for randomness, and the mosaic will evolve over time, but whether you pay attention to the pattern is still a choice. Largely, the true picture of our lives will be a function of how we set the tiles.
When people think about improving their life or becoming happier, in my observations the typical reaction is to look for more exceptional experiences, like traveling to a foreign country for a month. I lean towards the idea that improving the day-to-day should come first. Although it's not as dramatic of a change to, say, consistently read for an hour before bed as it is to go on an adventure, the small incremental changes add up to give a larger net benefit. Also important is the fact that the day-to-day is where you'll spend the vast majority of your time. It is important to note that exceptional experiences, however, can have a large effect on the day-to-day as well.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent!

    It's almost a back-handed compliment to call someone "up-and-coming," but I think Laura fits that label in non-back-handed way. She's doing good stuff, and I look forward to her next book (on personal finance).