Are You Making The Best of Your 168 Hours?

sunset hourglassOver the past two weeks, I have completed a personal time study, which means that I have been recording what I am doing throughout the day in 30 minute increments. This comes from the book 168 Hours You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. I’ve mentioned this book a few times, and I’m curious to see if anyone else has done the time study?

Gratitude Tip: We really do have more time than we think. We simply don’t realize how we spend our days and so many of us believe that we don’t have enough time to do anything else. In order to live out our dreams, the first thing we have to do is to take back our time and control of our schedules.


Vanderkam has a great list of strategies to take control of our schedule in chapter 4 of her book. My favorite? Seize control of your schedule. It’s your life. Your one time to make a difference in this world. if you’re spending the majority of time doing things that you don’t enjoy – it’s time to make a change. Vanderkam offers many strategies on how to make the best of a job situation that isn’t ideal.

So, what did I discover? I did the time study for two weeks since my daughter was home from school for several days with a fever in the first week and it was her birthday weekend. Turns out, even with these challenges in the mix, my activities don’t vary too much from week to week.

  • Sleep: I sleep 8 hours a night, an extra hour on Sunday mornings (57 hours or a third of my time).
  • Core elements of business (inviting, prospecting, following up): First week, 9 hours. Second week 18 hours (due to a 5 hour event on Saturday).
  • Other business/work elements: 11 and 15 hours.
  • Blogging: 3.5 hours a week (30 min daily blogging)
  • Time spent with Céline: 21 and 18 hours. This includes morning prep and bedtime prep.
  • Exercise: 2.5 hours per week (30 min x 5 days a week) – this is the minimum recommended amount and as my foot is healing I am hoping to increase this.
  • iPad/TV: 6.5 and 4.5, since we don’t have cable, I watch tv on my iPad – less than 1 hour a day.
  • Personal care (including meals): 18 and 12. Not sure I spent as much time eating in week two!
  • Errands and housework: 17 and 6. Due to the parties in week one. Hard to track the 10 min of dishes here and there, plus the 5 min it takes to pick up 2-3 times a day. I will admit that my husband does spend about 2-3 hours cleaning on Sundays while I am at church.
  • Reading: 2 hours per week. I thought I read a lot more, but since I read quickly this means I usually finish a book every two weeks, sometimes more.
  • Time with Dan: 3 and 10. Looks like an area for improvement. Again, time eating meals together is not included in this number. More time in week 2 as Celine was at her grandparents for the weekend.

In total I was able to account for 160 of 168 hours in both weeks. And I feel good about how I am spending my time – so I can let go of any guilt around not spending enough time with my daughter or working on my business. Is there room for improvement? YES. The first step is being AWARE.

I highly encourage you to do the time study for a week or two – especially if you don’t have time to do it!! Take back control of your schedule and make time for the things you want to do as opposed to feeling like you HAVE to do them.

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