By Ruba Qaqish
Amid all revolutions and technological advances, time remains that valuable fixed resource we strive to use efficiently. While its measurement is universal, time ownership is personal and the way we approach and manage it is personal. Here we look at three books that offer very different approaches to time management.
Your 168 hours
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
by Laura Vanderkam
Vanderkam points out that we all have 24 hours every day and 7 days each week. That’s 168 hours a week. “When it comes to daily life,” she says, “The problem is not that we’re all overworked or underrested, it’s that most of us have absolutely no idea how we spend our 168 hours.”
She asks us to imagine a weekly calendar with 168 slots. That’s quite a big number. 168 hours is enough to sleep 8 hours a night (56 total) and if you want, work 50 hours a week. This takes you to 106 hours, with 62 remaining. In 62 hours, you can easily spend 3 hours a day (21 total) with your family, exercise for 5 hours, and still have 36 hours to shower, cook, travel, read, watch TV, or whatever. And remember that this assumes you’re working 50 hours per week.
If you treat your 168 hours as an empty calendar, you can build a life where you really can have it all.
Focus on what’s important
Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
by Brian Tracy
Tracy’s book acknowledges that we just don’t have time for everything on our to-do lists and never will. But successful people don’t try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure those get done. “Throughout my career,” he says, “I have discovered and rediscovered a simple truth. The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life.”
Top performers also know that if they have an important but unpleasant task, the best approach is to get it out of the way quickly.
There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do every day is eat a live frog, for the rest of the day at least you’ll know you’ve already finished the worst thing you’ll have to do all day. Successful people eat their frogs.
The ideal time management system
Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule—and Your Life
by Julie Morgenstern
Morgenstern believes that the real measure of success in time management isn’t how much you accomplish, it’s how you feel about how you’re spending your time. There is no definitive right or wrong way to manage your time – it will be different for everyone. Her book, she says, is not about how to schedule your life, but rather “identifying what’s important to you and giving those activities a place in your schedule, and helping you feel deeply satisfied at the end of each day.”
The ideal time management system is simply the one that makes you feel productive. Morgenstern says that identifying the types of barriers you face in managing your time the way you want will go a long way to helping you achieve a balance that will have you approaching each day with enthusiasm and will enable you to look back on your life and your career with satisfaction.
First published in the June 2018 edition of The Business Advisor.