Laura was interviewed this week on NBC’s Today Show! Here’s the link to the video.
Original Post 6-1-10:
Ever since I was a young kid, I have always been looking for ways to increase my efficiency and effectiveness by outsourcing repetitive tasks that I still want done properly (e.g., grocery shopping, laundry, housecleaning). For those who say I should still do it all, my response is that since I was 11, and for the next 25 years, I did the family laundry, most of the housecleaning, and some of the cooking as well. More importantly, outsourcing certain tasks creates more free time for I consider to be more valuable activities (e.g., spending time with my family, generating revenue, writing and research, catching up with friends). Still, I’m always looking for ways to improve my productivity.
That is why I was delighted that fellow Princeton Tiger Laura Vanderkam has just published a terrific new book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. I liked the premise of the book so much that I pre-ordered it from Amazon, and emailed Laura some questions about her book:
1) What prompted you to write the book?
As a new mom several years ago, I kept hearing that there just wasn’t time to build a career and raise a family. So I thought I would write about this “time crunch.” Only, as I started to interview busy people, I realized that many didn’t feel starved for time at all. I changed my mind and decided to let myself be inspired by people who view time as abundant. I think readers will be inspired by their stories, too.
2) What results have you seen from those who’ve applied its principles?
While writing 168 Hours, I asked dozens of people to keep time logs for me. Most found it an eye-opening experience. Once people see how they are spending their time, they can see how to spend it better – that is, by filling their hours with more meaningful work or personal activities. I’ve included several time makeovers in 168 Hours. You can also watch a video at My168hours.com (http://www.my168hours.com/video.html) about how one busy mom and attorney found time to play with her daughter, and learned how to feel more relaxed about life in general.
3) What do you hope will be its impact on the world?
People have all sorts of reasons for why they are not living the lives they want, but a lack of time shouldn’t be one of them. I believe that in the 168 hours we all have each week, there is plenty of time to build a Career with a capital C, raise a happy family, exercise, volunteer, and still get enough sleep. When you focus on what you do best, on what brings the most satisfaction, there is plenty of space for everything.
4) Why do you say people have more time than they think?
Many people who work full-time think they don’t have time for a fulfilling personal life. But if you work 50 hours each week – far more than most people – and sleep 8 hours a night (56 per week), that still leaves 62 for other things. This is a lot of time. More time than you’re working! The question is whether you’re spending these hours in a way that is meaningful for you and the other important people in your life.
5) What was your biggest surprise when you were doing research for this book?
We lie! Maybe not intentionally, but people tend to overestimate how much time we devote to things we perceive as obligations, like work and housework. We underestimate how much leisure time we have. And we’re not off by a little. When you keep hearing that there’s just no time in our crazed world to build a rewarding, relaxing life, it’s tempting to believe it, and to answer surveys this way. Then other people read the results of these surveys and perpetuate these misperceptions. But when you force folks to keep serious track of their time with a time log, most discover that they have more time than they think.
I look forward to applying Laura’s book to my life — stay tuned!