Edel Grace

Programmer, Developer, Enthusiast

Book Review: 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

Nov 26, 2018 | Comments

168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

There are 168 hours in a week. This is your guide to getting the most out of them.

It’s an unquestioned truth of modern life: we are starved for time. We tell ourselves we’d like to read more, get to the gym regularly, try new hobbies, and accomplish all kinds of goals. But then we give up because there just aren’t enough hours to do it all. Or if we don’t make excuses, we make sacrifices- taking time out from other things in order to fit it all in.

There has to be a better way…and Laura Vanderkam has found one. After interviewing dozens of successful, happy people, she realized that they allocate their time differently than most of us. Instead of letting the daily grind crowd out the important stuff, they start by making sure there’s time for the important stuff. When plans go wrong and they run out of time, only their lesser priorities suffer.

Vanderkam shows that with a little examination and prioritizing, you’ll find it is possible to sleep eight hours a night, exercise five days a week, take piano lessons, and write a novel without giving up quality time for work, family, and other things that really matter.

Save your hours and don’t read this book. I am sure there are better time management books out there.

This was an absolute dull and boring read. I ended up skimming through the book after the second chapter, just keeping out for bolded words and headings. Thank goodness Laura made her book skimmable. I have no idea why so many “self-help” books insist on being about 100 pages longer than they should be. So let’s get this review out of the way.

I did, however, do the exercise to keep a log of what you do for a week and that was pretty fun. I will be posting results sometime soon!

The Good

  • Log what you do every day for an entire week at 15-minute increments to find out what you really spend your week doing
  • Find something that you can do in 30 minutes (or less) whenever you find yourself with 30 minutes of time
  • Spend more quality time with your kids (I have no kids but I agree, parents should spend time with their kids)
  • Interactive activities and questions to fill out

The Meh

  • Find out your core competencies and improve on them

The Bad

  • Do what you love as a career!
  • Hire someone to do your laundry, cleaning, etc.!
  • Hire an assistant! Since I’m a programmer, does that mean I should just hire someone to program for me??
  • Better yet, just don’t clean as much! You don’t really need a spotless house
  • Watch less TV! I already don’t watch TV
  • Cooking is a waste of time, just buy a ton of processed food
  • Who needs knitting? (I take much offense because I love knitting and crafts)
  • Random sentences were thrown in about religion (you do you, Laura, but don’t me what to believe in kthxbai)
  • Soooo many anecdotes. I don’t care, I just want the advice!


A photo of me

My name is Edel Grace Altares. My programming interests include full stack development and back end development. My languages of choice are Python and Java. Outside of programming I enjoy crocheting, video games, cats, historical fiction, and reading.