Hello World!

Finally, it is here. The official launch day for 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.

What, you may ask, is 168 hours? It’s what you get when you multiply 24 x 7. There are 168 hours in a week.

Unless you are a regular reader of this blog, I am guessing you did not know this. Few people do. But I think “168 hours” is a much better way to think of our time than the 24-hour blocks we often picture.

One big reason: 168 hours is, for lack of a better word, big. Even if you work 50 hours a week (far more than most people actually do) and sleep 8 hours a night (56 per week), this leaves 62 hours for other things. More time than you’re working!

And yet many people who work 50 hours per week feel like they just don’t have time for a personal life. Why is that? Where does the time go?

Those are some of the questions I explore in this book. I also study people who do a lot with their time, who really use their 168 hours to build big careers and big families and nurture their communities and souls. I try to tease out their secrets. I draw on data from the American Time Use Survey (conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and other research to make the case that many of the impressions we have of how people spent their time in the past, and how they spend it now, are wrong. And I try to show how we can all use our time better. We can use it to, as Geoff Colvin says in a lovely blurb on the book cover, “make our lives richer, not busier.”

Who is this book for?

  • Anyone who feels busy. Anyone who feels like he or she just doesn’t have enough hours in the day. You may not have enough hours in a day but you do in a week!
  • It makes a great graduation present for a young person trying to figure out how to build a rewarding career and a fulfilling personal life. Heck, even the rather atrocious Publishers Weekly review of 168 Hours called my career advice “excellent.”
  • It’s a smart Father’s Day present for that man in your life who wants to get ahead in his career and support his family, but doesn’t want to miss out on, you know, the actual family part during that quest.
  • It’s for people who want to maintain their friendships, exercise, and volunteer.
  • And yes, it is for the working moms I imagine much of the coverage will focus on. (Not that I mind. Last time I checked, moms buy a lot of books).

I suppose I will be asked once or twice about my own life as people absorb this book. While 168 Hours is not about me, I can give this testimonial: as I’ve delved into these ideas, writing this book has changed my life for the better. I am more aware of my time. I am more aware of its abundance. I am enjoying my work more, and I’m getting better at it. I am getting better about thinking through the time I’m spending with my boys (even the grown-up one I married). I seem to be in better shape.

For all these reasons, and for the chance to share some potentially subversive and liberating thoughts with a broad audience, I am grateful that I got the chance to write this book. The actual writing was a total joy. Seldom in my life has anything come so easily as the 80,000 words I hope you will spend a few of your 168 hours reading. Of course, as I write in 168 Hours, the stories of career breakthroughs are seldom as smooth as the later narratives imply. The hard work of building up a platform in a new area as a new mom is a subject for some other time. Right now I am just trying to enjoy this launch. I am trying to remember, as I write in the book, that though “things that were once uncertain seem, in retrospect, to be inevitable,” you can choose to hold onto the excitement of a breakthrough if you make a decision to do so.

I hope you will enjoy this journey as well to making the most of our time. I really do believe that we have more time than we think. We can create the lives we want in the 168 hours we’ve got.

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