The Friday Round-Up

Yes, it’s still Thursday here, but I figured I’d get a head start.

Over at BNET, I discuss the 4 Words You Should Never Say. Longtime readers know exactly what they are: “I don’t have time.” Whenever you feel yourself tempted to say these four words, try using the phrase “It’s not a priority” and see how you feel. Often that is a perfectly adequate explanation. And sometimes it’s true even if it’s not politically correct (sometimes, reading yet another bed time story is not as much a priority as sitting down and finally reading the paper). Other times, though, it turns out we’re just lying to ourselves. We have time for what matters.

I also post on Why You Should Make a Bucket List. If you haven’t already made your List of 100 Dreams, I encourage you to do so! Time management isn’t just about saving a few minutes here and there — it’s about filling your life with things that deserve to be in it. What do you want to do with your time? A bucket list is a good way to answer that question.

Wired’s website ran a nice review of 168 Hours from GeekDad (though they take issue with my exercise nagging… yes, yes). As Jonathan Liu writes:

I found Vanderkam’s approach to time-management quite attractive in terms of how to think about time. Also, 168 Hours is not your typical time-management book, because it’s not just about suggestions for improving your workflow or helping you keep your inbox at zero. It’s more about the big picture, about figuring out how to focus on your “core competencies” and minimizing the rest. The reason Vanderkam uses the 168 hours figure is that twenty-four hours seems like such a short amount of time to cram everything in, but our lives are often lived out a week at a time. Our natural rhythm and our schedules are often made up of weeks more than individual days, and 168 hours seems like a lot more to play with and is a bit more flexible than a single day. …

Making good use of your time isn’t always easy, and the book doesn’t pretend that it is. There are tough choices to make, and sometimes it means cutting out things you like to make room for things you love. …

If you frequently find yourself feeling like you simply don’t have enough time for everything in your life, take a look at 168 Hours. Yes, it will take time to read the book and put it into practice, but maybe it’s worth giving up a couple hours of your life in order to get back so many more.

And, of course, if anyone hasn’t yet read Lisa Belkin’s Motherlode post on the Marginal Cost of Children, check it out. I was fascinated by the 156 comments — some very enlightening, and some surprising (why do people who don’t like children read and comment on a parenting blog?) Thanks to that post, I pretty much have my research done for that chapter of the money book!

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4 thoughts on “The Friday Round-Up

  1. the words “it’s not a priority” really helped make a decision about a classmate’s party my 4 year old was invited to. It was a 1/2 minimum drive each way, on a Friday evening, plus I had to go shop for a gift and I didn’t feel like doing it–but realizing that my time was more valuable I decided to say ‘no’ to it, and set up a playdate with the boy.
    It saved at least 4 hours of my time (party and shopping) and taught my son about priorities too. He realized that a playdate would give him more time with the boy anyway, and we’d both get to know our new friends better.

    1. @Denise- glad to hear those words are helping you! I have heard from a lot of people that that was the most powerful moment of the book. I certainly have tried to avoid saying “I don’t have time” since I wrote that 🙂

  2. About that Motherlode blog, there is one cost that I really think they missed– particularly when we are talking about young children — and that is childcare. Daycare is at best $1,000 a month until a child is say 4 or really 5, depending on if your area has good full-day preschools (few do) and/or full-day kindergarten — most school districts offer great full-day kindergarten but the child has to be 5 by Sept. 30th.

    I personally would NOT have a third child until my oldest was in full day “free” as in paid for by my property taxes — kindergarten etc. b/c we cannot afford $3,000 a month in daycare even if only for part of the year (we have my in laws live with us for at least six months a year)
    This is definitely an issue for WOMEN b/c often it is their salary that is judged against the cost of child care, so it is scary to think that that the second or third child would push you out of the workforce.

    1. @Cara – True, daycare would not really be a steep decline on marginal costs. But if you’re already paying for a full-time nanny (or have an au pair) then the marginal costs are pretty low. You’d just be paying for more years (or you could transition into daycare once you only had one kid who was pre-school aged again).

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