168 Hours is the title of this pivotal text on time management by expert Laura Vanderkam. It is aptly titled after the 24 hours a day are multiplied by 7 and the result is the amount of hours everyone has in a week. She claims that we have more time than we think. Attributing modern complaints of "not having enough time" or "being overwhelmed" to either poor time management or over exaggeration, she makes the landmark argument, "Yes...there is enough time!" She makes the disclaimer that maybe there isn't enough time to do everything that you want to do, but that there is enough time (if you plan and prioritize) to focus on your core competencies (strengths and interests with which you invest your time) and develop both your hobbies, your family, your career, your soul, and your wellness.
Naturally, her first suggestion is to monitor and track your every minute (and categorize it) in a time log. Then you should do an analysis. What are you spending too much time on? Too little? What couldn't you seem to squeeze in? What is nagging you about your "situation"? Etc., etc. There are worksheets and tips available on her website: lauravanderkam.com if you subscribe with your email. One thing Ms. Vanderkam found to be endemic to most time management problems was the inordinate amount of time that people spend watching TV, and the relatively small time devoted to playing with/mentoring children and/or physical fitness. In fact, she makes the spark annotation, that one of her clients trains competitively for Ironman Triathlons (a full marathon 26.2-mile run, 2.4 mile swim, and 112 mile bike ride race) in only 5-7 hours per week. Needless to say, he only watched TV for 1-2 hours per week. She also solved many other time management quandaries for her clients in time makeovers which she describes in many anecdotes. She describes an executive who loved to play the guitar as a core competency, but found himself cooking instead most nights to keep costs down and eat healthy as eating out often resulted in poor, last-minute choices. So what did he do? He hired a local up and coming chef to prep the week's meals for him. Because the chef bought and cooked in bulk, he actually saved money doing this! So she makes generalized, sweeping suggestions such as sending out the laundry in a service (if you can afford it and it's available), using grocery delivery services, hiring a biweekly or monthly cleaning service and/or landscaping service, and many other great tips! And she's right!
When I started doing these things (previous to reading the book) they were life changing and really allowed me to focus on my core competencies of art, writing and yoga, as opposed to working around the clock by working full time at a career, and coming home to cook and clean as if I hadn't been at work all day! I already had monitored my time with the addition of a meticulously kept calendar the past few years, and ditched watching TV about 5 years ago; so I had first hand experience as to how and why these things actually work. Her advice that I found most useful was to prioritize your core competencies. If you love to cook and entertain, then going to the store to hand pick ingredients might be really enjoyable to you...but if you're just picking up the weeks supply of almond milk for coffee and yogurt for lunch, why not use a delivery service if this is not something you want to invest time and energy into? It's all about using your time to do the things you want to do, not the things you feel you should do. Anyway, I found her tips and tricks to be extremely sound and practical.
In addition to suggesting time logs, giving time makeover anecdotes, supplying helpful hints and suggestions. She stresses the importance of wellness. In particular nurturing your relationships, cultivating your physical fitness, practicing some type of mindfulness, spirituality or religious practice, spending time developing your education and/or career, and many more areas. She cites relevant research to emphasize the importance of these areas of focus in one's life, and why you should devote time to them. All in all, her suggestions could be profoundly life changing for you if you feel the need to read further it is available on amazon.com or audible.com.