Are you up for the 168 hour challenge?

By · Sep 16

Check this out.   A new book, blog, and challenge by Laura Vanderkam, the author of 168 hours: You have more time than you think.  I shudder at the thought of taking on another thing to do, like a time log, yet the promised benefit is soooo compelling.  Oh why must we have just 24 hours in a day?!


Her latest blog post (below) was particularly powerful for me as I realized last Sunday, as I was feeling a bit run down and asked my husband to take the kids out of the house for awhile, that I simply could not relax.  In order to allow myself to sit on the couch and watch a movie, I had to sit and fold the laundry at the same time.  Otherwise, I felt guilty that my husband was out with the kids and I was just sitting on my rear, not taking advantage of the time.  I knew it was nonsense at the time, and yet, I couldn’t stop.


I am very inspired by the idea, below, of scheduling time to sit in a coffee shop.  How I love to do that, yet never do.  Can I actually make that happen?



…the reality is that if you want to enjoy hours of indolence as a parent, you’re going to have to understand your schedule very well, and then schedule them in. You are going to have to create space for indolence, because otherwise it will simply get buried under the joys and needs of small children, under the demands and triumphs of making a living, or it will steal away in the arms of (as Keats writes in his poem) “Love, Ambition and that demon Poesy.”

How do you create this space? For me, it’s a two step approach. This week, I’m keeping a log of my time. I find that by understanding exactly how I spend the 168 hours we all have each week, I can start to see where I do have space for daydreaming. And then, I can start to honor this time rather than just checking email, picking up the toy flotsam (loved that phrase from The Happiness Project) that floats through our living areas or reading the Pottery Barn catalog. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron talks of setting artist’s dates, and there’s something to this. I carved out an hour this morning to run outside (which I find relaxing). Some weekday afternoons, I block out an hour to sit in a coffee shop and jot down thoughts. If my husband takes the kids on a Saturday afternoon, I resist the urge to clean the house, and instead work on cleaning out the cobwebs in my head. I don’t think these activities are an unproductive use of my time, because I log my time and I know I’m spending plenty of hours interacting with my kids and working on more concrete projects.

But it is because I know where my time is going that I’m able to have lethargic, joyfully indolent hours. An “Ode to a Time Log” may not sound as enticing as an ode on indolence, but there is great freedom in logging time in our distracted age. Being aware of our time helps to create “evenings steep’d in honied indolence” to quote Keats, and time to lie “cool-bedded in the flowery grass.”


What do you think of time log idea?  Are you going to do it?  Do you have TIME to do it? It seems to me that we all better make that time, before we either go crazy, burn out, or get really, really sick.  Your thoughts?

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