41: 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

41: 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam


Where does your time go? And do you actually spend it where you think you do? These are tough questions when you dive into it, which is exactly what Mike and Joe do. Shure 87A Screencasts Online Heil Sound PR 40 Audient iD4 Shure 58A Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 JF Bridgette on Mac Power Users The […]

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I’ve become more relaxed about time management. It’s interesting to see task managers such as OmniFocus, 2Do, Todoist, Things, etc. that are great at holding tasks but doesn’t necessarily do well at scheduling tasks. I do see Things 3 has a view that shows “Today” and “This Evening”. But I think i can do this with contexts in OmniFocus. When OmniFocus 3 comes out with multiple tags, it might be even easier to do “Today” and “This Evening.”

For my time blocks, I’ll just put an appointment on my calendar that generally describes what i want done. I usually have titles such as “Admin Work”, “Big Rock”, “@Mac”. Then I go to a perspective or context to focus on a specific batch of tasks.

Otherwise, I’ll have anxiety when my carefully plotted schedule gets thrown for a loop and I just bang my head because nothing is going right.


One piece of this conversation that I always come back to is the phrase Patrick Rhone uses, “If not now, when?” It’s a simple question but it essentially means that if you’re not going to do the task right now, you should put it on the calendar.

There may be some validity to using the calendar as the ultimate task manager. It not only shows you the tasks but when you’re committing to doing them.

But I haven’t seem any mainstream task managers that have this figured out. Maybe there’s (yet another) app idea in there. :wink:


Todoist gets close-ish as their “due dates” more so function as “schedule dates”. If you look in the UI, it’s even labeled as such. This was a mindset shift I had to make in moving to Todoist from OmniFocus, but it’s been insanely beneficial. I can think about scheduling my task day, and shape that around my meeting calendar.


In this episode, a workbook named Five (I think) was mentioned several times. Do you have a link to this or more information?


It wouldn’t be this book, would it? I know we mention it quite a bit. I can have a listen to the episode and try to find it as well. Do you happen to have a timestamp?


Nope, not that one. It was mentioned as a workbook about about 18:20 into the podcast.


It was this one: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Will-Five-Years-Today/dp/1932319441/


Thank you for that. Very helpful.


I’m the follower that recommended this book to you! I’m so tickled that you read it, and since I finally listened to this episode, I wanted to share my thoughts.

You mentioned that Vanderkam’s advice about transforming your work hours isn’t applicable to people with Big Corporate jobs. I’ve been in the productivity space as a reader for years, and I have encountered exactly one person who both has a regular job and gives productivity advice. I think the problem is not so much that Vanderkam’s advice doesn’t apply to people working for the man, but that people who write and talk about productivity are almost all self-employed or working from home!

As far as her geographic and financial privilege canceling out her outsourcing advice, it’s noteworthy that we all have some aspects of our lives that seems like privilege to someone else. For her, that’s relative wealth and living in Manhattan. (Side note: Now, in 2018, she has four kids under 11 and lives in PA.) For you hosts, you work in very flexible jobs and have stay-at-home wives. For me, I don’t have any children. I think the part of her outsourcing advice that is broadly applicable is that, if you have money and don’t have time, spend the money to get the time. You could watch your own kids and not get to be alone with your spouse, or you could hire a babysitter and have time for date night. If I had a yard, I could maintain it myself, or I could hire someone else to mow and spend that time doing anything else I wanted to. The specific applications vary, but the principle is sound.


This is a valid point. It seems that self-employed folks have a lot to say about productivity since their success is largely dependent on learning self-control as well.

Another fair point. But I will say that it shouldn’t be your main method, which was the impression I received from the book. If you have the mindset that the only way to get time is to spend money, then you’ll be broke with no time for anything but work. Sometimes, grandma is an excellent babysitter. :wink:

And thanks for the recommendation! I do think there were some worthwhile takeaways from the book. :+1: