What is 168 Hours?

Each week you have 168 hours to use. This blog covers my ramblings on how to use them as effectively as possible.

It's not about stuffing as much as you can into the 168 hours. It's about ensuring that you use the 168 hours as best you can to ensure you get to where you want to go in as relaxed a state as possible.

Archive for March 2011

I’ve done a few 168hour sessions for friends and associates lately. Basically, it’s given me a chance to try out the material and to find the right approach to putting it all over. It’s confirmed in my mind the disconnect I often see between people’s daily schedule and their longer term plans. It’s almost as if we see our short term activities as being separate – and unconnected – from our longer term intentions. Steven Covey covered similar ground when he talked about the “urgent” vs. the “important” and that for many the urgent is often an excuse for why the important never happens.

Then a thought struck me. It’s like we have different concepts for “planning” based upon the time-scales involved. At one extreme we have “now”. Now is the only place where decisions (or indecision) is taken. At the other extreme we have out legacy – what we leave behind at the end of our lifetimes. Few people really understand (or accept) that the decisions we make in the “now” accumulate and create – over a lifetime – our legacy. In between the “now” and our “legacy” are a range of time management paradigms that are often treated separately, rather than as a continuum. The table below summarises some of these:

  • Now -> Decisions
  • Daily -> To Do List
  • Weekly -> Scheduling
  • Monthly -> Projects
  • Quarterly -> Planning reviews
  • Yearly -> Resolutions
  • Decades -> Goals
  • Generations -> Vision
  • Lifetime -> Legacy

This feeling was confirmed at a recent seminar that I was at that focused on the integration of your personal goals with your financial goals (part led by my IFA, Andrew Stinchcomb).  The seminar focused on seeing if the lifestyle we envisaged after we retired was consistent with our current financial activities. Clearly, there is no point having a vision of retiring on a certain income and having a specific lifestyle, without ensuring that there is a continuum back to the daily decisions you are making. Yet, most in the room had not worked back from their “legacy” to their daily “decisions”.

In between now and your legacy are the annual financial reviews, the projects to assess pensions, the scheduling of weekly expense etc. that lead to the daily shopping lists and informed decision making in the “now” regarding finances. If their is a disconnect between the “now” and the “legacy” then all of the future dreams are more aspirational than perspirational (that is, you have to work at it – not just imagine it)

The 168hours approach is only part of the solution – it needs to be seen in context – but I think it is a very important step in ensuring that we fill our week with actions and activities that, when summed over time, lead directly to our goals / vision and ultimately to our legacy…. that which we wish to leave behind.

(For great insight into the values based financial planning approach take a look at Andrew Stinchcomb’s site)