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 October 2012

I have to admit that my posterior is feeling a tad sore as I have been sitting on the fence for too long. I really can’t make up my mind which way to fall on a particular topic, and it’s bugging me. Let me share my dilemma with you…

There seems to be to be two schools of thought regarding personal development. The first encourages you to be the best you can be. Find your passion, and take areas of your life that you are already good at and focus on these so you develop and excel at them. You become an expert in a topic, the go-to person, the guru. Our educational system is built on this approach – work out what you enjoy and are good at and over time discard the things you don’t like, or are not good at, dropping subjects and going deeper into your chosen area. This is the Specialist approach. But does it make sense to channel people into knowing more and more about less and less?

The other approach is to be a Generalist. Here we are encouraged to work on the areas of our life where we are not very good and improve. If our communication skills are poor we might be encouraged to go on a presentation skills course or to join a debating society. If we are disorganised and appear unstructured we might be sent on a time management course. But what if these people think and work in a different way? What if their creativity and ability to produce excellent design work does not depend upon communication or time management skills. What then? Would it really make sense to criticise Wayne Rooney for his poor goal keeping skills and send him on a special course for goal keepers?

And is the Specialist missing out on the breadth and depth of experience the world has to offer? Are they so focused on one area of life they exclude all others?

Are these approaches mutually exclusive? Well, the personal development books out there appear to give that impression. You either focus on the things you are good at and delegate / out-source those areas where you are not. This will make you happier and less frustrated with life. Or you need to be well-rounded, balanced and always looking to improve in areas of your life that are below par.

So, where am I coming out on this? What’s going to get me off the fence?

Clearly the Specialist and Generalist approach are not mutually exclusive. Most people are happy considering both approaches – but maybe are not sure which one to apply in a given situation. My feelings are that in our personal life we need to be a generalist with a wide range of interpersonal skills in our toolbox, but in our commercial life we need to be a specialist with focused expertise to bring to a problem.

Does this make sense? Or am I missing something here?