The Immutable Law of 168

Tom Peters, the management guru, said, “Calendars never lie.  They are 100% accurate and visible indicators of your priorities.”

There’s the Prado Principal or “the 80/20 Rule” (where 80% of the results come from the top 20%) and the Rule of 72 (72 divided by any percentage gives you the approximate number of years it takes for your money to double).  But one of the most powerful principals is the Immutable Law of 168.

The Immutable Law of 168 states: No matter how you “manage” your time, there are still only 168 hours in a week.  And the quality of your life will be directly related to how you spend your 168 hours.

I Googled “time management” and found 237,000,000 results.  When you compare that to Barak Obama (77,600,000 results), Global Warming (11,000,000 results), and Tiger Woods (47,500,000 results), we see that “time management” is a popular topic.

As much as I’d like it to be true, I cannot manage time.  “Time management” is not a time issue at all.  It’s a priority issue.  I can manage my priorities and activities, and choose between the better of two goods (because most decisions are not between the lesser of two evils).  And I can say “no” to many good endeavors in order to spend my time where I can have the most impact and meaning.

Time, unlike money, cannot be invested.  Time is a commodity that can only be spent.  And everyone has the same 168 hours in his or her week.

It would be great if we could “bank” the time spent waiting on something – like unused cellular minutes, to use more time doing things we actually want to do.  But there is no bank where you can store time to use in the future.  We can only spend it.

When it comes to the Immutable Law of 168, consider:  Are there activities I need to rethink?  Are there boundaries I need to establish?  Are there things I need to get onto my calendar, or things I need to eliminate from my 168-hour week, to improve the quality of my life and the lives of the people I love?  Do I spend my time focusing on things beyond my control or on the things I can control?  Am I doing the things that only I can do?  Am I living out who I was created to be?

How will you spend your next 168?

Many thanks to Dr. Terry O’Hara for sharing the Immutable Law of 168 with me.


One Response to “ The Immutable Law of 168 ”

  1. May 11, 2013

    Greg, I want to thank you so much for writing this blog post. My wife and I have been in active conversations about “letting go” of things in our lives that are crowding us and our focus. I will share this with her and your writing will help us go to the next level of our discussion.

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