Peter Morscheck in Publishers & Bloggers, Entrepreneurs, Marketing Public Relations Consultant • Dale Curtis Communications Oct 1, 2016 · 2 min read · 2.0K

168 Hours

168 Hours

There are 168 hours in the week. Are you maximizing yours?

I’ve been reading a lot lately on Medium about productivity hacks.

This makes sense, as we live in the age of instant information, an age defined by the relentless pursuit of optimization.

The Four Hour Workweek

Exhibit A is Tim Ferris’s seminal book, The Four Hour Workweek.

The fatal flaw of the The Four Hour Workweek is that it changed the scale – the dark implicit conclusion of that book is that soon employers would catch on and demand that everyone implement many of the time-saving and outsourcing shortcuts presented therein as a matter of course, i.e. all the time.

(For more on this and additional criticisms of Tim Ferris’s approach to work and building his empire, see Penelope Trunk’s classic blog post 5 Time management tricks I learned from years of hating Tim Ferriss.)

But it boils down to this:

Were the central premise of the The Four Hour Workweek true, rather than cram 40 hours of productivity into just 4 hours per week, the new normal would be an expectation that employees do that 10x in a row, cramming 400 hours of productivity into a mere 40 hours, courtesy of our own personalized cadre of outsourced virtual assistants.

While this dystopian vision of a “new normal” has yet to happen, the premise of “life-hacking” has so taken root in pop literature and the blogosphere that efficiency gains and long hours are now expected in many more fields than a decade ago, all cloaked in the romantic aegis of the “start-up culture.”

“Live like no one else,” the old quote by Dave Ramsey goes – “so later you can live like no one else.”

This adage is great if you’ve got stock options in a pre-IPO unicorn in Silicon Valley.

For the rest of us, the pay-off is less secure.

I’m not immune to these promises of maximum productivity for minimal effort, or of figuring out shortcuts that maximize my time.

But at the end of the day the truth boils down to 168.

168 Hours

Each of us has the same 24 hours in the day. That’s 168 hours in the week.

This isn’t a mistake. For instance, the number has a special meaning in Chinese:

168 (一路發)when spoken in Chinese is "yi lieu ba," which sounds very similar to "yi lu fa," meaning “one road of prosperity.”

Thus, in Chinese the number 168 is associated with good luck and fortune.

An Average Day  

Here’s how the average American adult spends her time:

168 Hours

Given that the average adult in the U.S. gets just 6.8 hours of sleep per night (vs. a recommended 7.5-9 hours) – that adult spends 47 hours asleep, 47 per week on the job, and has just another 74 hours of waking free time to go about the business of life.

Let’s call those 74 hours “discretionary time.”

And thus, those 74 hours hold the key to success.

Your mileage, of course, will vary:

  • Long commute? Deduct as many as 10 hours.
  • Family responsibilities? Deduct another 25 hours.
  • Yoga (or a gym routine)? Deduct 6 hours.

But the point is this – no matter how many external demands on your time, there is a surplus that can be used to increase your happiness.

When’s the last time you audited your week?

What could you accomplish if you:

  • Cut out TV?
  • Skipped happy hour?
  • Could shorten your commute?

What could you accomplish if you focused just one waking hour per day on your dream?

That’s it. One hour.

1 hour a day, or 7 hours a week.

7 out of 168 hours, or 4.2% of your time.

“People overestimate what they can accomplish in a day, and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year.”

It all starts with living more intentionally, being more acutely aware of how you use your time.

But by making small changes to give yourself just another hour or two a day, a year from now, you could be astonished by how much you’ve accomplished.

Peter Morscheck is a public relations consultant based in Washington, DC. He blogs about marketing, branding and social media at, where this post first appeared.

James O'Connell Oct 7, 2016 · #22

OR leave the bullshite and get 47hours + the 7hrs = 54 hrs to put toward your own dreams and not those of others!
OK its not an easy road but certainly more fulfilling & fun if you like the ride & with best wishes you may not end up like the 'boss' who drove you to take the plunge into being the master of your own life. May you be successful enough to cut the hours back in favour of a more balanced work/family/life. May you lead those you employ to the same happiness you discovered from dropping devoting 47hrs p/w toward someone else's dream!

Personally I have taken the plunge big time. However I am lucky to have the support of my Mrs mainly. I've switched it to 47hrs to my dreams and 7hrs to part time gigs to help me along. In reality that 7 hrs can be more in a week but averages over time to 7. One day I will get that 7 back and hopefully too some from the 47. My quandary is that by the time I achieve such, my kids will have fled the nest etc

But i agree with your overall point about realising or being aware of our TIME budget and how we spend it. I fear many dont (' ' .)

+1 +1
Jared Wiese Oct 7, 2016 · #21

#19 #20 Searching from the home page goes to

Entering "productivity" yields: You could share it there too, Peter.

I already shared your article in
Per Wikipedia, "Life hack (or life hacking) refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life."

+1 +1
Phil Friedman Oct 7, 2016 · #20

#19 Yes, you can go to your home page. Search All Hives. Unfortunately, they are not sorted by topic, so you'll need to scroll through all of them, opening those that appear promising. You can filter for English. Or for business. Although if the hive title doesn't include the term "business", it won't get through the filter. Cheers, and thanks for the kind words.

+2 +2
Peter Morscheck Oct 4, 2016 · #19

#18 Thanks Jared and Phil. While I'd been following his work on LinkedIn for awhile, it was Phil's post on my blog that convinced me to start posting here!

I didn't know about All-Business. Is there an index page of all the hives so I could determine best fit? This one seemed like "productivity," but I didn't see a dedicated hive for it.

+2 +2
Phil Friedman Oct 3, 2016 · #18

#17 Yes, Jared. The author of a post that meets the topic-filtering requirements of All Business is invited to copy the link to that article and post it in the All Business hive. I encourage such authors, as well, to join All Business as a member... because I believe if one seeks distribution for one's work, one also should be willing to play at least a small role is helping to distribute the work of others. Anyone having any difficulty posting into the All Business hive as described above should simply contact me or Randy Keho directy, and one of us will seek to solve the problem. Cheers!

+2 +2
Jared Wiese Oct 3, 2016 · #17

#16 Thanks for clarifying, @Phil Friedman.
Many bees post honey to three shares and cannot share the original any more than that. Regardless, I presume you are suggesting that the author copy and paste a link to their honey or buzz as a "new" buzz in this hive. Correct?

+2 +2
Phil Friedman Oct 3, 2016 · #16

@Donna-Luisa Eversley, thank you for pointing out the posting policies of All Business. The reason for allowing shares only be by the original author of a post is that we want the author to be aware of the share and committed to engaging actively. There are plenty of "open" hives in which to share the work of others, so we do not feel that our restriction in All Business is detrimental to anyone, and is actually advantageous to our members. We do not want to be a mini version of the main feed. Cheers!

+2 +2
Harvey Lloyd Oct 3, 2016 · #15

#14 You are correct I find myself saying the "8" habits, but there were originally 7. I haven't gotten into the new series but a little. Thanks for the correction.

+2 +2