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I Know How She Does It

How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time

By Laura Vanderkam
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam

I Know How She Does It (2015) reveals how career-minded women balance work, family and time for themselves. Based on extensive research covering time logs to interviews, these blinks provide practical advice on time management for the modern working mother.

Key idea 1 of 9

Interruptions make our work days seem longer and longer.

How much do you work? Most of us think we toil at work for far too long, and our work/life balance seems heavily skewed towards work. This is especially true of working mothers: the more time they spend at work, the less time they have to spend with their families. But is this true?

According to the 2013 American Time Use Survey, the average mother with a full-time job works 35 hours per week. Mothers who earn over $100,000 USD work even more – up to 44 hours per week.

This does seem like a lot, but let’s take a closer look. A week has 168 hours. If we sleep eight hours each night and work 44 hours each week, we’ve still got 68 hours per week that aren’t spent at work. So why do we all think we’re workaholics?

It comes down to interruptions: those small, unexpected events that break up our working day can actually make it feel longer. In order to measure her working week, one woman tried to keep her days as routine as possible to get an accurate measure of her time management. But it just wasn’t feasible.

Constant interruptions when she least expected them kept her from working at a regular pace. Snow days prevented her from going to work, as did days when her children’s kindergarten was closed and family events, from a christening to an airport pickup.

Interruptions like these make us constantly feel like we’re behind schedule and always needing to catch up on work. But we shouldn’t have to feel this way! In the following blinks, we will look how people, particularly working mothers, can arrange their lives in order to get the most out of their days, weeks and years.

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