Review: The Other 8 Hours

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest.

8 hoursA while back, I reviewed Robert Pagliarini’s The Six-Day Financial Makeover and concluded that there was some very good advice buried inside a lot of marketing gloss. The core of that advice was strong enough that I kept an eye out for future books by Mr. Pagliarini, and now The Other 8 Hours has come down the pike.

This time around, Pags has written an interesting personal productivity book that doesn’t focus on workplace productivity. Instead, it focuses on your free time. How can you channel the time each day when you’re not working and sleeping to create new wealth and purpose in life (ideally with some leisure time, too, so you don’t go insane)?

I’ll be honest, though: the idea really strikes a chord with me. After all, I launched The Simple Dollar and grew it for two years in my spare time. Does Pagliarini lay out a good game plan for that kind of application of one’s spare time? Let’s dig in.

1 | Life Begins at 5:00 PM
For most of us, the time outside of work is the important part of our life. It’s where we spend time with our families and loved ones and engage in activities that are enjoyable to us. We work so that we can enjoy these moments. Pagliarini’s central argument is that if you seek out enjoyable and personally fulfilling activities that also have a second benefit – building skills, producing income, building connections – then your other eight hours can go to productive use as well.

2 | The Living Dead and the Dead Broke
Why do this? What’s the motivation for seeking out a better way to spend our “other eight hours”? Frankly, people are working more, experiencing more stress, and have more financial problems than ever before. Adding personal growth to one’s spare time goes a long way towards solving all of those problems while still being quite fun.

3 | Getting the Other 8
The first (and biggest) problem is that many people feel that they barely have eight minutes to themselves in a given day, let alone eight hours. “How are you supposed to find the time to do anything like launch something like The Simple Dollar?” one reader once asked me.

The key is prioritizing. In order to have free time, you have to prioritize what you spend your time on and just chuck some of the lower priority stuff. You simply can’t fit it all in. And, yes, the things you do in your spare time do have different priorities. Some of them do need to remain in place while others can easily be chucked. This chapter walks through some basic time management tactics that mostly revolve around figuring out what fits and what doesn’t.

4 | Lifeleeches
From there, Pagliarini moves on to things that commonly “suck time” for people – television is an obvious one, but so are news, the internet, perfectionism, gossip, video games – even answering the phone. The more of these distractions you can eliminate from your life (or at least successfully cage into a limited time and space), the better off you are.

5 | Shift from Consumer to Cre8tor
“Cre8tor” is Pagliarini’s term for people who devote their extra “8” hours – or at least some of that time – to creating things of value for others as opposed to just consuming. Even more challenging, you almost always win if you give it away. The Simple Dollar has 81,000 subscribers who get the content by email or RSS every day and just shy of a million visitors to the website each month. I got those by giving away almost everything I create.

6 | The Big List of FAQs
Obviously, ideas like this one almost always bring about lots of questions, so this chapter serves as a big FAQ (frequently asked questions) document. What do you do if you’re not creative, for example? Pagliarini’s solution is simple: partner with someone who is creative and put what skills you have to bear. So, for example, if you’ve got skills at marketing something someone else has created and you have a friend who makes stunningly good furniture in his woodshop, team up together so you can both make some cash.

7 | The Cre8tor Rules
Here, Pagliarini lays out several rules for being a “creator” (or “cre8tor”) in your spare time. Keep your day job. Focus on minimizing your effort to maximize results. Limit your risk. Take lots of swings – in other words, try lots of different things to see what works. Put effort into marketing what you create, simply so others are at least aware of it. Always have a plan for making money in the long run, even if you give things away for free.

8 | The Top 10 Cre8tor Channels
These are ten short “startup kits” for ten different types of businesses: blogging, invesnting, writing, starting a company, reselling things, taking advantage of fads, working for stock, freelancing, pure career advancement, or turning hobbies into income. Most of the things a person can invest their found free time into falls into one of these ten categories, but the specifics vary widely from person to person.

9 | Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve
Every day you sit idly by with an idea in the back of your head is a day you’ll regret later on. I’m thirty one and there are already big things that I passed on that I regret. I had a great opportunity to get some of my fiction published in 2003 and I missed the boat on it, mostly because of my own fears. That’s perhaps my greatest regret, but there are many others that litter the path to my life today. In fact, I’m only where I’m AT today because I kept chasing those side opportunities and, after a lot of failures, one of them worked (you’re reading it).

10 | Find Your Pulse
So, what makes you tick? What makes you jump out of bed in the morning and tackle things? If you can find what makes you passionate, then you’ve found a source of energy that you can channel into making your “other eight” more exciting and profitable. In short, it can be your engine for creating things, creating value, and putting money in your pocket. There are a lot of suggestions and ideas here for seeking out what you’re passionate about.

Is The Other 8 Hours Worth Reading?
The Other 8 Hours combines a lot of different elements into one package, drawing from career development, lifestyle design, and even a bit of time management. If you’re finding yourself struggling in your current career and can’t help but wonder what else there is out there, The Other 8 Hours is a great read.

I’d also say The Other 8 Hours is a much better read than Pagliarini’s first book, The Six-Day Financial Makeover, because he cut out the marketing-speak and actually focused on real topics, which is where his strengths lie.

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