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What is Venn Zen 168

Peter Drucker is famously credited for saying, "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it." The first time I heard this in undergraduate business school it struck a cord.


In 1999, I was a resident advisor at UMASS and a Cadet Commander in USAF ROTC. As a dual major in business management and management information systems with a part time job in a plastic extrusion company, my schedule was maxed to the tilt. I thought this was effective time management. Week after week I found myself with no time for myself and emotionally drained.


While working on a senior project, the idea of measuring where my time went week over week led to the creation of Venn Zen 168.


How it works:

There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week. That gives us 168 hours per week to get stuff done. How we allocate those hours fills different needs for every individual. Personally, I find happiness dividing my time between friends and family, my profession and my self.

I then break those allocations down into detailed hourly assignments of where I want to spend my time. The key here isn't about maximizing every minute of life, it is about maximizing the time I spend on activities that bring joy, satisfaction and love to my life.

I typically review my time allocations on a quarterly basis or when I feel out of balance. The process of what I call, "Venn Zen 168" has worked incredibly well for me in over two decades of use. It integrates the Japanese concept of "Ikigai" or" a reason for being" with the reality that there are only 168 hours of "being" every week of existence.

The story in the video below was demonstrated to me once in a class on time management. It resonated with me and the thoughts I had on reading about Ikigai. All theses elements came together and inspired me to create Venn Zen as a project my senior year... I have been using it ever since.

The process works because it focuses your attention on where your time goes and helps you redirect it to the activities that "spark joy" as Marie Kondo would say. I hope it works to help you find your Venn Zen!

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