The Fringe Hours: A Book Review


I bought this book, The Fringe Hours, a couple of months ago when it came up on sale on my email from Book Bub. After spending quite a bit of time in the last couple of months thinking about time management in my own life and also for blog posts (here, here, and here) and a time management talk, I decided reading the book would be a great follow-up to the thinking and research I had already done.  Let’s face it, we can all use help with caring for ourselves and using our time in the best way possible.

I have to be honest that I am finding it challenging to write a review on this book and do it justice.  It is quite meaty and rich with ideas and exercises.  This is my honest review of The Fringe Hours and my thoughts on using the techniques that she mentioned.  This book was a fast read for me.  I read it in a long weekend.  Jessica sets up the book in a very reader friendly way, with clear chapter titles and a call to action at the end of every chapter.    

As part of the research Jessica did for the book, she interviewed women about how they spent their time and then interspersed those quotes and ideas throughout the book.  From the start, Jessica challenges the excuses that women often have that they do not have time to do the things they enjoy because they are too busy.  This book really resonated with me.  So many of the things that she mentioned were things that I had also implemented, thought about, or written about.  Being a wife, mom, working woman, etc. isn’t about pushing down the things you enjoy and just doing the “have tos.”  It’s about making both a priority in your life.

I really appreciated Jessica’s honesty in conveying how using the fringe hours differs from person to person.  She also mentioned that finding balance with all the tasks we have to do and want to do is not a one time discovery.  Evaluating our time and adjusting it to provide balance is an ongoing task.   In different seasons of life there will be different things that take priority both when it comes to taking care of our families and households and when it comes to self-care.

Jessica defines the fringe hours by saying they are “little pockets of time throughout the day that usually go underused or wasted altogether” and “the heart of the fringe hours is finding pockets of time in your schedule and utilizing them for yourself.”  This book is full of insights and exercises to evaluate how to care for ourselves and others using our time in an intentional way.  To me, The Fringe Hours challenges and guides the reader in 3 areas: 1)what is keeping us from using the fringe hours in our day 2) how to overcome those obstacles and make the fringe hours work for us 3)the benefits of using the fringe hours for our self-care and priorities.  

What is Keeping Us From Using the Fringe Hours in Our Day:

Jessica tackles the idea of balance and the things that keep us from making our own self-care a priority in that balance.  She challenges the reader, directly, to evaluate what is getting in their way by asking questions and giving them exercises to do.  Through these she helps the reader tackle obstacles like feelings of unworthiness and guilt, saying “yes” to others when we should be saying “no,” and knowing what our needs are.  

How to Overcome Those Obstacles and Make the Fringe Hours Work For Us:

Jessica takes the reader through a journey of recognizing the obstacles and then overcoming them.  She provides exercises and tips for deciding where our current priorities are in balancing our time and deciding if that matches our needs and values right now.  Then she helps the reader look outside the box to find unused pockets of time during the day and plan for how to use them.  We often think we need big chunks of time to start a book or work on a sewing project, but she challenges us instead to figure out how to use those 10 and 20-minute fringe blocks to experience the joy of doing those projects.

The Benefits of Using the Fringe Hours for Our Self-Care and Priorities:

Prioritizing time, using the fringe hours, and making our own self care a priority brings lots of benefits that we might not have expected.  It helps us to find more time in our day and to be happier.  She also makes a point of saying, that the fringe hours in the morning before everyone gets up are frequently used by highly successful people to set them up for the day.  Putting a book or note cards to write others in our purse, gives us a chance to learn something new or reach out to someone through a note, that we would have otherwise not done.  Another benefit, is that when we say “no” to someone it gives someone else a chance to step up to do something that they may not have otherwise had a chance to do.

I was looking for that thing that I really didn’t resonate with or agree with in the book, but I really didn’t find it.  It is a great read.  There are number of options for how to take this book in.  You can read it quickly, read it slower and do the exercises, or you can read it while working with a coach to bring balance and a better sense of time management to your life. Whatever option you choose, this book is a great read for the woman looking to bring more balance into your life and to utilize your time in the best way possible.

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