Off the Clock
"I well recall a conversation with an executive I hoped to interview about her astonishing productivity. I began our call with an assurance that I would not take much of her time. She laughed. 'Oh, I have all the time in the world,' she said."Most of us feel constantly behind, unsure how to escape feeling oppressed by busyness. Laura Vanderkam, unlike other time-management gurus, believes that in order to get more done, we must first feel like we have all the time in the world. Think about it: why haven't you trained for that 5K or read War and Peace? Probably because you feel beaten down by all the time you don't seem to have.In this book, Vanderkam reveals the seven counterintuitive principles the most time-free people have adopted. She teaches mindset shifts to help you feel calm on the busiest days and tools to help you get more done without feeling overwhelmed. You'll meet people such as... ♦ An elementary school principal who figured out how to spend more time mentoring teachers, and less time supervising the cafeteria ♦ An executive who builds lots of meeting-free space into his calendar, despite managing teams across multiple continents ♦ A CEO who does focused work in a Waffle House early in the morning, so he can keep an open door and a relaxed mindset all day ♦ An artist who overcame a creative block, and reached new heights of productivity, by being more gentle with herself, rather than more demandingThe strategies in this book can help if your life feels out of control, but they can also help if you want to take your career, your relationships, and your personal happiness to the next level. Vanderkam has packed this book with insights from busy yet relaxed professionals, including "time makeovers" of people who are learning how to use these tools. Off the Clock can inspire the rest of us to create lives that are not only productive, but enjoyable in the moment.

Off the Clock Details

TitleOff the Clock
Author
ReleaseMay 29th, 2018
PublisherPortfolio
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Self Help, Business, Productivity

Off the Clock Review

  • L.A. Starks
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent book--especially for anyone who read the novel "I Don't Know How She Does It" hoping for an answer: Vanderkam, with a career and four kids under the age of ten, provides more answers in this sequel to her first book, "I Know How She Does It." Readers who are 24/7 parents of young children or who have other family responsibilities at that level of full-time intensity will especially welcome these helpful, reassuring sets of suggestions about saving time and improving its qual This is an excellent book--especially for anyone who read the novel "I Don't Know How She Does It" hoping for an answer: Vanderkam, with a career and four kids under the age of ten, provides more answers in this sequel to her first book, "I Know How She Does It." Readers who are 24/7 parents of young children or who have other family responsibilities at that level of full-time intensity will especially welcome these helpful, reassuring sets of suggestions about saving time and improving its quality.BTW, Amazon should welcome the mention in this book of Kindle. And fellow Goodreaders will appreciate what Vanderkam has to say about reading reviews to find good books.
    more
  • Katherine Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    It's no exaggeration to say that Laura Vanderkam's writing has changed my life. Her earlier books forced me to confront my own part in procrastination, avoiding hard tasks and making excuses like "I don't have the time." This book - Off the Clock - crystalizes all her earlier writing into an easy-to-follow (though sometimes counterintuitive) set of principles for making the most of your time. The author is a busy journalist, speaker, wife and mother of four, so I suppose it makes sense that she' It's no exaggeration to say that Laura Vanderkam's writing has changed my life. Her earlier books forced me to confront my own part in procrastination, avoiding hard tasks and making excuses like "I don't have the time." This book - Off the Clock - crystalizes all her earlier writing into an easy-to-follow (though sometimes counterintuitive) set of principles for making the most of your time. The author is a busy journalist, speaker, wife and mother of four, so I suppose it makes sense that she's figured out the secret to feeling less busy while getting more done -- as the subtitle of this book says. If you only buy one productivity or time management book this year, make it Off the Clock. Highly recommended!
    more
  • Janssen
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't feel like this was as readable as some of her books, but I LOVED it. So thoughtful and I was talking and thinking about it non-stop.
  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    While Vanderkam's discussions center around time and time management, the biggest takeaways in this book aren't about time management: they're about effective energy management. As someone who chooses energy management over time management -- this works for me.We all have more time than we think, and being "busy" isn't a sign of importance. It's not an award to indicate a level of powerful work. If we looked at our days in thirty minute time chunks, we'd see the holes where "busy" doesn't exist, While Vanderkam's discussions center around time and time management, the biggest takeaways in this book aren't about time management: they're about effective energy management. As someone who chooses energy management over time management -- this works for me.We all have more time than we think, and being "busy" isn't a sign of importance. It's not an award to indicate a level of powerful work. If we looked at our days in thirty minute time chunks, we'd see the holes where "busy" doesn't exist, and it would be far more apparent than we think it is. Of course -- and this is acknowledged -- being able to have the time and luxury to think about time and leisure and work is itself a privilege. There are seven big tips in this book:1. Tend your garden2. Make life memorable3. Don't fill time4. Linger5. Invest in your happiness6. Let it go7. People are a good use of time.They're pretty self-explanatory, but I find "tend to your garden" to be a great one, as well as "don't fill your time," and "let it go." Nothing has to be perfect, especially if perfect is the enemy of doing the thing. Filling your time to look important just steals energy from time you have to pursue your passions. And of course, tending your garden is how you continually prioritize and reprioritize. Vanderkam suggests spending Friday afternoons making your to-do for the upcoming week, setting intentions in the categories of "personal," "career," and "relationships." I appreciate the distinction here, too, between goals (things that can absolutely bog us down and make us forget that the process itself is often worthy of the pursuit) and intentions. If you write those intentions down -- just a couple in each section -- with the seven tips in mind, it's easy to see where you can manage the energy and find the time. I really appreciated, too, the advice she gave to a woman struggling to create art while also living her life. Vanderkam suggests remembering that your energy and time are better spent accepting that life happens and work takes a backseat than beating yourself up about the few hours you couldn't put in. You will make them up, whether you intentionally recognize you do or not. There's a reference here to The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better and it's hard not to see that Vanderkam's book is a nice companion to it. Less of the framework and more in terms of how any tendency can work on time/energy challenges they come across.
    more
  • Sally Ewan
    January 1, 1970
    I tried to read her book about 168 hours in a week, but got frustrated with the time tracking thing. (I'm already obsessive enough without filling in a grid of everything I do.)But this book had some nice points to ponder, and so I will do that as I go about my life. Thinking about the people in my life and how to reach out to them....not in a networking kind of way, but in a caring way. I'm not looking to achieve success through relationships, but within them. I want to encourage others because I tried to read her book about 168 hours in a week, but got frustrated with the time tracking thing. (I'm already obsessive enough without filling in a grid of everything I do.)But this book had some nice points to ponder, and so I will do that as I go about my life. Thinking about the people in my life and how to reach out to them....not in a networking kind of way, but in a caring way. I'm not looking to achieve success through relationships, but within them. I want to encourage others because I so appreciate it myself.On my run yesterday morning, I thought about how the author encouraged being in the moment and saving the memory for later enjoyment. The sun, the birds, the path, the sky—all of it went into my mind and heart for future savoring. And I will also think about what I'm putting into my life for enjoyment. If I take a break from work, maybe I'll go play the piano for a while. Of course, it's too late to be a good example for my kids.....they've seen me doggedly pursuing productivity for all of their lives. But I can slow down and enjoy things more now. I can be a good example for my granddaughter! :)
    more
  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    So many of the ideas in this book are things we already know we should or could be doing, but I needed the extra encouragement to implement them.One of the big "take aways" for me is to create memorable experiences, not necessarily momentous ones. So many of my evenings seem to be frittered away without a plan. Now I am trying to be more intentional about how I spend my after dinner time. I have loved the long walks I am taking with my husband. These evenings are much more memorable than scrolli So many of the ideas in this book are things we already know we should or could be doing, but I needed the extra encouragement to implement them.One of the big "take aways" for me is to create memorable experiences, not necessarily momentous ones. So many of my evenings seem to be frittered away without a plan. Now I am trying to be more intentional about how I spend my after dinner time. I have loved the long walks I am taking with my husband. These evenings are much more memorable than scrolling through Instagram or watching a TV show together.I also appreciate Laura Vanderkam's final thought:"All time passes. But some moments transcend the ceaseless ticking. We simply need to see them, and then in time, we see more."
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Vanderkam on building in quality to the time you create by tracking your time. I'm an LVk fangirl and I liked it. It wasn't life-changing (like at least one of her other books has been for me) but it was good. It could probably have fit on an index card, but I get that she needed to make it a book. Because I read her blog, and get her newsletter, and listen to her podcast, and whatnot, there wasn't much new, but that's not her fault! I need to revisit it at a slightly less chaotic time (though p Vanderkam on building in quality to the time you create by tracking your time. I'm an LVk fangirl and I liked it. It wasn't life-changing (like at least one of her other books has been for me) but it was good. It could probably have fit on an index card, but I get that she needed to make it a book. Because I read her blog, and get her newsletter, and listen to her podcast, and whatnot, there wasn't much new, but that's not her fault! I need to revisit it at a slightly less chaotic time (though presumably she would say this time would be less chaotic if I implemented the precepts..) to dig a bit deeper.
    more
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Fabulous ideas about how to make time "move slowly", I guess you could say. Why does time seem to fly by some days, but CRAWWWWL by on others? Can we consciously make time move slower by changing our mental perceptions of it? I love Vanderkam's books, and this one is great. I'd love to track my time/hours again, like I did after reading her 168 Hours. Some favorite thoughts (by Vanderkam, unless otherwise noted):"Can we alter our perception of time by interacting with it in different ways? Can w Fabulous ideas about how to make time "move slowly", I guess you could say. Why does time seem to fly by some days, but CRAWWWWL by on others? Can we consciously make time move slower by changing our mental perceptions of it? I love Vanderkam's books, and this one is great. I'd love to track my time/hours again, like I did after reading her 168 Hours. Some favorite thoughts (by Vanderkam, unless otherwise noted):"Can we alter our perception of time by interacting with it in different ways? Can we develop the skills necessary to make good times pass as slowly as bad times?...People allocate time to thinking and reflecting, and then they feel that they have more time. Time is fluid, and these allocations may need to change in different seasons. But being off the clock means dealing with time on your terms. You are in control.""A gardener must know his plot. He must think about what he wants it to look like. Then it is the daily cultivation that leads to beauty, in a landscape and a life too...Bhante Henepola Gunaratana writes, "Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom." "On making life memorable: "When we are young, life is the opposite of those thousand identical commutes. All is new. And not only are we seeing things for the first time, we're figuring life out, and thus taking risks we might not take as an adult. This creates emotional intensity that likewise deepens time...I believe that even normal days can be made special - can be made memorable - with a mindset toward adventure. I believe that consciously choosing to create memories will stretch the experience of time.""We draw energy from meaningful things.""It is the effortful fun that makes today different, and makes today land in memory. You don't say, "Where did the time go?" when you remember where the time went.""It's what you say no to as much as what you say yes to." - Jeff Heath" "Lingering is the opposite of rushing," KJ Dell'antonia says. It feels more grown-up and luxurious that dawdling and dillydallying. It doesn't imply that you have nothing to do or that you are avoiding the important stuff. It implies that you have important thing to do and you are giving them the time they deserve.""People who feel like time is abundant approach the present in two ways. First, the practical: they learn to be where they're supposed to be in enough time that they can relax. Then, the more daring psychological feat: they find ways to savor the space of time where they currently are, even if the present does flee, gone in that moment of becoming.""With her foot on the threshold she waited a moment longer in a scene which was vanishing even as she looked." -Virginia Woolf . You know you are watching the present enter the past. Yet still you stand there watching the fading. You savor the moment. You linger."I think any experience of suffering is worthwhile if you let it change you."- Layla Banihashemi"Happiness requires effort. It is not just bestowed; it is the earned interest on what you choose to pay in."
    more
  • Cory Zorker
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great book and I look forward to putting its advice to practice in my day-to-day life. I listened to the unabridged audio version.Just like anything else, the more mindful we are in a particular area in our lives (diet, exercise, finance), the better our outcome.That's what was so intriguing to me about this book. If I can get a better handle on my time, then I can accomplish more and improve other areas in my life. As the book states, time is the one resource that we all have the same This is a great book and I look forward to putting its advice to practice in my day-to-day life. I listened to the unabridged audio version.Just like anything else, the more mindful we are in a particular area in our lives (diet, exercise, finance), the better our outcome.That's what was so intriguing to me about this book. If I can get a better handle on my time, then I can accomplish more and improve other areas in my life. As the book states, time is the one resource that we all have the same amount of. If I can manage my time better then I can do more of the things that I want to do! I have read some other "time management" books, but this one didn't feel like your typical time management book. It's a very easy and enjoyable listening experience.Here are the areas that I am working to improve on:1. Make life memorable. I'm a homebody by nature. I am completely happy to stay home and play computer games or binge watch a show on Netflix. Now I am looking for opportunities to do things with the family that they will remember. It doesn't have to be a huge expense, just a memorable activity.2. Don't fill time. I think too often we all look to our phones to fill every 30-40 second gap in our lives. I have made a commitment to use social media less and focus instead on the world around me.3. People are a good use of time. Along with being a homebody, I'm also a bit of an introvert. I can play for hours on my computer by myself. However, that comes at a cost. I am starting to focus more on opportunities to spend my free time with others.I could keep going on and on about areas in my life that this book has encouraged me to improve, but I'll close by saying it's the best book I've read in the past few years. READ IT! :)
    more
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    In any case, people with all the time in the world know that happiness is a worthy goal. Because how we live our hours is how we live our lives, being happy with our lives means being happy with our hours. As I read this, I thought of how full my life is with my husband and son, family and friends, running a library, being on the board for the Junior League, PTO, and a professional organization, Wellspring, church, exercising, all my hobbies (travel, reading, and genealogy), and getting 8 hours In any case, people with all the time in the world know that happiness is a worthy goal. Because how we live our hours is how we live our lives, being happy with our lives means being happy with our hours. As I read this, I thought of how full my life is with my husband and son, family and friends, running a library, being on the board for the Junior League, PTO, and a professional organization, Wellspring, church, exercising, all my hobbies (travel, reading, and genealogy), and getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Less than some people do, more than others, and yet I rarely feel overwhelmed (and when I do it tends to be because of my rebel tendency [[book:The Four Tendencies|40549144]] more than anything else). Why is this? Partly because of another of Laura's books, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, which changed my life, and also because I'm good at making sure to put what I want to do in first and to leave empty space for things that may come up. I'm not perfect at this by any means, and I found many ideas in this book to implement so that I'm savoring the present more and am doing more exercising, genealogy, and some other things personally and at work. This was written in a chattier tone than her past books, which I enjoyed. Highly recommended as a starting point for changing your view of time management and how to more often feel "off the clock."
    more
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I became hooked on Laura's books and her time-tracking recommendations ever since I heard her speak at the American Society of Journalist and Authors' annual meeting a couple of years ago. (Plus, I've spoken to her a few times, and she's a lovely person.) I pre-ordered this book and thought I'd gather a few more good tips related to time tracking. But this book is so much more than I thought it would be. It's not just a quick-read, "here are a few tips" productivity book. Laura really teaches us I became hooked on Laura's books and her time-tracking recommendations ever since I heard her speak at the American Society of Journalist and Authors' annual meeting a couple of years ago. (Plus, I've spoken to her a few times, and she's a lovely person.) I pre-ordered this book and thought I'd gather a few more good tips related to time tracking. But this book is so much more than I thought it would be. It's not just a quick-read, "here are a few tips" productivity book. Laura really teaches us how to live life with more intention, to "linger" and "savor" and to invest in your happiness by being mindful of how you spend your time and how you WANT to spend your time. I was already implementing some of Laura's previous suggestions, but I picked up a few more ideas of how to make my freelance business more successful while savoring a happy, slower pace of life.
    more
  • Benjamin Spall
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve been following Laura’s work for a year or two now, so I was expecting to like this book. But I more than liked it. The wisdom found within these pages is so simple yet profound. As I’ve found myself becoming busier over the years I’ve struggled to manage my time, often to the extent that I feel like I’m not getting anything done while also feeling like I’m not spending enough time with my family.In this book Laura shows us that yes, while we do need to get our book done, we have a lot more I’ve been following Laura’s work for a year or two now, so I was expecting to like this book. But I more than liked it. The wisdom found within these pages is so simple yet profound. As I’ve found myself becoming busier over the years I’ve struggled to manage my time, often to the extent that I feel like I’m not getting anything done while also feeling like I’m not spending enough time with my family.In this book Laura shows us that yes, while we do need to get our book done, we have a lot more time than we think we have, and some of life’s most beautiful moments take place when we’re “off the clock.” Read it, you’ll love it.
    more
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    I am always interested in how people use their time and organize their lives, and in picking up ideas about how I might consider my own time usage. Vanderkam begins by tracking time (1/2 houor increments) but is ultimately focusing on more living and less busyness. Mindfulness and intentionality are part of her suggestions, along with reframing things, changing perceptions, and building new habits. Happiness and people definitely figure into her sense of good use of time. Not a lot new, but a ha I am always interested in how people use their time and organize their lives, and in picking up ideas about how I might consider my own time usage. Vanderkam begins by tracking time (1/2 houor increments) but is ultimately focusing on more living and less busyness. Mindfulness and intentionality are part of her suggestions, along with reframing things, changing perceptions, and building new habits. Happiness and people definitely figure into her sense of good use of time. Not a lot new, but a handy summary workbook at the end of good reminders about what really matters.
    more
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Thoughtful, practical, and packed with suggestions that anyone could implement. I like Vanderkam’s style, and her emphasis on looking at our weeks as a whole when thinking about time instead of dwelling on individual days that might feel chaotic. Well-written, and perhaps because I’ve listened to the author’s podcast, I could really “hear” her voice as if she was talking to me. I liked the workbook included at the end to remind the reader about the different strategies for expanding one’s sense Thoughtful, practical, and packed with suggestions that anyone could implement. I like Vanderkam’s style, and her emphasis on looking at our weeks as a whole when thinking about time instead of dwelling on individual days that might feel chaotic. Well-written, and perhaps because I’ve listened to the author’s podcast, I could really “hear” her voice as if she was talking to me. I liked the workbook included at the end to remind the reader about the different strategies for expanding one’s sense of time.
    more
  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a huge fan of Laura Vanderkam’s worksince her book 168 Hours. Her 100 Dreams List changes my life. Off The Clock is the perfect continuation of her philosophy on time. She breaks down the key steps to create moments that matter and how to take ownership of our lives so that they are accessible to anyone willing to do the work. If someone asks you on Monday morning what you did over the weekend and you can’t remember you MUST read this book.
    more
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 I must have read about this on one of the book blogs I read. I am not sure why I wanted to read it- I have never had a problem with time management or getting things done. The one good takeaway I got was that time is fleeting, so live it up while you can- even if it is in small measures. Call friends, go out for dinner somewhere new, discover new neighborhoods. Life is short.
    more
  • Stacy A
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely love Laura Vanderkam’s prior books and podcast. But I just didn’t get into this one. So much felt repetitive from prior books and the podcast. At one point I didn’t think I’d even finish. I’m disappointed because I wanted to love this book, but it didn’t introduce any new things or even good tips.
    more
  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    Although the approach was much different, this book has much in common with The ONE Thing. Keller’s book explained the idea behind the ONE Thing and detailed how it might be implemented. Off the Clock used stories, examples, and research data to make suggestions about how and what to prioritize. Together, the books have provided a lot to think about and, hopefully, act upon.
    more
  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    This book gave me so much to think & talk about, and I even went back and re-listened to the chapter on relationships after I was done. Her stuff about the Anticipating/experiencing/memory self (and not letting the lazy or stressed “experiencing self” chest the other two) especially hit home for me.
    more
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Of course I would give our daughter a five star review! But in all honesty, I did enjoy reading her latest book. I have plenty of time in my retirement but it is still good to think about many of her suggestions--making time for friends, for fun, for memories, and for family! I like the idea of thinking about the anticipating and experiencing and remembering selves. Right now we are in the middle of visiting all three children and seven grandchildren. We are experiencing good times and we will r Of course I would give our daughter a five star review! But in all honesty, I did enjoy reading her latest book. I have plenty of time in my retirement but it is still good to think about many of her suggestions--making time for friends, for fun, for memories, and for family! I like the idea of thinking about the anticipating and experiencing and remembering selves. Right now we are in the middle of visiting all three children and seven grandchildren. We are experiencing good times and we will remember these good times!
    more
  • Erika
    January 1, 1970
    Thought provoking AND entertaining I really enjoyed this book. There are useful tips for making your time more meaningful and just the right amount of explanation for why it works. I thought it was very readable without a lot of excess or lulls in the action. Overall glad to have read it!
    more
  • Naomi
    January 1, 1970
    I read this at the right time. I feel like Laura Vanderkam's analysis of how much time we really have and the different ways we spend that time has really helped me see the time that I do have instead of what I don't have. My only complaint would be how the book is geared more towards people who have control of their schedules rather than someone like me whose work schedule is set with a lot of extra hours required. Off the Clock was still worth the time I spent reading it.
    more
  • Caitlin
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent, quick read, chock full of great ideas for how to enhance the way you experience time and still be productive (more productive than before, even). There is a great balance of personal and realistic anecdotes from the author and stories from other people, as well as research to back up the theories. Highly recommended, especially for anyone who feels pressed for time at home or at work.
    more
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I always enjoy Laura Vanderkam's books. I think they offer practical advice and give the reader a sense of optimism about the ability to make changes to harness more time for doing the things one wants to do.
  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book. It gave me a lot to think about and I hope I can implement some of the tips. The section on how not to be late is very apt for my own life and I really hope I can now start to be on time!
  • Ana Gutierrez
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting book with good suggestions on how to feel less pressed for time - really it's helping you maximize your time and be more productive while also making time FOR YOURSELF!Definitely food for thought.
  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed reading Laura Vanderkam's new book - I always enjoy hearing her research about how people get more done. But I felt like this book was less about getting more done, and just feeling like you have more time. Still interesting but not what I was hoping for...
    more
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Mostly a rehash of ideas she's written about previously, but not as interesting. Lots of content based on a not particularly well explained study with no analysis of uncertainties or whether the results she discussed were significant.
  • Abby
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. I recommend listening to the audiobook to hear Laura’s voice. As a full-time working mother of 2 young children, I gained a lot of insights as how to make better use of my time. We reread again the future for a refresher.
    more
  • Jeff Patnaude
    January 1, 1970
    Help for a busy momI an a mother of 5 boys who works full time as a college professor. This book helped me to analyze my time and deliberately put in more enjoyable time! I love the idea of not letting your spoiled, present-self control your narrative!
    more
Write a review