Friday, September 7, 2018

Review: Off the Clock

Laura Vanderkam's entire career revolves around people's ability (or inability) to manage their time. She studies how people order their days and the habits that make them feel productive. When she found herself with an unexpected free day, it surprised her to realize how restorative it was and how difficult it could be to make that free time happen. In her most recent book, Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done, Vanderkam investigates how we can find margin in our lives and find good even in the necessary repetition of life.

When I heard people rave about this book, I have to admit I was dubious at first. Surely the author would advise us to take certain steps that would be possible for some and cause the rest of us to laugh a bit before putting the book aside. Instead, Laura Vanderkam guides readers to think differently about their time. While she does begin the book by urging each of us to track our time, she believes that we can all enjoy the time that we prepare for. Once you've decided on your priorities, the key to feeling like you have time might just be taking it. Vanderkam advises leaving white space in your schedule and taking concrete steps to remember unexpected beautiful moments.

It's often hard to manage our time because we don't have hard boundaries. We work from our office and from home or juggle side gigs. We certainly don't get to clock out from raising kids or caring for elderly parents. But Vanderkam is quick to point out that investing in people is a good use of time. When we spend time intentionally strengthening the relationships with our friends and family, it makes us happier and interestingly makes it feel like we have more time, not less.

Laura Vanderkam has written a book that could really change how you view and spend your time. I have a better sense of how I can enjoy my time after reading Off the Clock and I can see returning to this book when I'm feeling a time crunch.

Off The Clock
Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done
By Laura Vanderkam
Portfolio May 2018
256 pages
From the library


  1. I stay so busy, I don't know what to do with myself when I do have free time. I think I could benefit from reading this book.

  2. Thanks for the review - I've heard Laura on podcasts talking about this new book, and it sounds interesting. I liked her earlier book about time management - 168 Hours (in a week) and did track my time, as she suggested.

    I might try this one as well - I could certainly use some white space in my calendar!!


    Book By Book

  3. This sounds fascinating. I have more time than a lot of people because I don't have kids, but still would love to manage my time better and focus on what's most important.

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