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Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done
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Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,352 ratings  ·  226 reviews
"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
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Portfolio
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L.A. Starks
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Beth Bender
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This isn't a bad book by any means and I basically agree with what Vanderkam is trying to say with this and her other books.


The main fault with this book, her writing in general, and most books about time management that are based on what "successful" people do with their time is that the assumption of privilege. They assume a basic level of control over one's work schedule and a level of economic affluence that affords significant amounts of paid childcare and household help. Many worki
Katherine Lewis
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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' ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
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.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-again
An insightful and relateable take on how to make time management more manageable so you have more time for things/people you love and less time to complain about how "busy" or time-consumed you are.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I constantly feel extremely busy even though I have relatively a lot of free time, so I was really interested in this book. As I was reading it, it felt like another self-help book full of meaningless filler, but in retrospect, it actually had some useful ideas.

Here's what I learned:
- If you really want to get something done, do it first thing in the morning. This is obviously hard advice to follow, because who wants to get up early, but it was a good reminder.
- Let go of unrealistic expectation
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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” overrule the other two) especially hit home for me.
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,
Sally Ewan
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of good tips on how to make time more plentiful. To be honest, I mostly like how the book goes along with my own philosophy of living life people-first to make the most out of life, so I’m a bit biased. My only complaint would be that a lot of the advice sounds like it’s preaching to upper middle class, making some concepts feel a little out of reach, even though anyone could customize within their own financial means.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.0 Stars
There were some good nuggets in this little book, but it felt too unstructured and oversimplified to offer meaningful time management strategies that I can utilize. I personally recommend the author's first book, 168 Hours, which I felt provided more practical advice for work life balance.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Shaina Robbins
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Self help usually disappoints me (and yet I keep reading it ...), but I quite liked this one. Great tips, relevant anecdotes, and enough science to feel like she's not just making stuff up. I loved that her focus was on making life meaningful, not just on being successful.

Key takeaways: People are never a waste of time, invest in your happiness (work on things you're passionate about first thing in the morning), focus on making memories, give yourself credit for what you're getting done, and tra
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Christina Pilkington
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm a time management junkie so I have read dozens of books on the topic. But even though I already knew most of the time management tips in this book, I always look forward to reading Vanderkam's books because she has a unique twist on the topic that I haven't seen anyone else take.

She has the people she interviews keep time logs for her and she does an amazing job analyzing those time logs to bring her readers patterns that run consistent with some of the most successful people. She's a data
Based on surveys and interviews, Vanderkam's main point is that those who perceive that they have more time, are essentially living better lives - filled with connection and productivity than those who feel extremely busy and feel like they don't have time to do the things they really want to do. This short, little book is an easy-going, inspirational, and heartwarming (at least to me) read. I am inspired to track my time for a couple of weeks and analyze it to make sure I am contributing well p ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
I was in line to get this book from the library for pretty much forever - and when it finally came through I was excited to check it out. That being said - I think this is going to be my last book of hers I read. It's not that it is bad - it just didn't provide anything new that I hadn't heard from her past books and the more I become involved in other issues in the world -I just find myself reading her stuff thinking "oh this incredible white privileged life" - I fully admit I very much have a ...more
Rachel Brown
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved Off the Clock, and I’ve been telling everyone about it in hopes that they’ll snag a copy to read, too. This book is about so much more than feeling less busy while getting more done—it’s about cultivating a richer life by being aware of how you spend your time, creating opportunities that leave lasting memories, and knowing when to say yes and when to rest, amongst other thoughtful, practical advice. Not only is the subject matter excellent and compelling but the prose is fant ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent little book that gave me a lot to think about with respect to my "off the clock" time. I will be purchasing this so that I can refer to it from time to time. We can't be hard on ourselves about our "off the clock" time and I am glad that the author acknowledges this. It's okay to take relaxation time and do nothing. It's not selfish. Life is about making conscious choices about how we want to spend our limited time on earth.
Audrey Monke
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been obsessively telling everyone about this quick read. If you, like me, feel a bit “at war” with time, feeling there’s “never enough” and you “don’t have time to relax,” then you’ll benefit from Vanderkam’s wisdom, too. The book, true to its title, offers realistic ways to both feel less busy and get more done. More importantly, Vanderkam reminds us to focus on making the most of the moments and time we do have and always remember that "people are a good use of time."
Mary Kenyon
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent diatribe on why we shouldn't be saying "I don't have time" for something. You will look at time, and our lack of it, differently after you read this book. Clarified some things I'd been contemplating anyway, and gave me the determination not to let time get away from me in 2019. Good read.
Aaron Baker
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It has a lot of good little tidbits about making the most of your time on Earth. A lot of them are the sorts of ideas or phrases we've heard before, but she delivers it very well and in a way that opens my mind to ideas and possibilities.

A solid recommend for a general audience.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a helpful book! I’ve read it slowly so I could think about it as I read. Laura Vanderkam’s wisdom about time—how to think about it and how to spend it—will be a life-changer. I’m already planning how to make little changes that will help me to be more intentional and linger in the important moments.
Hope Helms
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books-read
A different take on productivity: changing our perception of time.

Time can seem like a black hole when we are constantly rushing from one thing to the next. Where did that day go?One key to changing that perception is to make memories. Putting the effort and rhythm into life to savor it.

Changing our perception of time can give us a sense of being “off the clock” which makes even a very busy life seem manageable and enjoyable with time to do the things that matter to us most.
Erin Hatch
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It helped me to realize how I could use my time in a much more productive way. I think my favorite chapter is the one about lingering. I loved what she taught about savoring as well. Grateful to have found this book.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a quick read - a bit tangential at times - but some good nuggets:

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives
Schedule in white space
Linger - don’t rush - you know, smell the roses...
Tend to your career, relationships, self
Relationships matter

Cheryl Anne
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Review on WITH CHERYL's Instagram:
Sandy Stephenson
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love her approach to time management! Finding time for the things that are most important is the goal.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Do the right things well. Let other things go.
Katie Stein
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love new year inspiration books and this was a great one. I've read several others in this genre by Laura Vanderkam and this is the one I have enjoyed the most and found the most actionable suggestions in.
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Laura Vanderkam is the author of several time management and productivity books, including Off the Clock, I Know How She Does It, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and 168 Hours.

Her 2016 TED talk, "How to Gain Control of Your Free Time," has been viewed more than 5 million times.

She regularly appears in publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fast C
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“I believe that consciously choosing to create such memories will stretch the experience of time.” 0 likes
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