Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam


Time management and personal efficiency writer Laura Vanderkam’s newest book, Off the Clock, focuses on habits and thoughts that can expand one’s sense of available time. I’m actively following my own plan to decrease time stress, but am still on the watch for new ideas.

“People who feel like they have enough time are exceedingly mindful of their time,” Vanderkam found after surveying hundreds of working parents (p.8). She summarized results into 7 tips for increasing the sense of time. I’ll paraphrase here, but check out her book, a quick 2-evening read, for more details.

1. Determine and live by your priorities for your time. Create a time log and determine whether time is spent in accordance with goals and priorities. Plan to accomplish priorities and let other activities fall away.

2. Create memories whenever possible. “Plan it in, Do it anyway” (p.73) – even when you’re tired.

3. Eliminate time “fillers” – especially that phone. Look at your calendar with a creative eye to find new ways to be efficient.

4. Savor the moments. Watch the sunset, even if just for one minute. Consider a 20-minute “daily vacation exercise” as recommended by psychologists Bryant and Veroff.

5. When money is available to solve a problem, use it. If you really hate (errands, lawnmowing, housecleaning, etc), consider outsourcing and use the saved time for something that increases your happiness.

6. Go for good enough (avoid “keeping up”). Follow goals that are habits, not outcomes, for instance “walk the dog twice/day” and “eat 2 servings of vegetables at dinner” instead of “lose 10 pounds.”

7. Spend your time on the people who are important to you, and use time to connect with and expand your network.

This morning I savored my driving time by taking the slower route that gave me better views of autumn leaves.  What will you do to expand your time today?

2 thoughts on “Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam

  1. Hi Ilse, I really struggle with this. I feel like all the time I am kind of scheming of ways to create more time, but it never comes to fruition. I’m in a program where they talk about not needing to change your circumstances to feel more satisfied in life, that all our feelings are as a result of our thoughts, but I also feel like if I had enough time to: go to yoga, do my journaling/organization, cook nutritious food, etc. then I would also have the health and vitality to create the wealth the family needs from my to sustain our lifestyle. I don’t feel I have it in my control to change my circumstances. I suppose this all gets to the root of living simply. It’s just hard in an ongoing way. I like #2 and #3 for myself at this time in life. Loving your thoughts. ❤


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