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Off the Clock

Narrated by: Laura Vanderkam
Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (221 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

"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 counter-intuitive 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 demanding  

The 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.

©2018 Laura Vanderkam (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent insight into how to change your mindset to get more enjoyment out of life

I am a long time reader of LV and this is my favorite of her books by far. She really has profound things to say about how to structure time & to change your mindset to get more enjoyment out of life. The overall goal reminds me of Gretchen Rubin’s happiness project & this book deserves to be at least as popular & in my opinion, the ideas in this book are more universally appealing.

As in her blog, LV can be somewhat blind to her extreme privilege & the benefits that affords her (I.e more than full time childcare with a nanny, self employment, a six figure income that allows for lots of “adventures” and “treats”). Still most of the suggestions are doable for folks without these resources even if on a smaller scale.

This book touches on a lot of the elements of living a happier life - make memories, change your mindset, make small changes that affect your happiness in a big way. It’s already sparked interesting conversations between my husband and myself as we navigate life with 3 small kids & 2 full time jobs.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Ames
  • Michigan
  • 06-11-18

Excellent strategies for a meaningful life

I think this may be my favorite book by this author yet (hard to choose between 168 Hours and What Most Successful
People Do Before Breakfast). Her narration was definitely better than on I Know How She Does It. I love the simple strategies and ideas that she pointed out to show us how we can each experience a more full life and as a result feel like we have more time. I found many of the ideas she wrote about were principles that I myself have been putting into practice, but she was able to show why these things are work (I wasn’t expecting so much psychology in the book, but I loved it) and why they make us feel like we have more time. I loved this book. I would recommend it to people who are trying to learn how to manage their time better, and anyone else who’s trying to look for ways to build a more meaningful life.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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One of best "self-help" books I've listened to!

I have long admired and followed Vanderkam's work and blog but for some reason hadn't read her previous works. But this one appealed to me as one that would really help me to be more mindful of my time and offer up practical ways to feel "off the clock" more often. This book has lots of great research and original data by Vanderkam that is combined with the accessible, personal perspectives that show up in her blog. She also shares some great success stories - I especially liked the story about the principal! Unlike so many other self-improvement books, she feels like a close friend who just wants to tell you about this amazing discovery she's had and gently supports you in figuring out ways to apply it to your own life. I really appreciate that as a perfectionist who struggles with being very judgmental of myself. And while I'm similar in age to the author, and am also career-focused, I don't have kids and often feel left out of other books about work-life balance. However, Vanderkam's narrative was quite balanced in including her own experience as a mother of four with broader insights about figuring out your personal goals and values. One of her time challenges happens to be raising four kids but the lessons could just as easily apply to someone who is caring for an aging parent or some other non-child rearing tasks. This book reminded me a great deal of Gretchen Rubin's works about happiness and strategies for short and long-term process or habit change. In some ways, I don't feel like the title quite captures the scope of the book because it's ultimately about being happier in your life. That being said, I think we are all happiest when we do feel "off the clock". Finally, I really enjoyed Vanderkam's narration and plan to listen to this again!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ali_Co
  • PA, United States
  • 08-06-18

Just what I needed...

Not sure why, but this book is exactly what I needed. Her concrete advice for specific ways to feel like you are actually "off the clock" ( such as creating small memorable moments) have really resonated with me. I took notes as as listened--and while I usually have only a few take-aways from the many "self development" books I read, this one had many that I will absolutely use. If you are having trouble feeling like you time away from work is meaningful, this is a great book for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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good read

but I expected a bit more tricks or examples to be revealed on cheating time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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inspired productivity

I am a fan of Laura Vanderkam's ideas. As a working mother I find them relatable and inspiring. The writting on this book was sooo good. The ideas are simple but they did make me look at my life in a different way. finisihed it so fasr!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Laura Vanderkamp never disappoints

Each of her books has changed my life in small ways which eventually add up to big things. I was skeptical that she could do it again. But she has. I listen to 2-3 audiobooks per month and I’ve never relistened to one immediately after finishing it but I will with this book. There are treasures to be found in this book and I don’t want to miss any. :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Will listen to this one again!

Creative and achievable ideas and new ways of framing how we think about and use our time. I downloaded and set up the time tracker - love it. Thanks for the inspiration ! http://55andchange.com/bonus-time-the-value-of-an-extra-hour/1199

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  • Ed C
  • Chicago 'burbs
  • 10-16-18

Just too much fluff

Oh, the IRONY. An audiobook about time management, yet one wastes so much time discussing time, in particular: tracking time and personal anecdotes (most of, if not all upper middle-class). Talk about Parkinson’s Law. Expanding, stretching all that work to fit the time (book). For a more relatable, practical, easy, fun and definitely TIME-EFFICIENT experience, check out MAKE TIME by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, also ATOMIC HABITS by James Clear.

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Great from front to back!

Truly enjoyed this book. Found myself looking for minutes to listen to it till the end with the consistent realization that I want to go back to each chapter. So, as I finished it I will start to listen again. This book was insightful in many ways. Not like other time-management books, realistic and with plenty of stories to keep it relatable. Doesn’t feel repetitious, feels refreshing as you read (listen). I took plenty of notes. I would recommend this book to any of my friends who struggle with a busy schedule. Also LOVED her mentions of memory making...as a scrapbooker myself his book was simply excellent. Thanks to the author.