Laura Vanderkam: Off the clock

Lately, I did a lot of reading. The last piece I have finished, was time management book Off the clock, by Laura Vanderkam. I would recommend this book to any busy person who wants to enjoy his daily commitments, activities, hobbies etc. At times Vanderkam’s advice is straightforward, at times challenging, but definitely worth the time to read. This book actually convinced me of taking time off the work to rest when I was sick. Somehow it helped me to straighten my priorities. Here are two ideas I want to apply from the book to my life as well. I attach pictures of Dexter who was chilling in my bed when I was reading this book.


I have all the time in the world

“Being off the clock implies time freedom, yet time freedom stems from time discipline.”

In the first pages I read an inspiring quote of a high profile businesswoman that Laura was interviewing. Laura wanted to ensure the businesswoman that she wouldn’t take up much of her precious time with the interview on productivity and to her surprise the business woman said: “Oh, I have all the time in the world.” I would like to adopt the same mindset of being present at the moment, deeply focused at the person or task in front of me. To practice mindfulness or being “off the clock”, Laura Vanderkam recommends to devote some of your time daily to do some quiet activity, such as reading, meditating, journaling or praying.


Make memories

“Do something memorable daily, because that is the only way to keep time from slipping through our fingers.”

The most impactful idea for my day to day life from this book is to create special memories for myself. Routine is not bad, but we remember mostly moments which were out-of-the-ordinary. What if I set out to visit all the museums in my radius of 100k one by one each Sunday? What if I change my patterns and instead of a lunch in my local cantine I walk to a library instead? There are many small ways how to make days more memorable. Just think creative!


Make art when you can. Relax when you can’t.

“Lowering expectations to the point of no resistance is what makes bigger things possible.”
Finally, the last idea. Sometimes we have too big expectations of ourselves. I want to manage this, I want to do that. In the end we do nothing properly and what is worse we do not enjoy it. Small things done consistently can bring much more effective results. Laura Vanderkam highlights a famous quote from Moveable feast by Hemingway: “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Similarly, Laura gives her client advice who is struggling to make time for her art: Make art when you can. Relax when you can’t. I want to take the same advice for my personal passions, which is drawing and writing this blog.

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