Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done

Feeling less busy while getting more done sounds too good to be true! But, Laura Vanderkam explains just how this could be possible in her book Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done. While at first I was a bit surprised that someone would take the time to keep a spreadsheet of how all her time is spent, I realized quickly how important this detail really is, and what valuable information it can provide.

It was after reading this book that I realized the meaning behind the title of the book. More importantly, I realized that I was looking at time from the wrong perspective. Indeed, we all take time for granted, and it can sometimes move too fast. But Ms. Vanderkam brilliantly identifies why that is, and what one can do to “slow down” time, so one may preserve the feeling of enjoyment, if for just a moment longer.

We might not always have full control of how we spend our time, since most of us have to make a living after all. Plus we have to cook, sleep, go to school meetings, drive to places, and so forth. I actually thought I was a bit clever by “reading” books through the use of audio books during my extended travels, especially when spending days in the car (or what feels like days in the car). But come to find out this is not a new practice. I probably could improve on how I manage this time too, and even make more time to read more books.

But that’s the beauty of the information provided in this book. It helps you not only identify how you spend your time, but how you can improve on having more effective, or even quality time, by simply changing your mindset and recognizing time for what it is. Most importantly, admitting how you really spend the time that you think you don’t have.

I think I most enjoyed the references to studies of people who spend more time on social media, yet who felt they had less time compared to those who were not on social media constantly. It turns out those who were not on social media were overall happier with the amount of leisure time they had. While I thought the author referenced Instagram way too often (do people really spend so much time on Instagram?), she made her point of how time is valued when a person makes best use of their time, or devalued when a person is not aware they are not utilizing their precious time in the best manner.

I also thought the ideas she provided about how we approach the concept of time in regards to spending time with our loved ones to be insightful, yet not the social norm. I always find it a challenge to introduce a concept to society that is not the accepted social norm. Yet the way she presented it made a lasting impact in my mind, and I almost immediately changed my attitude about how I approach time when it comes to spending time with family.

A short, to the point, and eye opening read. I recommend it highly, especially for those like me, who always feel like there are not enough hours in the day.

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