Off the Clock Book Summary - Off the Clock Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Off the Clock summary

Laura Vanderkam

Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done

4.4 (129 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

"Off the Clock" by Laura Vanderkam is a time-management book that encourages readers to savor moments and focus on what really matters. It emphasizes the importance of intentional living and offers strategies for making the most of our limited time.

Table of Contents

    Off the Clock
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    Learn exactly what you’re doing with your time, even if it scares you, by keeping a log.

    We may not readily admit it, but most of us have an obsession. The author, for instance, is obsessed with time, and the ways in which we pass it. She’s so obsessed, in fact, that she’s spent years logging how much time she spends on different activities. Her logbook is extremely precise. For example, she could tell you that, on Friday, July 14th, 2017 she got up at precisely 6:45 a.m., spent exactly 45 minutes on paperwork from her child’s school and later, for 30 minutes, dealt with her mail.

    Prior to logging her time, the author thought she had a pretty good handle on how she spent her days. Her logbook, however, quickly showed her that she had had no clue.

    For instance, despite often telling people she worked 50 hours a week, she was shocked to discover that she was actually averaging only 40 hours. And she’s not the only one prone to this overestimation. In 2011, a study by the Bureau of Labour Statistics found that people claiming to work more than 75 hours a week were typically overestimating by around 25 hours. Indeed, the author recently interviewed a young man who reported working 180 hours a week. An impressive accomplishment, given that this is twelve more hours than a week contains.

    This raises an important question: If we’re not working as much as we think we are, where is our time really going?

    Surprisingly, many people don’t want to know the answer to this question. Although rigorous time tracking provides a deeper understanding of how you’re actually spending each week, many of us are resistant to the idea.

    For starters, we may worry that tracking time will show us just how many hours we’re wasting on things that aren’t meaningful or beneficial to us or our loved ones. Second, we may fear that tracking our time will constantly remind us of our finite time on earth, which will lead to anxiety about misspending each minute.

    Despite these potential downsides, the author found time tracking allowed her to recalibrate her life. Armed with greater knowledge, she was able to make positive changes in how she spent her time.

    For instance, once she discovered she was spending almost 327 hours per year on reading trashy magazines, she became motivated to carve out time to plan her reading habits more carefully. After making lists of good books and scheduling time to buy them, she replaced her consumption of celebrity gossip with a more nourishing diet of quality titles.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Off the Clock?

    Key ideas in Off the Clock

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Off the Clock about?

    Off the Clock (2018) gives practical advice on how to get more out of your time, from freeing up your busy schedule to achieving more work in shorter intervals. Using personal anecdotes as well as scientific insights, Vanderkam explores why some of us feel like we have all the time in the world, while others feel as though time is slipping through their fingers.

    In an exclusive blink, Laura Vanderkam explains what you can do today to feel less busy and get more done.

    Off the Clock Review

    Off the Clock (2018) by Laura Vanderkam is an insightful exploration of time management and living a fulfilling life. Here's why it's worth reading:

    • Full of practical strategies, it offers readers actionable advice on how to make the most of their time and prioritize what truly matters.
    • Drawing on scientific research and real-life stories, the book provides a fresh perspective on time, challenging conventional notions and inspiring new ways of thinking.
    • With its engaging anecdotes and relatable experiences, it keeps readers captivated and ensures that the topic of time management remains anything but boring.

    Who should read Off the Clock?

    • Anyone struggling with time management
    • Workaholics looking for productivity tips
    • Psychology enthusiasts looking for new insights

    About the Author

    Laura Vanderkam has authored several productivity and time-management books. Her 2016 TED talk, “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time,” has racked up over five million views, and she has contributed to publications such as the New York Times, Fast Company and Fortune.

    Categories with Off the Clock

    Book summaries like Off the Clock

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Off the Clock FAQs 

    What is the main message of Off the Clock?

    Off the Clock teaches us to enjoy time and savor the everyday moments throughout our lives.

    How long does it take to read Off the Clock?

    The reading time for Off the Clock varies depending on the reader's speed, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Off the Clock a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Off the Clock is a valuable read that offers practical advice and insights for finding more joy and balance in our busy lives.

    Who is the author of Off the Clock?

    The author of Off the Clock is Laura Vanderkam.

    What to read after Off the Clock?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Off the Clock, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The 5 Choices by Kory Kogon
    • The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment by Elizabeth Grace Saunders
    • The Free-Time Formula by Jeff Sanders
    • Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam
    • 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk
    • Manage Your Day-To-Day by 99U and Jocelyn K. Glei
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • Urgent! by Dermot Crowley
    • Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt
    • Extreme Productivity by Robert C. Pozen