Laura Vanderkam

  • How An Extra 30 Minutes A Day At Work Catapults Careers

    How An Extra 30 Minutes A Day At Work Catapults Careers

    Long-time readers of my articles know that I have a favorite data set: The American Time Use Survey. This annual study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics asks thousands of Americans to keep track of their time. Because it is broad, and based on actual days, as opposed to how people recollect "typical" days,... Continue Reading

  • The Morning Routines Of Successful People

    The Morning Routines Of Successful People

    It's a constant lament from people with long hours and commutes: I want more time for myself. I want time to exercise or do creative work, but when I come home from my job, I'm spent. On weekends I do all the chores I don't have time for during the week. Where's the time for things I find meaningful -- but... Continue Reading

  • The Sneaky Way People Take Summer Fridays

    The Sneaky Way People Take Summer Fridays

    Not many workplaces have "summer Fridays" -- that genteel tradition of closing down around lunch once a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. According to a survey done by Ultimat Vodka, just 12 percent of employed adults get this perk. Officially, that is. Because anyone who's tried to start a new project... Continue Reading

  • 7 Ways To Become More Creative

    7 Ways To Become More Creative

    Those of you with scouting experience likely remember the myriad tricks used to start campfires. I'm not talking matches -- I'm talking the things you threw a lit match on with the hope of getting a serious enough flame going to eventually light the kindling. In my troop, I have a vague memory of paper egg... Continue Reading

  • End Your Dysfunctional Relationship With Junk Email

    End Your Dysfunctional Relationship With Junk Email

    Several weeks ago, I had a realization: I was spending a lot of time deleting email. Every day, I seemed to get dozens of unwanted emails that I deleted unread. This wasn't pure spam. It was announcements from groups I was no longer part of, emails from companies I'd bought something from years ago, newsletters... Continue Reading

  • Bored At Work? 2 Ways To Bring The Excitement Back

    Bored At Work? 2 Ways To Bring The Excitement Back

    According to a spate of recent headlines, the dangerous epidemic of workplace boredom is stalking the cubicles of developed nations. According to one Gallup poll, some 71 percent of workers are not engaged, or are actively disengaged from their jobs. Sandi Mann, a British psychologist, has deemed boredom "the... Continue Reading

  • Get A Life Makeover This Summer

    Get A Life Makeover This Summer

    Summer is nearly upon us again. Though this season is a little less of a break when you're a grown-up than when you're a kid, it still feels different. You can be outside more. You can use the longer evenings to squeeze more life out of each day. Routines change, opening up an opportunity for rethinking how... Continue Reading

  • What Would Happen If You Stopped Checking Your Email At Work?

    What Would Happen If You Stopped Checking Your Email At Work?

    Going email free on weekends is a time management best practice. Every guru seems to agree that you should misplace the iPhone or Blackberry on Friday night, and check it only once or twice for emergencies before Sunday evening. That way you can feel relaxed without feeling tethered to work. Continue Reading

  • 3 Ways To Handle The Project From Hell

    3 Ways To Handle The Project From Hell

    One of my favorite time management tips is to block various activities into my schedule, knowing exactly how long they will take. Almost all recurring events in life can be estimated fairly well. Traffic seems like a force of nature, yet long distance bus lines still manage to estimate their arrivals, based on... Continue Reading

  • Mother's Day: Is Motherhood Really A Job?

    Mother's Day: Is Motherhood Really A Job?

    Every year in time for Mother's Day, Salary.com produces a figure showing how much you'd have to pay for the job of "mom." The answer is always in the six-figures for stay-at-home moms. It is based on mothers' estimates of how much time they spend doing various tasks, which -- like all time-use estimates -- tend... Continue Reading

  • Are Burned-Out Women Getting Pregnant To Escape Work?

    Are Burned-Out Women Getting Pregnant To Escape Work?

    Crazy as it sounds to American mothers, in Great Britain women can take up to a year off work, partially paid, after having a baby. Such generous benefits are designed to give moms and babies time to bond, but according to a new magazine survey (highlighted in the Daily Mail), they're having a side effect:... Continue Reading

  • Retirement Seems Like An Impossible Dream? Try This Strategy

    Retirement Seems Like An Impossible Dream? Try This Strategy

    The markets have been rallying since October. That sounds like good news for baby boomers approaching retirement age. But here's a different question: why are we so into the idea of retirement in the first place? Continue Reading

  • Why Goof Offs Get Ahead At Work

    Why Goof Offs Get Ahead At Work

    People spend vast amounts of time on the Internet. They watch the latest cat videos, check Facebook, etc. It's not exactly productive, per se. But I want to make the case that the things you think are big time sucks -- like reading the Fail blog -- are not the real causes of wasted time at work. A few years... Continue Reading

  • Could Having Kids Lead To More Job Opportunities?

    Could Having Kids Lead To More Job Opportunities?

    I was taking a survey a few months ago, when I came across a question: How has having children affected your career? The choices were along the lines of "a huge impact," "a fair amount," "a small amount" or "not at all." Assuming that this question was assessing the degree of negative impact, I answered "a... Continue Reading

  • New Ways For Moms To Make Money -- From Home

    New Ways For Moms To Make Money -- From Home

    A few years ago, I went to a Tupperware party in a friend's apartment. It was a somewhat surreal experience. The official Tupperware representative was a middle-aged suburban woman sent in to this tiny apartment filled with Manhattan 20-somethings, most of whom -- or perhaps all of whom -- had never been to... Continue Reading

  • Politically Incorrect Way To Get Work-Life Balance

    Politically Incorrect Way To Get Work-Life Balance

    I'm not a big fan of the phase "work-life balance." It implies that the two concepts (work and life) take up equal space, which is not the case for most people. With 168 hours a week, if you sleep 8 per night (56 per week) that leaves 112 for other things. You'd need to be working 56 hours per week for work... Continue Reading

  • How Successful People Get The Most Out of Conferences

    How Successful People Get The Most Out of Conferences

    The blogosphere is full of productivity tips. Some are ridiculous, and some are good. One of the best ideas I've come across? Do not take conference or convention swag. Ever. Stick with me here. I realize that perusing the exhibitors' halls at conferences is like the adult version of an Easter egg hunt. And... Continue Reading

  • Does Your Resume Show You At Your Best?

    Does Your Resume Show You At Your Best?

    A publisher sent me a book on resume writing the other day. As I was paging through it, I realized something: it's been years since I've sent anyone a resume. During that time, a dozen clients have come and gone, but no one asks for a chronological list of my work history. Which is good, because I don't really... Continue Reading

  • Get Ahead At Work, Even When You Don't Have Time To Shmooze

    Get Ahead At Work, Even When You Don't Have Time To Shmooze

    A while ago, I read a piece in the Wall Street Journal called "When Happy Hour Isn't An Option, Finding Time to Network." The author, Katherine Rosman, wrote that since she lived an hour from her job, she raced home just in time to get her kids to bed. But since she did this every night, she missed out on... Continue Reading

  • Working Too Hard To Make A Living? Tips That Could Change Your Life

    Working Too Hard To Make A Living? Tips That Could Change Your Life

    Most of us with full-time jobs don't work nearly as hard as we think we do. Very few people who claim to work 80, 90 or 100 hours a week actually log that kind of time. But in the course of asking people to record the 168 hours we all have each week for my book on time management, I did come across one woman... Continue Reading