How to buy free time with "Off The Clock" author Laura Vanderkam (encore)

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Time management expert Laura Vanderkam on how she and her husband decided to pay it forward to free up time to create available time for career and business growth.  Plus behind the scenes info on how she wrote her latest bestseller “Off The Clock” and a sneak peak at her next project. 

In Laura’s money story you will learn:

-Why it has taken Laura so long to figure out the right childcare setup

-How she balances being a frugal person with the reality of her childcare needs

-The problems that emerged as her speaking and writing career began to gain more traction

-How working from home made her childcare issues more complicated

-The specific things she changed when she hired a new nanny

-Why she chose a certain schedule and the specific benefits that provided

-Specific examples of work situations where her new childcare set up allowed her to earn more money

 

In Laura’s money lesson you will learn:

-The reason Laura considers childcare an investment in your earning potential, even if you pay for it when you aren’t technically working

-The importance of going to what she called the “extra stuff’ like networking events and conferences

-Why you should sometimes pay for an extra half an hour of childcare, and what to do with that time

-The relevance of Serena Williams to the conversation and what we can learn from her recent experience missing a major milestone in her child’s life. 

In Laura’s every day money tip you will learn:

-Why handwritten notes are important in business

-How Laura has used them to increase her connection with friends and business associates

-How Laura uses that habit to connect on a personal level with her readers and fans. 

 

In My Take you will learn:

-How to use money to solve productivity challenges

-A specific way Harry Potter author JK Rowling used this strategy

-Apps and other options that can help you execute the same strategy as JK Rowling

-Why some people are late all the time

-How to not be late

We also talk about:

Laura’s new book “Off The Clock” and how she conducted the exclusive research

The importance of time perception

Laura’s Ted Talk and how we can integrate those lessons into time choices

Laura’s podcast with Sarah Hart  Unger “Best of Both Worlds” 

Her next project Juliet’s school of possibility which is a fable about Time Management

Episode Links

Learn more about Laura at her website LauraVanderkam.com

Check out her podcast “Best of Both Worlds” 

Get Laura’s book “Off The Clock!”

 

Follow Laura!

Twitter @lvanderkam

Facebook LauraVanderkamAuthor

Instagram lvanderkam

LinkedIn Laura Vanderkam

 

 

Apps for last minute discount hotels

hoteltonight.com

OneNight.com

Hotelquickly.com


Transcription

Laura Vanderkam:
We had a lot of snow. We could see that this huge snow system was coming into Pennsylvania. My client out in Michigan who they have this big event booked around me said, "Well, could you come out early?" The idea of being a working mom of four kids who could like suddenly go 24 hours earlier to an event overnight even though my husband was also out of town, I could do it. I could just say yes.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup, with me, certified Financial Planner, Bobbi Rebell, author of how to be a financial grownup. And you know what? Being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money. But it's okay, we're going to get there together. I'm going to bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson, and then my take on how you can make it your own. We got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey friends. So that was time management expert and prolific writer, Laura Vanderkam. Her latest book is Off The Clock, which we're going to talk about. A special welcome to our new listeners and, of course, returning ones. As you guys know, we keep it short because I'm a big believer in delivering value for your time. You can always earn more money but time is priceless and we appreciate the time that you spend with us. So we aim for about 15 minutes but you can stack a few episodes together. We do three a week. So make it work for your life. Hit subscribe, put your settings to automatically download, so you're going to have each episode without having to do any work. Go for the easy.

Bobbi Rebell:
Let's talk about time management. So interesting behind the scenes fact ... financial grownup fact here. I came very prepared for this interview with Laura Vanderkam. I was ready to be super efficient and respectful of her time but, in the true spirit of her latest book, Off The Clock, she was not in a hurry at all and, in fact, she said she had all the time in the world. How does she do that? Listen to the interview and then make the time to read her book. The time spent will literally pay for itself. Here is Off The Clock author, Laura Vanderkam.

Bobbi Rebell:
Laura Vanderkam, you're a financial grownup. Welcome to the podcast.

Laura Vanderkam:
Thank you for having me.

Bobbi Rebell:
Congratulations on your latest book. It's called, Off The Clock, Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done. I can't wait to see what your next book's going to be. Maybe I'll get a teaser out of you. What are you working on?

Laura Vanderkam:
Actually, my next book will be out in March 2019, and it's a time management staple, it's called, Juliet's School of Possibility. So, yeah, there you go.

Bobbi Rebell:
I love that.

Laura Vanderkam:
The commercial for the next one.

Bobbi Rebell:
Yes, absolutely. But, in the meantime, once we finish all of your books, we also can listen to your podcast, Best of Both Worlds, which is with Sarah Hart Unger, and that's also one of my new obsessions.

Laura Vanderkam:
Yeah, we really do believe that work and family can work together, that people can succeed at both and love both. And so, that's what the podcast covers.

Bobbi Rebell:
And one thing that you guys discuss a lot beyond just time management, but time management as it pertains to kids and getting work done, and that brings us to your money story.

Laura Vanderkam:
Like many parents, it has taken me a long time to sort of figure out what the right childcare setup truly is. And, being a kind of frugal person, I didn't want to spend all that much. So it was always trying to get by on less than I probably needed for me and my husband, and you know, he travels and works long hours, and I was certainly starting to as my speaking career was starting to grow. And so, you know, it was figuring out, well, what kind of childcare do I need? And I'd always spend, you know, normal work hours, maybe eight to five. I mean, I worked from home, certainly I should be able to do that. But the problem is, we need like overnight coverage and we wouldn't have it because people would have other plans cause, hey, we're leaving at five. They'd have other things they were doing in the evening. You know, it was just difficult to make it work.

Laura Vanderkam:
So, when we were hiring a new nanny about two years ago, we decided that, well, we truly do need more hours. Let's go ahead and make the investment in doing it. And so, we hired somebody who's initial schedule was to work eight to eight, Monday through Thursday. And the upside of doing eight to eight, it's only 48 hours, right? So it's not excessive.

Bobbi Rebell:
So were you cutting out Fridays?

Laura Vanderkam:
Well, we had ... at the time there was another person working on Fridays for part-time. You know, that was the idea. It was like, you're going to have 60 hours of care, split it among two people because you don't burn one person out.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, then, you also have a backup, right?

Laura Vanderkam:
We do have a backup. Right. Yeah. So you have one full-time, one part-time. So the upside of having the evenings, I could go to networking events, like even if my husband was working late. Or, if I needed to be somewhere, I wasn't racing back and apologizing for being late. We had the evening covered. We had an extra driver for school stuff, for activities.

Bobbi Rebell:
Cause you have four kids by the way.

Laura Vanderkam:
Cause I have four small children. But the real upside has turned out to be that, when you hire someone to work eight to eight, they tend not to book stuff in the evening. So then, arranging for them to stay overnight, and we also hired somebody who was willing to do that. It was basically, pay me overtime I'll do it. Meant that there wasn't always this scrambling thing because it was relatively easy to just get that extra hours in there. And so, yes, it's expensive to have a lot of childcare and to have the availability of overnight coverage, you know, paying overtime for that. But, you know, I really see moments where it paid off.

Laura Vanderkam:
This spring, for instance, I was traveling a lot. I mean, I was giving one or two speeches a week that required travel, we had a lot of snow. One day in early March we could see that this huge snow system was coming into Pennsylvania. My client out in Michigan, who, you know, they have this big event booked around me, said, "Well, could you come out early?" You know, the idea of being a working mom of four kids who could like suddenly go 24 hours earlier to an event overnight even though my husband was also out of town, I could do it. Like I could just say yes. And that's what it has been enabling me to get like bigger ticket speaking jobs, ones that are paying more than I certainly would've imagined I could've gotten five, six years ago. And I think it's because I feel like I know I can say yes.

Laura Vanderkam:
But, you know, it's really an investment in your earning potential. And, if you're always trying to get by on less childcare than you need, then you won't say yes to the extra stuff. You won't go to that networking opportunity. You won't go to that conference. You won't maybe stay late that one night when you know your boss is going to see it and really remember it because you're trying to race out. And, over the longterm, those things really do add up. So I really like to think of childcare more as an investment than an expense. And, if you can get your head around that idea, I think you'll really start feeling like a financial grownup.

Bobbi Rebell:
So what is the lesson for our listeners? How can they apply it to their lives?

Laura Vanderkam:
Well, I think, take an honest assessment of what amount of childcare you have and, if possibly increasing that by a little bit would make your life a lot easier, less stressful, or enable you to pursue professional opportunities that you haven't so far. So it could be maybe an investment in life satisfaction. Maybe pay the person for an extra half hour after you get home, so you don't immediately have to race into serving everyone, making dinner, while you also have kids jumping on you cause they haven't seen you all day. Maybe that person could start dinner while you deal with the kids, right, and have some time with them.

Laura Vanderkam:
Or maybe it's just that, you know, occasionally you'd like to get stuff done a little bit later instead of racing out to make a 5 p.m. daycare pickup. Maybe you can arrange for an evening sitter just like one day a week, right? And that person covers maybe five to eight, and you can get stuff done when the office is quiet, or people see you be there late, or you go to networking events. And, you know, then you've made this investment and it will probably pay off over time.

Bobbi Rebell:
And I love that you point out those intangible things, like going to a networking event because sometimes people view that as social, but it's social, but it's really also an investment in your career to be out there with your peers. I know Serena Williams recently missed a big milestone because she was training and it can happen to any mom, no matter what. So, you can't let those hold you back from doing things that might benefit your career.

Laura Vanderkam:
SO I think this idea like rearranging your whole life to not miss anything, it's never going to happen. And, if you have more than one kid, you'll miss some stuff cause you're at the other kids stuff. And, you know, people adjust, they grow up, they learn the universe does not revolve them. It's all good.

Bobbi Rebell:
Exactly.

Laura Vanderkam:
Yeah, you know. So, it's worth doing a little bit extra sometimes.

Bobbi Rebell:
Yes. And there are other ways to bond with people outside of your family, bond with people regarding work in your professional endeavors, and that brings us to your everyday money tip, which is just genius, and I got to experience myself.

Laura Vanderkam:
Yeah. Well, this doesn't seem like a money tip but it's in line with the idea of networking and building your network, and getting to know people, and establishing these relationships, which is, send handwritten notes. This doesn't seem like a money tip but I can tell you that people are far more inclined to like you when it seems that you have bothered to establish, like put a little effort into establishing a connection with them. It's also memorable because most people don't do it.

Laura Vanderkam:
So, when I sent you my book, I included a handwritten note thanking you for your interest in it, and for being willing to take your valuable time to read it. I had a thing going on my website that I was asking people to pre-order Off The Clock, and what people did, they gave me their mailing address so I could send them a signed bookplate that they could stick in the cover when it showed up from whatever online retailer that they pre-ordered it through. You know, I'm mailing them anyway, why not send them a handwritten note? So I sent a handwritten thank you note to everybody who pre-ordered and gave me their address. And this is, you know, a lot.

Bobbi Rebell:
But you made the time because it was important to you.

Laura Vanderkam:
Because it was important. So I kept reminding myself, as I was doing it ... my hand was cramping up. I'm like, you should be so grateful that these people are willing to spend money on a product of yours sight unseen. Those are your big fans you want to connect with them, and I do want to connect with them.

Bobbi Rebell:
I just want to take another minute to talk a little bit about Off The Clock. As we mentioned, I did read it on vacation. It was great. You talk about people expand time. That was one of my favorite themes in the book. Tell us more about that theory and how people can apply it to their lives, cause that to me was the most important takeaway from this book.

Laura Vanderkam:
So, for Off The Clock, I had 900 people with full-time jobs and families track their time for a day, and then I asked them questions about how they felt about their time. So I could give people scores based on their time perception. Like did they have high time perception scores? They felt time was abundant. Or low time perception scores. They felt time was scarce, stressful, all that stuff. Compare the schedules with people who felt like they had a lot of time, people who felt they had no time.

Laura Vanderkam:
People who felt like they had the most time also spent the most time actively engaged with family and friends. So they spent the leisure time that they did have nurturing their relationships, whereas people who had the lowest time perceptions scores tended to spend their time watching TV or on social media. You know, it's not that one group had more leisure time than the other. Everyone was busy. Everyone had full-time jobs, families, but people choose to spend the time that they do have discretionary choices over in different ways. And, apparently, spending time with family and friends makes us feel very off the clock.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well said. And that's, by the way, we didn't mention your Ted Talk, which is amazing. One of the things that you point out in your Ted Talk is that, instead of just fast forwarding through commercials to save time when watching TV, you could just watch less TV. So it's pretty straight forward.

Laura Vanderkam:
The problem with writing that time management, I've seen all these articles over the years of like how to find an extra hour in the day by shaving bits of time off every day activities, and stuff like Taebo, or forward through the commercials. Save eight minutes every half hour over two hours of watching TV, you find 32 minutes to exercise. Like, come on. You're watching TV for two hours, you already had 32 minutes to exercise. Let's not fool ourselves.

Bobbi Rebell:
All right. You called us all out. Tell us where people can find out more about you and all of your different ventures, podcasts, Ted Talk, books, newsletter, all of it.

Laura Vanderkam:
Yeah, come visit my website, lauravanderekam.com. That's just my name. You can learn more about my books including Off The Clock and the podcast, Best of Both Worlds. We'd love to have some of your listeners take some of the extra commutes that they're not listening to your wonderful podcast on, and come give it a listen.

Bobbi Rebell:
Love it. Thank you so much Laura.

Laura Vanderkam:
Thank you for having me.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey friends. There were so many great takeaways from that and from the book, Off The Clock. I'm going to give you a couple more here and, of course, you can check out the book and get even more.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup Tip number one. Money can solve productivity problems. One of my favorite examples in the book is when Laura talks about Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling. She was writing her seventh book, [inaudible 00:12:41]. So, by this point she had financial resources to say the least. But she couldn't get any work done in her house because the window cleaner was there, and the kids were home, and the dogs were barking. And then J.K. Rowling says in this story, a light bulb went on. I can throw money at this problem. And you know what? She decamped to a hotel to finish the draft and it worked cause she was able to focus. Money solved the problem.

Bobbi Rebell:
Now, not all of us think that we have the budget to do that. I've never done that and to me it does seem extreme on the surface. However, because of the new resources that we have and we're going to give you some ideas and apps that we have access to now, there are very reasonable hotel rooms available at the last minute in our own cities, and that is something we could potentially look into when we just need to get to a place where we can focus on getting our work done, especially when we're coming up against a big deadline. So some app examples are: Hotel Tonight, One Night, and Hotel Quickly. And you can find very cheap deals in your city very often using apps like these. I'll put the links in the show notes.

Bobbi Rebell:
If you don't have a budget, maybe you have a friend with a spare bedroom. Tell them what you're up to so they don't expect you to be social, but maybe you can use that. And, if it's just a few hours that you need, of course, you can go to a coffee shop. That's always available as a resource for many people. But another option, sometimes, is to just go to your local library and just hunker down in a quiet area there and get some work done.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup Tip number two. Be a pessimist when deciding when to leave for important meetings or trips. Vanderkam discovered that people who are late, even though I think it's often inconsiderate or poor planning, really what it is, is they're optimists. They always remember the best scenario of getting to a place. So, if they're planning a trip that involves going to the airport, they might remember that it only took 15 minutes to get to the airport but, of course, what they don't remember is that was at, you know, 5 a.m. on a Sunday when no one else was going. Maybe this time they're going at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning and they don't factor in that it's going to take a lot longer. So, because they're not planning according to the worse case scenario, things go awry. So plan according to the worst case scenario and, you know what, maybe you'll get there early and you'll have extra time, and you can do something fun with that time.

Bobbi Rebell:
Big thanks to you for gifting this time to yourself to hopefully improve your life just a little thanks to the wonderful advice and wisdom from Laura Vanderkam. Please be in touch. Follow me on Twitter@bobbirebell, on Instagram@bobbirebell1, and on Facebook@bobbirebell, and DM me with your thoughts on the podcast. Laura Vanderkam is living a very financially grownup life. I got so much value from taking the time to read, Off The Clock, and I know you will too. So thank you Laura for helping us all get one step closer to being financial grownups.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart and is a BRK Media Production.