Is your life “stuck?” More importantly, how do you get “unstuck?”

That is the premise of a fascinating little book written by Laura Vanderkam.

Vanderkam has written several books (most of which I have read). She focuses her writing on managing time. Her thoughts do not flow from some pinstriped view of business but from a mom of four children and a full life that includes singing in the church choir. For her time means life.

Juliet’s School of Possibilities is a parable which diagnosis the modern disease of “over-busy.” Riley, the main character, is a consultant for a high-powered and high-pressure international consulting firm.81SjYPqTYzL AC UL872 QL65

She’s drowning in her “busyness.

Email arrives faster than flies at a July picnic while Her relationships fall apart due to lack of attention. She seeks to please every client with immediacy attention and response.

Yet, with all of her commitment, her “dream” is in jeopardy. She is a hard worker doing the wrong work.

She escapes to a little coastal bed-and-breakfast run by a Martha Stewart-modeled character named Juliet. Juliet runs a multi-faceted business with many demands while raising children. Yet, she remains tranquil and peaceful.What’s her secret? Juliet teaches Riley to handle demand. The secret is not simple but hard to do.

I found this little fable intriguing. For me, I learn well when I get to let my analytical mind relax. Then, ideas seep in without as much resistance.

Juliet does not teach new insights but reminds you of what you already know. I already knew:

  • Find out what you want out of your life. There are possibilities.
  • You always have time for what is important to you.
  • What you spend your time doing is what you want to do.
  • We choose where we put time and attention…and we are always choosing.
  • It is easier to get caught in the trap of the urgent than devote our lives to the important.

I appreciate both the story and the insights. From time to time, I need to be nudged back on the right track.

Another strength of the book is that it is not another entertaining little story. In the afterword, Vanderkam provides a concise roadmap for getting time back on track. (She includes time tracking, an exercise she has done religiously for four years.)

Read the book to be entertained but be prepared to be challenged. That’s an excellent present to unwrap.

Other Books by Laura Vanderkam

Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

What the Most Successful People Do at Work: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Career