Tranquility by Tuesday: 9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters

by: Laura Vanderkam (0)

“An indispensable manual...Tranquility by Tuesday offers plenty of inspiration for a more serene life, and down-to-earth and evidence-backed advice for actually making it happen."
--Oliver Burkeman, New York Times bestselling author of Four Thousand Weeks

For anyone who’s sick of letting to-do lists dictate their time, Laura Vanderkam, the bestselling author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, shares nine strategies for reclaiming your hours


Do you find yourself hoping that someday, life will be less hectic? One day, you say, you’ll finally have time for the activities that you love – writing that book, completing that triathlon, traveling with friends. But if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. If we’re not careful, dull, unfulfilling tasks can quickly occupy our precious hours, derail our best-laid plans, and make life feel like a slog.
  In
Tranquility by Tuesday, Laura Vanderkam explains that if you want something to happen, you need to design your life to make it happen. Work crises, childcare emergencies, and home repairs are inevitable, and the mundane tasks of life – cooking, cleaning, laundry – aren’t going anywhere. To make time for what matters, you need a resilient schedule, not a perfect schedule. Based on a time diary study of over 150 people, Vanderkam shares nine strategies for building opportunities for joy, nourishment, and fulfillment into your week, such as:

  • Three times a week is a habit
  • One big adventure, one little adventure
  • Effortful before effortless
  This is more than a time management book about “how to do it all.” It’s a look at how real people changed their lives using Vanderkam’s nine rules, and how you can do the same. It’s about intentionally living the life that you want to live, and becoming an autonomous steward of life’s possibilities.

The Reviews

I have read many time management books, but this one had the best for things to do today to help in the long run. Each step has helpful hints for incorporating and what others have done to incorporate it. I have started instituting them (establishing a bedtime, planning on Fridays, etc), but needing extra time to start truly working on the big task/little task and taking a night for me (crazy talk! but it would definitely help). I really appreciated the questions for reflection on how to make this actually work in my world. It gives me hope of prioritizing, but also fitting in the truly important tasks (family time, career, and myself) while time is just flying by.

As always, Laura Vanderkam provides thoughtful, helpful advice to make her readers' lives more memorable, rich, and engaging. I immensely enjoyed reading her latest book, Tranquility by Tuesday.Tranquility by Tuesday suggests 9 rules to implement. Ms. Vanderkam offers pragmatic, actionable, and clear advice on how to implement these guidelines. She's not a fan of cramming in more to an overcrowded life, just to increase productivity. Instead, she creates suggestions to allow readers to curate their lives for what is most meaningful to them.I've had great success with some of the rules, such as bedtime and moving before three. I also think the effortful before effortless fun is a great idea and have implemented it with my teenage son. We've completed three Lego sets together in the past month, just by using the rule.Though I agree with both rules in concept, I struggle with executing both the adventures one and the one-night for myself rule. Mostly, I really struggle to come up with doable ideas but, with Ms. Vanderkam's advice, at least I'm working on it.I highly recommend this book for anyone who is trying to create a memorable, happy life.

I have read nearly all of Laura Vanderkam’s other books on time management, and I believe this is one of the best. I sped through the book, as it had an engaging style, where each step was thoroughly explained and then examples were given of how to put each step into action. I especially appreciated the examples from the study participants who actually made these rules work for them in their lives. I will definitely be re-reading this book as I apply the nine steps to my own life. I hope to check back in here and update this review in a few weeks, and let folks know how I did on my own path to Tranquility by Tuesday!

I'm a regular reader of time management and productivity books, and I love Laura Vanderkam's work in general.This book, though? It's my favorite by far. It's super practical but not with the same old tips you've heard a million times. It really pushed my thinking on some key ways I'm spending my time. I've shared some of the ideas from the book with friends and they have loved them too.An excellent contribution to the world, this book is, and one l'll be gifting this holiday season to many friends.

As a long time fan of Laura and her work, I've read (and loved!) every one of her books. But Tranquility by Tuesday is extra magical. I picked "Movement by 3p" as my first habit change, and because of the insightful, inspiring way Laura explains the power of this tool (and the other 8), I'm actually doing it - and it's making a positive impact on my day in ways I'd never anticipated. Highly recommend this delightful book!

I really loved the mix in this book of time management advice: the author's own reflections, the quantitative data from a survey she ran with 150 people, and lots of stories from people about how they implemented the rules. This was a great read that left me with tons of ideas on how to make better use of my hours.

I have read all of Laura Vanderkam‘s books and I am a regular of her blog. Her new book is excellent! I love her practical tips which I have found very useful implementing into my own life. Her ideas are original and the explanation for how to make them work in your own life is very understandable. This book is a great read and it is full of practical advice. Laura is a great writer and her writing has had a very significant impact on improving my life.

I've long been a fan of Laura's writing, and I'm really excited to dig into this new book. Her ideas are practical, actionable, and reasonable, and they add up to the kind of life that I want to be living. Well worth the reading time!

Other than suggesting nine simple ways in which you can improve your life and feel more in control of your time,this book will also encourage you to think more about how you spend your time and be more open minded and creative about when and how you do things. The book includes responses from people who have tried the ideas and offers twicks for each rule and foresees any objections you might raise, or excuses why this rule might not work for you. Despite the term "rules" the ideas in this book are very flexible and adjustable and can be implemented in different ways.In addition the book makes a very enjoyable read, Laura's style is delightful and funny at times.I also recommend getting the audio book in addition,it's a pleasure to listen to Laura.

Whether you have benefited from Laura's previous books on how to make the most of your time or are new to her work, Tranquility by Tuesday offers a fresh approach and 9 actionable ideas tomake the most of your life's possibilities.As with previous books, one of the things that brings me back for more is Laura's approach of really assessing where you are spending your time and then providing practical steps to making changes that boost your satisfaction and bring more joy to your life...however you define that joy.Highly recommend not just reading the book, but giving a fair try to the 9 rules. You'll change your life for the better.

As a busy mom of seven and a business owner I need all the time management help and advice I can get. Laura Vanderkam's books and blog have been my go to source for years now and in this new book she lays out nine principles for how to form the life that you want. Laura is never bossy, rather in an affirming way she suggests ways to value the time that we have and use it to get the life that we want.

What I liked most about Laura's book was the use of survey data from people actually deploying her ideas. That feedback gave me a feel for how often these tips work. I also loved how Laura captures real people's stories of the benefits and challenges they experienced. This went well beyond the usual "what worked for me" that you often find in these books.

Laura's positive take on working motherhood has long inspired me, and Tranquility by Tuesday might be her best work yet. Laura presents nine research-based guidelines to help busy people craft the lives they want by minimizing distractions (e.g., "batch little things" and "plan on Fridays") while building in time for adventure, whimsy, dreaming... and the alone time that many busy women crave (e.g., "one big adventure, one little adventure" and "take one night for you"). Laura's research findings, and my anecdotal experience, lead to consistent results: follow these rules, and you'll feel more on top of - and in charge of - your own life and time.Laura's mix of practicality and inspiration are just what a busy generation of working moms need. Consider me an evangelist at this point -- I'll be giving Tranquility by Tuesday as holiday gifts to friends and family, to younger women at work who are just starting to navigate the work/life rapids, and to anyone who could use a dose of positivity as they strive to build a big, fun life.

I wish I could give this 4.5 stars.I read A LOT of self-help books. I have read and enjoyed Laura Vanderkam's other books and follow her work.This book stands out from her previous ones and from other self-help time management books. It is an easy read that is very practical. The 9 rules are simple and feel doable yet extremely impactful / valuable.I want to use my time more meaningfully and memorably which is what this book is all about. I want to make time for what is important AND enjoy my life more. Her research and data indicate it is possible. I liked the data and real life examples.She writes about and incorporates some things I have heard before yet it feels new and different. I like the structure of the book and how things are broken down. The strategies build on each other. I am excited to start implementing the strategies.I like how she tries to help us with prioritizing ourselves and what makes us happy. This book is more about how to add joy to your life instead of just about being more efficient with your time.My one criticism is that as with most self-help books, I think it could have been shorter and more concise.I highly recommend this book and will be talking about it with others.

I can honestly say that the works of Laura Vanderkam have exponentially helped me be a better professional, parent, & spouse and this latest book is a savory icing on the cake of productivity! The knowledge of Tranquility by Tuesday comes at the perfect moment for this chapter of my life and many other contemporaries. I’ve bought 4 copies thus far and will buy more as so many working mommy friends are seeking sage advice of what works to optimize their profession, household & family life. Plus, it makes a great gift any gal pal. Thanks again, Laura, and keep up the great work! -Mi Mi B.

I've read every single one of Laura's books and this may be the best yet. I find I enjoy her work while I'm reading it but—far more importantly—keep thinking about her insights, examples, and guidance days, months, and years after finishing. She continues to offer surprising and valuable insights about making the most of our precious and limited time, all while having a real gift for connecting the theoretical to the dead-practical. Highly recommend.

MS. Vanderkam is one of the few current writers in the self help / time management space who bring actual new ideas and perspectives to her books. This is a great read with practical ideas you can implement TODAY that will make a change in your life. Read this book and then go back and grab any others of hers you haven’t read yet.

I love Laura’s work. Her new book Tranquility by Tuesday couldn’t have come at a better time for me. As a CEO with 2 toddlers, the title of this book is exactly what I crave. My favorite principle was Plan on Fridays - but I plan to use them all. The book is so actionable and I highly recommend for anyone seeking better ways to spend their time. Bravo!

Fabulous book about making life not just manageable, but enjoyable as well. Approachable and practical, TBT provides a memorable framework for making a handful of best-practices happen - all at the same time, and in such a way that they mutually reinforce one another. I just got back from “one big adventure”, and am looking forward to implementing each of these rules in my weeks!

I've enjoyed Laura's books for a long time and read her blog regularly. I have been following the Tranquility by Tuesday project as she's gone along with it and I thought "honestly, what is the book going to have that I haven't gotten from her blog and online resources?". Then I considered how helpful her other books were to me, and bought in just in case it did. I'm so glad I did! Lots of helpful insights to consider and I got a much deeper understanding of the 7 rules as well as the WHY behind them. I enjoyed the end of each chapter, with ideas on how to push this work even further. Look, I am the solo parents of 3 kids, sole breadwinner and have my own business--I am a time management and productivity geek and have a lot of systems in place already. These rules either reinforce things I thought were important (like set a bedtime) or have pushed me to try new things (one night for myself). Totally worth the time to read and apply--I'm so excited to level up the fun in my life and become more tranquil :)

If you’re overwhelmed by exhausting and chaotic days, I’m confident you’ll finish this book feeling calmer, more optimistic, and already proud of your first little wins.I’ve followed Vanderkam’s wise advice for years, and this is a light-hearted read full of fresh ideas and important reminders. My favorite rule is No. 2: Plan on Fridays. So simple. So effective! In 15-20 minutes on Friday afternoons, I can make a plan for a more productive workweek as well as defend some play time for the upcoming weekend. Planning “fun” shouldn’t so often feel hard, but what Vanderkam says is true: “We need to think about any stretch of time before we are hurtling through it.”My weekends seem to hurtle by, and I wonder where the time to restore and recover went. How about you? Make a plan, then set those workweek worries aside. This book can show you how to bring satisfaction and tranquility to Tuesdays AND all the other days.

I’m a big Laura Vanderkam fan so I pre-ordered the book. I think this is one of her best books (if not THE best). She provides 9 actionable things to do to achieve “tranquility”. For each, she discusses the action, then some obstacles, things to overcome obstacles, what her participants did for the action, and then a way to take it further. I love that this book is so actionable and provides things to do, backed by research. I’ll definitely be reading this again and again!

I’ve been a fan of Laura’s works for years, and I wondered, being so familiar with her premises, if I would get much out of the book. I am SO glad I pre-ordered it: she gave so much new and fresh information I read it in two days. I can honestly say that my quality of life is better after putting a lot of these rules into place. Highly recommend!

Tranquility by Tuesday is the first book I've bought and read by Laura Vanderkam, and I immediately followed up by reading one of her backlist books.I highly recommend her work. Vanderkam gives a powerful new way to look at time. I've always wished for an abundance mentality about time, and this book has gifted me with this perspective. For what matters, there is enough time. If we choose to make time for what matters, our lives expand.I own my own company. For years, I've had a voice in my head, an early client who said my company would never be investable because as a woman and a mother, I couldn't work the 60-70 hours per week needed to attract investors. I didn't even know if I wanted investors, but for some reason that comment has stayed with me.Now in my 11th year of running my company (bootstrapped), Vanderkam's book has helped me give myself permission to build the life I want, using my own metrics for success, instead striving to clock more work hours to live up to someone else's idea of what a business owner should do and be.I can get up early to run with friends, enjoy breakfast with my family, take a break midday to walk my dog, spend time with my teenager during an hour long school commute — and I can focus on my most important work priorities, serving my team and my clients.I finally have enough time. Choose to prioritize the time to read this book and you will, too.

The rules presented here line up pretty well with other time management/ productivity material I've read, in particular the "deep life" stuff Cal Newport has been developing. I like the fact that Vanderkam actually studied the effects these rules had on people, but I skimmed a lot of the participant feedback. Still, this is worth a read if you are a productivity junkie, especially if you view productivity as a means to spend more time doing things that bring meaning to your life.

Tranquility by Tuesday: 9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters
⭐ 4.8 💛 104
kindle: $15.99
hardcover: $19.79
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