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Too much `fool yourself' mind theory waffle and not enough useful 'How to' tips
on 21 April 2008
You could skip pages 1-108 and not really miss very much at all!
The author has some good tips and ideas to pass on, but unfortunately spends far too many pages presenting his theories on the way we think and feel; the side of our brain that plans versus the side that reacts; how to get one to fool the other.
There seems to be a laborious amount of repetition of these theories, I'm afraid those 100-odd pages are best described as waffle.
The form, presentation and layout of the book could also be a good deal better. Most contemporary books in this genre would make use of illustrations, relevant pictures, quotations etc. This book has none of these embellishments; it consists of 200 pages of plain text. The book contains many question & answer exercises, often running to ten or so questions, causing the answers to be 2 pages on from the relevant question - trivial, but believe me tedious when it has occurred enough times.
Another odd thing about the book is that the author has chosen to present a 'quick start' guide on one page as a preface before page 1:
"This book will tell you much more about how to do this, but the method essentially consists of these four steps"
1 - Put all the work you are behind on into backlog folders and put it where you can't see it.
2 - Collect all your incoming work during the day and deal with it the next day. Group similar tasks .... Aim to clear the lot every day.
3 - If anything is too urgent to leave for tomorrow, write it down and action it at a convenient time. Never take even the simplest action without writing it down first.
4 - Spend some time clearing the backlog folders every day. When you've finally cleared them, find something else you want to get sorted and start doing that first thing every day instead.
I can understand the principle of "tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em", but there's just no hook or wow factor in that preface, to then follow it up with 100 pages of waffle!!!
The final chapter seems completely at odds with the bulk of the book, one can almost sense that this time management guru was almost late for his deadline and wrapped it up quickly. After so many verbose chapters we are very directly and succintly told the best way to file (lever arch folders) and that it's best to keep these on a bookshelf and to always replace the most recently used folder at the left hand end - an interesting alternative to filing cabinets, I could see it working, I reckon it's probably a good idea. These ideas are presented in a few pages of greyed-boxes, looking different to the rest of the book.
The author refers to his use of Microsoft Outlook, and of striving for a single collecting point, then advocates a day journal, and a page-a-day diary, and a determination to write everything down before doing anything.
In my humble opinion, if you want help and a methodology for managing the modern ills and overloads of email, tasks, time scheduling and project management it would be a far better use of your time to read 'Take back your Life using Microsoft Outlook' by Sally McGhee. I read this book and bought copies for several colleagues. We all had Outlook, but by using that book gained a greater understanding of the capabilities of the software AND a common language for managing work effectively.
My apologies for going against the crowd, I anticipate that I run the risk of negative feedback from the many 5-star raters who have gone before. Might I ask that if you disagree with my review and decide to award me negative feedback that you also take just one moment to add a comment as to where we disagree? (Thanks for that)