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4.2 out of 5 stars36
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Duncan Bannatyne's latest book, How to be Smart With Your Time, is a rare and unique insight into the mind of a successful entrepreneur. This isn't really a time management book - there are already too many of those around, with their tired theories - this is a book about what to DO with your time. It's a book that will make you more productive. It's so easy to make yourself busy, but the real key to success, in this book, is to be busy doing something that is in line with your highest goals. Every small achievement is a step towards something much more important.

In my BBC TV series, Speed Up Slow Down, I helped people to get their lives organised by managing their time and priorities more effectively, and I think that Duncan's guidance can make a big difference for people in all walks of life.

While many entrepreneurs have written 'self help' books, sharing their theories of success, Duncan's is the only one I've come across that I can really put into practice.

Paul Boross, The Pitch Doctor, Presenter of BBC Television's Speed Up Slow Down and Time Management Expert.
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on 1 August 2010
I have just finished reading this book as part of an Open University reading. Would strongly recommend it if, like me you need to see a practical use for your actions not just another book telling you where you've been going wrong all these years!
Set in two halves, the first half asks you to decide where you want to go/ what you want to achieve and the second half gives small practical changes to make to help you move towards these goals in the most time efficient way. Was a little sceptical of reading initially (oh look, it's another celeb writing a self help book), but well worth a go. So much so that I have already made great leaps towards managing my (and others in the office) time and am now half way through Wake Up and Change Your Life.
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on 23 October 2010
This is a very practical book and I have started to put things into practice. I would recommend this to anyone.The most important thing for me was giving everything a time period and not just making a list of things to do - this really works.
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on 31 May 2010
If you feel that you never have enough time to devote to the important things in order to move yourself forward in life then this is a must read book. Don't allow too many disorganised things to push you around but use this book as a guide to get control and priortise your time; if you don't you'll never make much progress. The book is divided up into lots of bite sized chunks that will give you a lot of food for thought. If you invest a relatively small amount of time to go through this book you should get a very big return.
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on 18 October 2011
When I started to read through the book it read as a very standard Time Management Book - Clarify your Goals , align activities etc.

However the more pragmatic advice given on how to utilise time and also on Turbo charging your To-Do list are excellent and make the book well worth reading!

Ive read a number of these types of books over the years and this is definatly one of the best. What is nice is that it is written for the UK reader wheras most are for the US - refreshing!
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VINE VOICEon 5 December 2010
Firstly what an excellent book.

Identifying what's important and your goals is key to the whole process. From this point you can then begin the process of observing where your time goes each day. Should you, like me have very different days, then the use of time will vary. I found that the days I'd selected to do more work were dwindling during the day. Slow starts, dragged out pre exercise routines(before exercising), followed by dragged out showers, lunches and coffee ended in the day going nowhere. Furthermore, I'd then be tired when getting home, go for a 90 minute nap, make dinner, surf internet, watch tv till 2 or 3 am(hence the need for daytime naps) and repeat cycle if another day off to do video work.

Hmm.. wonder why the projects weren't getting done?

So now the routine is more like this: get up 2 hours earlier, take a slowish start but still get out a lot earlier than before: train, shower, coffee then back home to do some dvd work. No more need of naps. Should I choose to loaf a bit during the day I'd begin the editing earlier in the evening until 22.30-23.00 watch tv until 1.00.

This gave me on the whole 4-5 hours more effort on my editing work, without leaving out the core enjoyment of the day. So its very interesting.

Other thoughts on the book....

The chapters are just the right length. I found it much easier to see the divisions in the thoughts and information shared.

Cetain aspects of it are priceless.

The key to this book is for the reader to be ripe for the info. If you've been struggling to get things moving. You've read many books. Yet still you are your own worst enemy, Duncan will help you clear the fog and zone into the most important use of your time for you. Investigating why the projects are losing vitality, completely transforms your efforts thereafter.

Also once one sees a project moving again it creates its own momentum.

I love the fine tuning of the whole process. There's enough in the book to keep learning for the next 30 years.

I own 3 of his books now. This is the first one I've finished. As of this reading its his latest. I noticed that this one and the previous one, How To Be Smart With Your Money, they had lept forward in readability. Learning books are not novels. They need to be chunked out in much smaller mouthfuls. So once again Duncan has thought it through, perhaps had some feedback and delivered flawless pace and size of chapters.

As far as i'm concerned even if this book is a temporary fix until my next block its got me to the end of my current project.

Yet I hope to make the lifestyle adjustments necessary to transform from a man with ideas and passion to one who can also execute those ideas.

The things that have really stuck in my mind are firstly: REREAD THE BOOK!! 2/ identify the time wasters and then restructure your time. Duncan is a master at this and hounds down seconds to save time. Case in point he presses for the lift and then goes and grabs something before it arrives. He's timed 3 routes to a given destination that's a frequent route. He takes the shortest one that saves a minute or two. These are extreme examples and don't reflect the core time wasters. He has his meetings last for 20 minutes!! Every person has to prepare before hand to get to that level of efficiency.

TV,Internet and lack of a good working Diary are my biggest culprits. Also by not having a proper diary and items in it to get done, means a day starts in vagueness.

However, I really don't believe in the other extreme either where you work your leg hairs off with no goal or reason, for peanuts and have no time for yourself. I believe in making time to reflect on your life. Taking a step back. Where I have struggled is coming out of a corporate Computer Programmer world to being self-employed. No work time keeper or project time keeper. Having no projects delivered to you on a plate. Even if you are self-driven, without direction and focus there's a natural human tendency to drift aimlessly.

In the early years Duncan sold his TV when trying to raise funds. He found so much extra time on his hands as a result. Modern man would have to sell the computer too but that might backfire!!

One can watch tv but it makes sense to record it. Save 20 minutes in a 1 hour show. Watch 2 shows in 80 minutes saving 40 minutes. It all adds up. Get to bed earlier, have more energy for the next day, get more done, clearer head, lots of good things. Yet I find even with a late starting lifestyle, I can still enjoy that but have it working for me instead of against me.

Also I've found a good timezone for me to work. While everyone else is doing the Internet/TV thing at home I'm doing 3 to 4 hours of work. I then watch limited TV after everyone's gone to bed. I considered what programs I could cut back on thereby limiting my weekly viewing. Living TV are doing back to back series(season 2,3, and 4) of Criminal Minds. I enjoyed one episode then made the mistake of recording the shows. I was doing 3 a night!! I was unable to catch them all up. I decided 120 minutes of watching shows about serial killers wasn't the best use of my time or pre-bed relaxing ritual. I'm supposed to be this tranquil Tai Chi Teacher.

Key factors are also to work with a to do list. You list everything. Then split it into sections. Some of them are moved to a wish list. Finally you place this into your diary. Without this a to do list is just a list of paper. A wish list really.

I'd like to see some tightening on my daily diary. Compared to a few weeks ago I was in a mess with my project. I really really wanted to get the USA DVD version completed. But the structure of my day just didn't exist. Having enough income to get by, no boss(yippee), I got away with it. But I knew. You can't hide from your Inner Eye. But now I feel I can have the tools to get myself back on track with it.

The key for me to get going again was identifying whether my second DVD and the whole Zen Tai Chi Series was worth doing or not. Re-firing up the original passion was most useful. It helps when you know why you're sitting at your Computer doing fiddly editing work.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the constant revelation of priceless information. Usually with books of this kind it dies a death and loses momentum. Just when I thought there can't be any more gems left now, he's covered everything. Bang. He dishes out more gold. I've done a lot of reviews for Amazon. It doesn't reflect just how many books I've read. This one is, for me, so good it ranks as the best book I've read on this kind of subject.

Lastly, this book is like a complete map. It links in your lifestyle , passions and goals. Its not about finding time just for the sake of it.

I found it truly a Zen book about getting your life in order and focused. There is no waste. No fluff. Its a rich gold mine.

Creator of the Beginner Tai Chi [DVD]
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on 18 December 2012
The book starts well, I like the first main exercise, it asks you to write what youd ideally like for 7 key areas and how you'd like your life to be in each area.
It then asks you to pick the 1 area thats most importnat, then discard the other areas for now because 'Its not easy choosing between goals, but neither is it easy being successful in seven different areas at once!' Advice I wish Id taken 10 years ago..

The book is easy to read and is broken down into short digestible sections. Sometimes some of the chapters seem a bit contrived just for the sake of having a chapter .. but overall some good stuff in here.

I was close to giving it 4 stars.
A worth while read.
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on 11 July 2011
bought book after reading reviews. I'm not a business person but most of what I've read can be useful to me. I've started following exercises and practising what they have taught me. I like the no nonsense approach. From my point of view, would have loved if some of the examples were not from the world of business.
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on 6 April 2013
After feeling rather under-pressure at work and home, I knew I needed to manage my time better. I was clear though I didn't need some self-help book written by some "guru" from the US who I had never heard of; I wanted someone who would say things clearly and cut the waffle. Duncan Bannatyne does it with his book. I found it extremely useful and readable. It is also very inspiring. I would recommend this book to anyone, feeling under-pressure. Having read the book, I find I'm on top of things in work and able to focus on things at home.
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on 19 January 2012
Anyone looking at the review by "Calvert" may come away thinking that what is in this book is old hat, but not if you are a disorganised person! Many of us run around like headless chickens, we need a structure to our lives and this is where this books pays huge dividends. Anyone coming away from this and not having gained anything would be right to point this out, but I feel that is as likely as snow falling in the Sahara desert! Sorry for gushing with excitement, but it is his insights that really make this book so interesting and informative. Here we have a British subject with advice for us, and not some Yank talking down to us and telling us how many books he's sold or how many other things he wants us to be interested in, none of this applies to Bannatyne! We have here on our own doorstep a man with great business acumen and not to take advantage of that would be commercial suicide! I do like some of the Yankie books, but I do prefer home grown advice, as it applies to us, so why knock it? The bottom line is, if you want to get ahead then get this book.
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