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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings order to chaos
I think I could win awards as the world's most disorganised person - getting 150+ emails a day and managing to deal with about 10 of them in any detail the rest got at best a quick skim and at worst completely ignored.

And then I discovered this book. I bought it as something to read on the plane on the way to my holiday in US (sad I know!!) By the time I...
Published on 21 May 2008 by A. Gunston

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Verbose and slightly nauseating
Linenberger has a way of working that suits his environment and may suit yours provided you are a bad manager of your own workload or you work in a badly managed company, so that you are overwhelmed by tasks and e-mails. If you are not in that situation, this book is not for you.

Like many efficiency gurus, Linenberger states that his version of task...
Published on 21 Feb 2009 by Amsterdamned


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings order to chaos, 21 May 2008
By 
A. Gunston (Wakefield, UK) - See all my reviews
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I think I could win awards as the world's most disorganised person - getting 150+ emails a day and managing to deal with about 10 of them in any detail the rest got at best a quick skim and at worst completely ignored.

And then I discovered this book. I bought it as something to read on the plane on the way to my holiday in US (sad I know!!) By the time I arrived in US my eyes had been opened to how to change things and for once the change didn't mean completely reinventing myself. It was literally a case of bringing structure and order to the chaos. I finished the book sat by the pool.

Then I got back to work after 3 weeks away, opened Outlook and found over a couple of thousand unread messages. Made the changes laid out in the book and started to apply the principles. Seven hours later 40 tasks in by taskbar and no messages in my Inbox - for the first time in years I felt like I was in control. I knew what needed to be done and when.

The only problem is that I keep going round preaching about how wonderful the systems is - all my colleagues seem to have noticed the change suddenly the person who can't tell them what is coming up knows exactly whats on the list of tasks. And more importantly takes great delight in ticking the tasks off as each one is completed.

I have bought a second copy of the book because I want to have one permanently in my desk drawer to refer to and to lend to my colleagues.

I can honestly say that this is the first book which has changed my life. It won't be joining the extensive collection of self-improvement books on my bookshelf - this one is one you want to open again and again.

Thank you Michael Linenberger - keep up the good work.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Verbose and slightly nauseating, 21 Feb 2009
Linenberger has a way of working that suits his environment and may suit yours provided you are a bad manager of your own workload or you work in a badly managed company, so that you are overwhelmed by tasks and e-mails. If you are not in that situation, this book is not for you.

Like many efficiency gurus, Linenberger states that his version of task management will work for all. It won't. He states, for example, that that one should leave replying to e-mails to the end of the day, which indicates either that he does not deal with customers or that he has no understanding of good customer service.

Linenberger has that management consultant's habit of inventing new and slightly nauseating buzz words to describe normal business processes (Now-Horizons, Manage-Your-Now! and so on). He is also very verbose. The whole system could have been explained in a few pages, but he talks down to the lowest common denominator and is happy to repeat information constantly. He is also given to hyperbole - this is a set of tips and practical lessons on using Outlook more effectively and not a "hugely powerful concept".

As for the system itself: if you fit into his target market, it should work for you - I already use a similar system (though not in Outlook), and I am never overwhelmed as Linenberger seems to be. However, a good deal of what he writes is simple common sense. It is good that it is written, as many people need this spelled out to them when they are over-worked, but this book is overrated.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Total control? Well, almost..., 20 Aug 2012
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I can't claim to have implemented the "Eight Best Practices" fully - which may be why I haven't yet achieved "Total Control" but this book has certainly improved my control of both a busy work-schedule and an ever-improving Forgettory!
The book outlines a "workday" scenario which many will relate-to. It then gives you the option of either "quick start" or "read howto in detail" for the changes in the standard Outlook configuration needed to make the system work. You may see these changes as "dauntingly radical" (for example - "empty your Inbox of ALL messages" !) but the more-detailed explanations may give you the courage to try it.
Read in conjunction with David Allen's Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity I've found it a useful tool - I just wish I'd found it 10 years ago!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent manual!, 14 Aug 2010
By 
A. Cara "Arco" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I work as an IT PM and get on average 300-400 (non-spam) emails a day. We use Outlook at the firm.
I have read a number of books on time management. I have just bought another one which I intend to read once I am done with this one just to solidify some of the learned concepts.
They are generally good but do not teach you how to use a tool to achieve what they are trying to teach you.
I have been using Outlook since 1999, therefore my knowledge of it was not bad although basic by any standards. I simply did not know what else I could use it for and how.
My Inbox would always hover at about 130-150 items (minimum), increasing daily by about 30 (permanent/long-term items).
I would occasionally spend whole 2-3 days, say a weekend + 1 work day, to clean it up.
But even then would only go down to about 30-40 and that was success!
I have not yet finished reading this book, 3-4 weeks after I bought it. I read it for about 15 mins a day, normally on the tube.
And my Inbox has been 0 items for 3 weeks running! Perhaps it's early days but this is the first time in anything that I have managed to maintain something for that long!
It is an amazing feeling to not have anything in your Inbox. You're much more focused on tasks that you're supposed to do and even more important, you're on top of everything that concerns you and your team.
A truly helpful book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Only system that's worked for me, and has got better over time, 18 Mar 2010
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I've been trying to 'get organised' for a good 7 or 8 years since I thought there must be methods out there to tell you how to use a todo list better. I think I must have tried most of them - GTD, 7 habits/Covey, Do It Tomorrow, The Now Habit/Unschedule, Personal Efficiency Program, and my own hybrids of those various systems. I've tried to implement those systems in outliner software, paper, todo list software, Excel, email folders, .... the list has gone on and on. Whilst each of them sounded good in theory they didn't seem to work for long in practice for my type of work.

My job is project-based work largely sat in front of a PC bar the odd meeting, conducted and driven a lot by email, and I'd often be enthused by a new system for a few days but would quickly find it couldn't keep up, particularly with emails where both transferring them to another 'system' and tracking them for future reference just seemed like too much work.

I'd had this book in my Amazon wishlist for a while so after yet another system had failed me I decided to give it a go, read it in a weekend and quickly had it implemented, and haven't looked back since.

Every system I've previously studied seems to be immediately challengeable with 'but how does it handle...', but the system presented in Total Workday Control is intuitive and everything seems to just work and for the first time I don't feel like there's stuff out there I'm missing, or action lists going stale because I can't face going through them again. I'm writing this review having been three days away from work and it took me about half an hour to clear my inbox and feel back in control.

This is the only system where I feel I'm getting better at it the more I use it.
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