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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2007
Take Back Your Life is a genuinely useful book on how to use Outlook 2007 to improve time-management. I am using it at work and it has improved things so that it the litmus test.

But it does have irritating flaws.

The style is Americian corporate over-enthusiastic, and it keeps putting in corny dialogue as in ,
"We said, 'Great......Now what about profit and revenue'
Susan replied, 'Now you're really pinning me down!'
We responded, "That's exactly right..."

I say, "If you don't mind that style, well, great!"
But then I asked, "Doesn't it start to grate after a while?"
Then I said, "Just kidding! Ged it? Great and Grate!"
Then I responded, "Now, I'm starting to write in that unfocused way myself."

My fundamental point: It is a book about time-management but it takes far more words than is necessary to get its point across. Us busy, busy people don't have time for that.
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on 18 February 2009
This book does, as another reviewer points out, go on a bit. It could have been written in 1/2 the number of pages - saved a tree of two and still made the point clear.

Having said that, I am no longer a slave to me inbox! Its really helped to explain how to use all the functions of outlook to change the way you work and help to reorganise yourself - I perhaps spend more time organising that I ever did before - but I do everything I expect to do every day.

I no longer come into work and stress about going through all the things that need to be done and I can work through my task list knowing that things are actually getting done - on time.

A GREAT READ - I'll pass it around the office to everyone I work with too!
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on 22 July 2012
I bought this book after reading the recommendations on Amazon, and have been more than impressed by the contents. It took me several weeks to work through and implement, but the difference in my work and home life has been phenomenal. Prior to reading this book I only used Microsoft Outlook for email, and my inbox was overflowing. I was stressed, anxious, and constantly worried that there were things I had forgotton.

I now have a complete task list, where I store everything I have to do. I transfer this onto my calender and work from there. I've used the suggestions for working through projects, and setting my goals for the year, and that alone has been incredibly useful. I now have a clear idea of what I can say no to, and, for the first time, I am comfortable saying no, as I can see where things fit into my overall goals, and also see how much time I have available.

The difference this book has made is amazing. Each day I wake up and cannot wait to get started. I know exactly what needs doing, and I can forget about upcoming jobs as they are on my task list, not in my head. I have changed the way I write emails: I pay attention to the content, think carefully about who I copy in, and write specific subject lines. I am stricter with myself about sticking to my working hours, have set up systems to that colleagues know when I am available and when I am not and have stopped doing countless hours unpaid. Despite this, my productivity has shot up.

In my personal life, I am getting through hundreds of jobs on and in the house, and gradually am transforming my home into the place I want it to be. I feel happier, more in control and a whole lot less stressed.

My recommendation would be to buy this book if: you have any projects to manage, you have a hectic work and personal life to balance, you want to sleep through the night and not wake up worrying about unfinished jobs, you want to be more organised, you want to know how to deal with email overload.

Any negatives? Well, it takes time to put the principles into action and you need to silence that nagging voice that says you don't have time for this. My personal view is that it is definitely worth the effort. The time I spent setting the system up, is nothing compared to the time I now save. As I set up my management system I occassionally found myself wondering why the book recommended doing it a certain way. If this happens to you, I would say, have faith in the system and go with it, as the reasons for doing things become clear as you go on. A couple of times I didn't do it as they suggested, thinking it seemed a bit unneccessary, but I always ended up going back and doing it their way, as the reason for it became obvious later on.

I am recommending this book to all my friends and colleagues.
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on 2 March 2008
If you want to get better at managing your time and keep on top of the things that really matter whilst maintaining balance between your life and work, this is the book to help you do it. Sally McGhee's principles and guidelines, centered around MS Outlook, deserve a cult following!

Working through this book has helped me to gain clarity about the most important things in my life, identify the actions that will create these, plan them into my schedule and then act on them. McGhee recommends using the calendar to plan the day, and although I was initially sceptical, it has revolutionised the results I am achieving. The weekly review supports me to course correct and keep on track.

I have two jobs and a hectic personal life. I have studied countless other systems, methodologies and ideas. This one has really worked consistently for me over time, and McGhee's is practical, whilst underpinned by research that supports the principles espoused. For fans of GTD, there are similarities, McGhee and Allen having worked together in the past. However, this approach has given me the tools to create real change. If you want to use Outlook, or a similar application, McGhee has the answer.
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on 19 October 2009
To be productive, you need a good organizational system. Here, productivity experts Sally McGhee and John Wittry detail their time- and workflow-management system, which is based on Microsoft Outlook 2007. They offer precise, step-by-step instructions on mastering this software to organize your work and personal life. Their book presents numerous detailed organizational steps and screenshots with precise instructions. getAbstract finds that this solid software manual does a fine job of showing you how to plan, prioritize and manage your activities by maximizing Outlook's productivity-boosting capabilities.
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on 4 September 2013
The book was in great condition and has allowed me to completely organise my life with the simple systems promoted throughout.
I'd recommend it to anybody who is struggling with workloads in a professional job.
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on 15 July 2014
some really simple ideas to make your work life easier, everyone needs a system so you may as well design yours around the familiar platform of Outlook. Everyone could benefit from reading this
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on 6 November 2014
not had time to read this yet - need some time management advice first
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