Customer Review

186 of 193 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much `fool yourself' mind theory waffle and not enough useful 'How to' tips, 21 April 2008
This review is from: Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management (Paperback)
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)
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 May 2008 21:29:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 May 2008 21:31:33 BDT
M. Forster says:
"You could skip pages 1-108 and not really miss very much at all!"

I get the impression that you did skip pages 1-108 and missed a heck of a lot. Things included in those pages include:
- Why it's not a good idea to rely on willpower
- The difference between acting in a reactive manner and a rational, considered manner
- That vision is as much about what you are not going to do as about what you are going to do
- Tackling large projects "little and often"
- How to draft articles and reports using "continuous revision"
- The importance of establishing limits
- Why closed lists (such as check lists) are much easier to work with than open lists (such as to do lists)
- How to get rid of backlogs

That's just up to page 26. There are tons more ideas before you reach page 108!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Nov 2008 16:37:37 GMT
Cupid Stunt says:
Yay! Could this be the same M. Forster who wrote the book?! Talk about staying in touch with your audience!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2008 12:09:57 GMT
M. Forster says:
It is indeed.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Dec 2008 11:23:50 GMT
Cupid Stunt says:
Well sir I've just purchased your book so you at least can look forward to a credit crunch free Christmas thanks to my whopping £5.99! ;)

Posted on 4 Mar 2009 00:19:17 GMT
J. French says:
Your last paragraph - I hope you can see by now that 100% of readers of your review found it helpful. Me too. It's so very valuable to read both the pros and the cons, as seen by previous readers rather than book critics. Thank you for your detail and your candour!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2009 17:50:09 BDT
OrganicGreen says:
I agree with JFrench. You have said the good and the bad. Also you have specified what the writer is trying to teach us. Being specific about the contents of the book allows me to see if there is anything new for me to learn from getting the book. Well done.

Posted on 20 Nov 2009 10:45:27 GMT
I agree too. Rave reviews are all very well, but i really like to see the pros AND cons before buying, since no book's perfect. it's reviews like yours that actually are the most helpful. thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jun 2011 20:47:07 BDT
bigflat says:
i'm inclined to agree with the reviewer. I'm up to page 60 and i haven't learned anything helpful so far. I prefer getting things done by david allen.

Posted on 13 Dec 2011 19:24:39 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 13 Dec 2011 19:28:28 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Dec 2011 19:27:42 GMT
thank you for the best advice I have ever been given in my life. A new Teacher at an Outstanding Special School , the pupils and team feel the benefit too!
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