51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2005
I've long been a fan of Julie Morgenstern . . . her other books, ORGANIZING FROM THE INSIDE OUT and TIME MANAGEMENT FORM THE INSIDE OUT, had a big impact on me--and contained much useful information that I still use.
So it was with great anticipation that I obtained and devoured her latest, MAKING WORK WORK . . . it did not disappoint!
Morgenstern presents ideas and suggestions that apply to just about any situation . . . what she writes may sound basic, but it is the type thing that you need to read more than once . . . then begin to use.
For example, she urges you to begin conversations with:
"What can I do for you?" not "How are you?" As she notes:
"How are you?" is an open invitation to chat and warm up. "What can I do for you?" immediately focuses your interrupter on getting straight to the point. It's professional and gets you both down to business. This enables you to handle the interruption in the least amount of time possible.
There were several other memorable passages; among them:
The only real chance you have at choosing the most important tasks begins with keeping a complete list of everything you need to do in one place. After all, prioritizing is a matter of relativity--the true question is, What's most important in relation to the other things on your list? Taken one item at a time, everything can mask itself as a critical task.
Control Lateness: Use odd start times, such as 27 or 41 minutes after the hour, to control lateness. People are far less likely to be late for a meeting that starts at 11:27 than one at 11:30. Designate an official timekeeper to watch the clock for every meeting, and rotate that role among attendees. It's their responsibility to regulate the meeting so it doesn't go overtime, and they'll have an invested interest in doing a good job-they could be on the other side of the clock the next time around.
Change "but" to "and." What a difference a word makes, implying a can-do, take-charge approach to problems rather than an argument. For example, a client tells you they want to bring the budget down. Instead of saying, "But that's going to compromise quality," try saying, "Okay, and that's likely to compromise quality. Where would you be most comfortable shaving costs?" Or you boss asks you to have something on his desk in two hours. Instead of saying, "But then I won't be able to meet tomorrow's deadline," try, "Okay, and if I need to do that, what should I do about tomorrow's deadline? Can someone else finish it off?" Focus on solutions, not obstacles.
49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
As a career consultant, I often find myself frustrated with mindless career advice. So it's a treat to open this book and find some truly original ideas that I can recommend to my clients and ezine readers. And, amazingly, Morgenstern's book will be appropriate to a variety of readers and career stages. It's not just for entry-level beginners or senior vice presidents. We can all read and learn here.
Happiness, says Morgenstern, means "liking what you're doing and being good at it, feeling connected, in control, successful and balanced." Now there's a realistic definition that we can work with!
I like Morgenstern's listing of nine competencies. Most are straightforward and you're heard some before, but they're presented insightfully. For instance, "organize at the speed of change" and develop an "entrepreneurial mindset" have become essential in today's world; you probably know you need to delegate and work well with others, but we can never hear this message too often.
Perhaps the most striking insight is, "Sometimes it's not you! Sometimes it's them holding you back." In working with live clients, I find that identifying this difference can be key to long-term career success, not to mention santiy.
Other messages I support wholeheartedly: "Your personal life is an investment in your work."
"Try neglecting one small task." (So true! Often nobody notices even when you neglect the big tasks!)
"Own your career so you're not a victim."
This book's layout could be more visually appealing; it's not the author's fault, but the pages sometimes seem crowded. However, it's worth digging. I will be recommending this book on my ezine page and will encourage many of my clients to give themselves this book as a gift.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2004
We spend a lot of time, a lot of our lives working. As such it makes sense to progress at work, get as much out of your job as you can, and above all else to enjoy working so that you are not spending so much time in an unplesant atmosphere.
At first glance this book appears oriented to the female employee. As you read it, it is just as applicable to the male worker. The techniques, hints and tips are not gender specific. Most of them are oriented around work, but there is a chapter on the work/life balance. You don't want to grow older wondering where your life went. As the old saying goes, no one would want their tombstone to to read -- I should have spent more time at work.
The book is filled with short and direct tips that say do this one thing. Later you can move to the next step having accomplished the first step.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2007
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This CD complements the book of the same title and is changing my life. Julie Morgenstern has taken me from someone that can't find anything in the mess to someone that can clean the whole house in 20 minutes with her book "Organizing from the Inside Out". Now she is helping me release that person that can't get anything done to someone that accomplishes the most important things daily with her book "Making Work Work". I cannot express my thanks appropriately. The words are not in the dictionary.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Typically, the mentoring process is a two-way dialogue that takes place over lunch, in the gym or on the phone. But author Julie Morgenstern changes the traditional mentoring model. Speaking out from the printed page, she mentors by remote. Morgenstern offers useful career guidance and concise tips, organized as concrete "Grab and Go Strategies." Her colorful examples, logical chapter summaries and chatty case histories make her book outstanding. Occasionally, her advice is repetitive, but overall it's hard to find fault, because she is so clearly smart, thoughtful and on your side. We recommend this mentor's manual to every professional, including the overworked, self-employed and underemployed.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'm a fan of Julie Morgenstern, who issued updated versions of her first two books. I think it's time she updated this one, too. Her advice is generally good, but the workplace has changed considerably since 2004. Far more people are either unemployed, underemployed, working multiple jobs, or working as consultants. When the author suggests delegating tasks and focuses on a work/life balance, the reality is that many, if not most, employees no longer have the option of delegating, cutting back or even speaking up. Everyone is being squeezed to work harder and longer. More pragmatic advice, such as how to organize your time and space, comes straight from her first two books, both of which I highly recommend. This book is mostly interesting for the ways it helps you realize which obstacles are caused by you, which ones are external, and which are a combination of internal and external. Some of her advice on handling email makes sense, but this book was written before the flood of instant messaging, online chat, same time and parallel play and other interruptions to your workflow. I would be interested in learning what she might recommend in today's workplace, where telecommuting is also very common. But, if you're on a budget, you can get most of the information from this book out of her first two, and I'd recommend those first.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2006
Although the title of this book suggests that the content is purely work related, it is very helpful if you want to learn how to balance your personal and work life. The most helpful part of the book for me was "Control the Nibblers." I was able to recognize my blind spots, then after figuring out my top three time wasters and biggest interruptions, I implemented the author's helpful recommendations. I have also implemented her suggestions about organizing meetings with considerable success. I certainly recommend this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2009
Where do I begin? Julie Morgenstern has included so much great information, every business owner, employee, or someone interested in getting back into the workforce should read this! There is every area covered from work stress-prioritizing-working with others, its all there! I loved that she began with work/life balance. It is so easy to get caught up in work that you forget about yourself outside of the job. I think that once you accomplish the balance, more things will fall into place much easier and you will be much happier. Thanks Julie for such an amazing book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As a systems development coach, I read A LOT of "self-help" books to recommend for specific client struggles. I am a Morgenstern fan, but never picked up this particular book until recently. It's a bit different in approach from some of the others - which is the main reason I recommend it.
After a bit of introduction, she sorts "getting it all done while maintaining life balance" into categories handled in sections, so you don't have to read the entire book to get value from your purchase. It is peppered with client examples (and a few of her own, that I would like to have seen MORE of) - so it is a no-brainer to relate the content to the problem. You can also skip around and everything still makes sense.
But what is fairly unique is her "them or me?" approach - recognizing that what WE do is not *always* the primary source of productivity struggles. Some of us who work for others could even be organizing and time-management mavens, but we get trapped in *their* less-than-optimal policies and procedures, and our productivity TANKS unless we put in additional hours (and then our personal life tanks).
THEN there is the dance of the down-sizing that has left most employees with more job accountabilities with less admin-support - so we all have many elements of "administrivia" that eat into the time to actually get any real WORK done. As technology marches on and old systems die in the market-share battles, we ALL struggle to remain current so we can continue to get work done AT ALL.
It is all too easy for even the "best" of us to become overwhelmed with the glut of increased expectations, frequently left wondering if we've lost our edge - with no idea how to climb back out of the hole and feel good about life (and work) again.
She goes beyond the typical "get your boss to prioritize your work" advice.
As she continuously points out, nobody can do it ALL, yet prioritizing must satisfy your company's key objectives if you intend to have any job satisfaction, positive employee reviews - or survive the next round of employee cuts. She makes the link between what maybe USED to work for you and what you need to do differently NOW very nicely, in what the coaching field calls a "charge-neutral" fashion (no finger-pointing anywhere - simply a problem to solve).
And she does NOT make you feel like a dolt by writing in that supposedly-motivating self-help voice that seems to ignore the reality that changing the way you function is not a quick or simple fix!
As with ALL "tips and tricks" books, not everything will be new info, not all will be relevant to YOUR situation, and not all will work for your processing style or the needs of YOUR office environment. She tackles a few "Yes, buts" throughout the book as well (same caveats apply).
I believe there is enough that WILL be useful in this book for almost anyone who's attracted to the title to begin with to conclude that it has been well-worth the purchase price, even if you have to put "read book" in chunks on an over-full calendar (you can do that with this book, btw)
For those of you who have NEVER had a very solid handle on how to do your job and still have any sort of a life worth living, this might be your miracle book. Read ready to underline! Even better, enroll a buddy to go through it WITH you -- a friend or colleague with a similar struggle, or hire a coach -- so you actually DO some of what she suggests. (That's MY plan, btw, even though I work for myself and AM a coach - even GREAT dentists don't drill their own teeth!)
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
- ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder -
ADDandSoMuchMore dot com
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2006
Just what I needed in the nick of time. As with all useful popular psychology books, its efficacy is in the reader making an effort to follow through with a plan, and Morgenstern inspires me to do just that. I especially appreciated her quickstart program. Saving the procrastination-potential reading until I've got a handle on some of my clutter--in both time and space! Speaking of which, being as visual as I am, I especially appreciated her sketch/analogy representing the inside of a (my) closet as it aligns with the inside of a (my) calendar! They look the same. If I can organize my closet in space, I can organize my calendar in time!