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The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: Achieve More Success with Less Stress: Foreword by Cal Newport, author of So Good They Can't Ignore You Hardcover – January 8, 2013
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About the Author
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E, a time-coaching and training company that empowers overwhelmed individuals to feel peaceful, confident, and accomplished through an exclusive Schedule Makeover coaching process and training programs. Stiletto Woman named Saunders one of the "Top 25 Amazing Women of the Year" and The Stevie Awards for Women in Business selected her as a finalist in the "Best Young Entrepreneur" category.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the core of the book are the three "secrets" that fundamentally extend common time management themes. Secret #1 is "Clarify Action-Based Priorities," which calls for moving beyond setting priorities to identifying, scheduling, and monitoring very specific actions (e.g., run three miles after work on Tuesday and Thursday). Inertia wins wherever there is ambiguity in your intentions... or in your calendar. Secret #2 is "Set Realistic Expectations," which exalts progress over perfection and especially over others' often misaligned expectations. This is an investment approach that builds success over time, not on the hope of a windfall. Secret #3 is "Strengthen Simple Routines." This takes the actions and expectations of #1 and #2 and makes them as automatic as possible by creating, practicing, and reinforcing habits. There is an entire chapter of "done-for-you" routines-everything from project planning to exercising, and from building relationships to buying groceries.
Now, back to thoughts and emotions. The real key to unlocking the three secrets is in understanding your personality and behaviors. From the outset, The 3 Secrets addresses the "crippling emotions" which prevent us from making progress. As it turns out, establishing a hierarchy of goals and neatly labeling file folders won't even come close to addressing the feelings of overwhelm, guilt, fear and frustration that often keep us from moving forward in a new direction. "Key Mental Shifts" are identified throughout the book which help to chart a custom course from negative to positive emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. And exercises at the end of each chapter reinforce the principles and their application. For me, this journaling made it a much more personalized and relevant learning experience. It certainly got me in touch with my time gremlins!
In my view, Elizabeth Saunders has created a first-class field guide for achieving "work-life brilliance." It succeeds at expanding and, more importantly, personalizing the principles of time management. For me, this has contributed to some breakthrough thinking, especially favoring progress and making incremental daily investments that are already beginning to compound. Among other improvements, I'm spending more time with my family, more time focused strategically and with my leadership team at work, more time exercising and eating right (I've lost 15 pounds!), I'm getting better sleep, and I'm finally blogging. All with more focus and calm. Okay, it's true that my email inbox could use considerably more investment right now, but there's a done-for-me routine for that too!
Your time is your life. If you're feeling more spent than invested, I recommend The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment to help you start taking it back.
What I loved most is how the book reveals the way "crippling emotions" sabotage our best intentions and diminish our motivation. The book is pragmatical and has an immediate approach on real life issues which I bet most of you face.
It ends with an interesting and revealing approach on time personalities: planner vs spontaneous, which I believe will reset many peoples' view on office/ home conflicts related to time & planning.
N-joy! And... take your time. It's worth it! :)
Approach - can't excel at everything:
Here's the secret: Your colleagues that perform with seemingly less effort have learned to recognize and excel in what really counts -- and to aim for less than perfect in everything else. In school, doing whatever it took to produce work at a level that would please teachers pays off. A great GPA gets rewarded with scholarships and job offers.
The rules changed in business. Doing A-work in everything limits success. One needs to focus more on one's strengths. I can achieve more success by fully leveraging my strengths instead of trying to shore up weaknesses. Realizing the importance of purposely deciding where I will invest more time and energy to produce stellar quality work and where less-than-perfect execution has a bigger payoff will provide more success and hence less stress.
In today's world of 24/7 access, frequent emails, and global business: no one has time for everything. Given the pace of work and the level of input in modern society, time management is dead. We can no longer fit everything in -- no matter how efficient we become. (This is what Saunders' book talks about).
If you can find the HBR article she wrote - read it first - and if it piques your interest, get the book. Otherwise - if you don't get anything out of her article - you won't like the book.