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Take Back Your Life!: Using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to Get Organized and Stay Organized Paperback – June 13, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Learn what thousands of people worldwide have discovered about taking control of their everyday productivity, and start transforming your own life today! Includes a tear-out poster of the proven McGhee Productivity Solutions Workflow Model suitable for keeping right next to your desk, as well as free access to MPS's supporting on-demand webinar.

About the Author

A recognized thought leader and innovator in the field of productivity management, Sally McGhee has trained thousands of people in the corporate environment. She has more than 25 years experience as a consultant and an executive coach, and is the founder and CEO of McGhee Productivity Solutions.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (June 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735623430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735623439
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a disorganized mess. My desk was piles and piles of clutter and things (important, time sensitive materials) got lost! It took me about a good year to get where I am now. I started with Michael Linenberger's Total Workday Control. Not a good place to start so I tried David Allen's book 'Getting Things Done'. It was a great start and gave me foundation. I then moved on to Sally McGhee's book Take Back Your Life! for Outlook 2003. Awesome! That helped me integrate everything into my real world computer life. Then I went back and reread Michael Linenberger's Total Workday Control, which now made a lot more sense and I used some of his ideas to create a 'custom' system for myself.
Finally, I bought this updated book of Sally McGhee's because I am using Outlook 2007 now. The material is basically the same, but tuned for Outlook 2007.

Now some people claim this book is a rip off of David Allen's book or that these books are all the same or they are boring. YES! and NO!

What you have to realize is that there are several ways of getting things done. All roads lead to Rome. I prefer the Sally McGhee method because it does not depend upon a plugin or extra software. It works with Outlook the way it is when you buy it and her methods translate over to my desk at home and work and since I am on the road...in my car. YES, the material is dry at times but so is work! lol

David Allen offers custom software as an add in for Outlook 2003 and 2007 that is Windows XP and Vista compatible and his extra software will cost you an EXTRA $70 folks! This could be very nice and efficient for some people. yet, there is a downside...the plug in only works with Outlook. If you use another email client, you have nothing.
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Format: Paperback
As I mentioned in my review of Take Back Your Life (TBYL) Special Edition, this book is a derivative work - basically a loosely-gathered compilation of ideas and techniques ranging from David Allen to Stephen Covey. It may be useful for people looking for a friendly, lightweight, introductory text to personal information management (PIM) centered on Outlook.

Since I was disappointed with the first edition, I sat down with this new edition to see if there were any improvements. I will say that a major flaw of first edition, the glaring lack of information concerning Meaningful Objectives (a core part of the system), has been addressed in this edition. This is handled by demoting Meaningful Objectives and adding something called Unifying Goals, which themselves are supported by Areas of Focus. Meaningful Objectives now roll up to Areas of Focus, which in turn support Unifying Goals.

This is certainly an improvement and perhaps it will be useful to you. However, the book does a poor job of helping you define any of these things, so the system kind of collapses under its own weight, in my opinion.

Other than this, and some other updates required because the authors are now working in Outlook 2007, the book is largely unchanged. Therefore, my opinion is largely unchanged. TBYL is a chatty volume with a low signal-to-noise ratio and a variety of vignettes designed to "humanize" the material. More often, they come across like testimonials and contribute more to padding the book than illustrating the point. TBYL also has the irritating habit of taking simple, workable terms (like those from GTD) and renaming them as part of the author's proprietary system.
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Format: Paperback
Updated review...Perhaps I am a bit of a dinosaur. It has been two years since I have been using the system and I have recently had a job change. After only 2 months, I found I needed to revisit the basic principles presented by this book. A new office, a new boss, a new computer system and an entirely new group of people seeking to use my skills. I found I needed to completely revamp my meaningful objectives. The reminder was timely. The organizational structure sound. In a single week, I went from mudding about answering every question posed to back on track.

This is clearly is not the answer every person is looking for but if you have been casting about looking for a way to logically approach the massive crush of requirements, taskings and information flow weighting you down each day, I can confirm. This works! It is not magic. It requires work, but it does produce results...

Last comment... this is not the "latest and greatest" but it is a sound methodology. I have applied the exact same principles to a new system and found success.

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This is a better book then first glance would tell you. I have had my copy for 6 months. for 5 of those I looked it over... skipped about and gradually convinced myself that I didn't need the "help" and "solutions" offered. Then I had a major job crisis that forced me to face the fact that my "organization" system didn't work. I had lost one too many threads on my professional life. I was finally ready to face that a change was needed. I forced myself to read the book since I had already spent good money on it.

I could not be more pleased. Yes, it is work. It is time consuming and it isn't easy.
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