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Time Management Made (Stupidly) Easy: A Modestly Simple Guide to Time Management Kindle Edition
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Clarke emphasizes that the specifics of your day-to-day (or rather, your minute-to-minute) are where you can affect major change in your life. Unlike some self-help books, which focus on the distant future and require you to wade through abstract theories, this book teaches you how to fix your time management problems NOW in order to reach your long term goals.
These easy hacks and actionable techniques allow you to efficiently prioritize, plan, organize, delegate, automate, and free yourself from distractions. In doing so, you can take control your valuable time, and take control your life.
The author also throws you a bone and helps you out at the end of each chapter with a list of the main takeaways, what he calls "action steps", he just covered. It's helpful to see all this stuff in review as an easy reminder of what to really focus on. Time Management can actually be pretty fun when you get the hang of it, but it's easy to get bogged down in all the little details and miss the bigger goals. I read this book on my smartphone with the Kindle app and it was perfect for me--you can easily get through a chapter at a time when you have 10-15 minutes to spare. And if you're reading the book for the purposes of Time Management, you're probably already aware that those 10-15 minutes are precious.
Where Clarke excels is in taking well-trodden advice and making it into achievable steps for anyone from the inherently compulsive to the jes’ plain lazy. An excellent chapter on when and how to outsource help will be of interest to entrepreneurs. A bonus chapter covers workspace organization which, of course, relates hand-and-glove to time management. Manual and technological solutions are presented.
Short of putting time in a bottle, Clarke has laid out in this brief book a set of manageable ideas to achieve more and then to enjoy the fruits of a longer life.
So here’s a new one that’s hilarious—and immensely helpful. Funny, very funny—yet fresh (even though we’ve all read our fair share of time management books). This one is different—and here are my Top-10 Take-Aways:
#1. Honest—ideas on every page.
Pick any page, and you’ll get a new idea or be reminded of a big idea you’ve neglected. Example: On page 14 (“Brain Hack #2”), you’ll learn how to create your “Daily Three” list—tasks that must be done before lunch. Brilliant (and so satisfying).
#2. Delete distractions.
Oh, my. He excels at really, really practical ways to focus. He claims: “…this one strategy alone has increased my productivity by at least 300%. (And doesn’t require a single six-pack of Diet Mountain Dew.)” He’s a fan of the Pomodoro Method (google it) because:
--“The average worker checks their email 30 times an hour.”
--“The average worker checks their smartphone 150 times a day.”
--“The average worker’s length of uninterrupted focus is eight minutes.”
#3. A 2017 Update on Delegating.
The old time management books we’ve read don’t mention “virtual assistants” (because…well, you know why). Clarke’s chapter five—on how to delegate important (but boring) stuff—is fantastic! His three “streamlining secrets” list what you should and should not delegate to VAs. He notes, “Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re not AMAZING at everything”—so you must delegate more to virtual assistants.
Maybe you’re really good at the ABCs of time management, but stink at the XYZs? Clarke points you to innovative resources, like Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business, by Chris Ducker—“a deep-dive into how to off-load 90 percent of your workload to virtual assistants.”
#5. Try a VA trial test.
The author knows us too well! “We’re wired to see a problem and decide the only solution must be ‘another two hours of work.’” The solution: create one task (just one!) this week and delegate it to a virtual assistant (he lists sources). Then “slowly add ONE task each week” until you’re comfortable with using a VA. Brilliant!
#6. Fire your living room!
If you work at home (and who doesn’t?), Clarke says your desk (not a typo), your kitchen counter, your bedside table, and your living room are inappropriate buckets for your work stuff. Solution: create focused collection buckets (or “gathering points”) for stuff: The Weekly Box, The Big Tub, and the Day Planner/Padfolio, plus four other “Collection Buckets of Awesomeness.” Nice! He explains this radical, get-organized approach in just three short pages.
#7. The perfect schedule for imperfect people.
Chapter 4 delivers very, very simple ideas on planning your day (and week and month)—but not with the stern perfectionista glares of most authors. Brilliant exercise: “Create a ‘perfect day of work,’ your 1-page, 1st-person perspective of your dream working day.”
#8. The author is one of us—and a funny one at that. I think I resonated more with this book (and read more funny paragraphs to my wife) because his casual writing approach invites us in. Discussing how you spend your time now (Chapter 1): “Time tracking is not about making you feel bad. There are plenty of other tools for that. Your Facebook feed. Phone calls with your mother.” He gives four ways to track your time (from paper systems to new apps).
#9. Best ideas come by NOT working so hard. The author quotes Einstein who asked, “Why is it I always get my best ideas while shaving?” He builds a strong case explaining how effective time management will breathe time into your life for R&R and other pursuits—and why your work will benefit. Brilliant.
#10. Picture your future. Every page is profoundly practical—and his ideas (never-read-this-before) for creating a photo gallery of your big five life pursuits are do-able! But, he lets us off the hook with this: “I made this optional because, well most people won’t do it.” That got me revved up! So he delivers fun ideas for picturing five areas where you’ll invest your new-found time. Brilliant.
Sorry—but I gotta stop (now that I’m focused on time management). Otherwise, I could have given you a Top-50 list. Really (and the book is less than 150 pages).
#11. Bonus: Five Email Sanity Steps. (OK…one more!) “Every SINGLE email sent to you should have some form of automated response.” Clarke’s five “sanity steps” may be the best deliverable for you. Dozens of ideas over 10 pages.
I’m guessing this will be on my Top-10 books for 2017.
Most recent customer reviews
Yet I am always on the look out for new methods and tools to help me master my relationship with time.Read more
Time Management Made (Stupidly) Easy, a modestly simple guide to time management
by Michael Clarke
This is a breezy and accessible introduction to and synthesis of a lot of the things people have written on time management...Read more
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