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What To Do When There's Too Much To Do: Reduce Tasks, Increase Results, and Save 90 Minutes a Day Paperback – July 2, 2012
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“This book will give you the tools you need as a leader to get more done yourself and through others. Laura Stack really is ‘the Productivity Pro.’”
—Mark Sanborn, President, Sanborn & Associates, Inc., and author of You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader
“Stack has captured in this book what those select few great leaders know: you cannot strategize your way to greatness. You execute your way there! A must-read for anyone who wants better results!”
—Peter Sheahan, President, ChangeLabs
“A how-to for leaders who are serious about results. Make time to read this book—then thank Laura for all the time you save on future projects!”
—Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive
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I just wasn't that impressed with this book in particular.
One of the few points that seemed to be the best, "choicest morsels", are found on pages 43 and 146, which all of us can appreciate...
Page 43 reads, "Establish daily routines for common work tasks, such as checking e-mail or organizing your day. This allows you to make fewer decisions, reducing your energy expenditure."
..Page 146, "When you have no choice to overwork yourself, try to do so in short bursts separated by longer periods of normal work - or rest... Otherwise your productivity will diminish sharply."
The forward is excellent and the story behind the book is compelling, but what didn't impress me is the fact that it's too conceptual in nature and doesn't deliver much in the way of a thinking process, behind the actual practice of time management.
The one factor that would have impressed me most, is if the book held to the (1) theme and (2) promise of linking back to 'increased results and saving 90 minuted per day.'
These two points were found maybe a few times over the course of 166 pages.
Maybe I just need to go back and re-read the book one more time, drawing out some of the more finer points I may have missed.
"Time Power" by Brian Tracy and "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is more of my cup of tea, and highly recommended for any who have made it this far, reading my long winded review of Laura Stack's explanation of time management and productivity.
I also agree that the principal of doing one thing at a time and doing it well is something we could all stand to do better. Multitasking is not the greatest productivity aide ever. Rather the opposite.
This part was written especially for me and my email process:
"Indecision. We don't determine whether tasks are in or out or even relevant or not, so we leave them on our lists, which causes us to have to repeat the evaluation process again-- putting them back into our `decide later' consciousness, lengthening our to-do lists, filling our inboxes, and expanding our perceptions of how much we have to do."
Also, I actually did this with my boss, and it was enlightening:
"If you made a list of the top ten things you believe you're responsible for, and then asked your manager to do the same, and compared the two lists, would they be the same? If not, you have a problem, because you aren't spending your time in ways that are valuable to your best customer."
HOWEVER. I thought it was catastrophically judgy about attention span. Stack assumes that people can just bear down and work, and that this is a matter of willpower. Those of us on the ADD spectrum, who get in a guilt loop about trouble Just Focusing, are ill-served by this attitude.
On the bright side, I had one datapoint confirming my theory that I would be made less irritated by a productivity book written by a woman than the ones written by men.
Read if: You are looking to become an Outlook ninja. You like the idea of recapturing time leaks.
Skip if: You can't deal with "just focus" advice. You are not working a desk/computer job.
Also read: Watership Down, my favorite book on leadership.
The process is very similar to the David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology. She even references the "Tickler File" that I've only ever seen in David Allen's book. At no point in the book, however, did she mention David or the GTD methodology. Considering that GTD came out in 2001, and this book in 2010, it appears that her 6D's methodology a copy of GTD. There is one improvement though, calling the "waiting" or "pending" file as a "date" file, so you get to that file when a date has reached.
She often talks about using MS Outlook for organising To Do's and email, which is fine if you use that, but I've turned my back on Outlook a long time ago, and have never looked back.
The last chapter touched on lots of other tips such as exercise and sleep, but stops short of saying why.
On the whole, it was okay. It's a good primer if you are now getting into productivity. If you've never heard of GTD or David Allen you would definitely get more value from this book than I did.