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I just finished reading this book and WOW, what an eye opener, I've read a few books on Productivity and Time Management but nothing quite like this.hits the nail right on the head. Very well written with lots of great insight.
The best book I've read on time management. It's very practical with lots of time saving ideas. It's a book that I'll use as a reference tool for years to come. Laura also shows you a number of ways of how to gain more time in your day. Great book I highly recommend that you pick up a copy!
Ce livre contient des clés vraiment pratiques et facilement applicables. Les 6 étapes du Productivity Workflow Formula™ proposées sont claires et permettent véritablement de gagner du temps dans l'exécution de nos activités au quotidien.
5.0 out of 5 starsA 6-step programme for improving time management skills
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 January 2013
What To Do When There's Too Much To Do is sub-titled Reduce Tasks, Increase Results and Save 90 Minutes a Day. An attractive title if you're feeling over-worked, put upon and stretched thin! The book covers 6 steps to improving your time management skills to benefit your performance at work and enjoyment of life. It is written with our times - a recession where people are putting in longer hours just to hang on to their job - very firmly in mind.
The author calls this the Productivity Workflow Formula, or PWF:
- Step 1 - Reduce your to-do list (study your work requirements closely; triage your to-do list; and decide to do only what really matters)
- Step 2 - Reduce your obligations (assign time slots and durations appropriately; say no when appropriate; and control your meetings)
- Step 3 - Reduce your distractions (hone your concentration to razor sharpness; shut out distractions; and avoid multitasking)
- Step 4 - Reduce incoming information (process new information; research effectively; and quickly handle incoming email voicemail and paper)
- Step 5 - Reduce inefficiences (close the loop - determine what does and doesn't work; solve people problems and bottlenecks; and tighten up systems as you go)
- Step 6 - Reduce energy expenditures (manage your capacity; focus on the physical factors affecting your energy; and manage sleep, diet, and exercise)
There are no amazing insights, just a thorough, practical plan to work through, chapter by chapter. The advice is all common sense, but it helps that someone else has organised it in an accessible way when you don't have time to think about all the things yourself.
The author's website has links to various freebies. One item that looks useful is the free weekly webcast - one minute a week for 52 weeks, aimed at reinforcing the concepts in the book so you can gradually work towards saving your 90 minutes a day. There's also a helpful section on forming a reading group to work through the book with other like-minded people at weekly meetings over a couple of months.
However, some of the bonus material appears to be marketing for other authors. And, if that's not enough, at the back of the book there's a link to a companion online product - a workflow assessment - at an additional cost. I'm not sure how much my productivity will increase if I keep on getting new material to work through!
4.0 out of 5 starsEnergy and common-sense - with added value
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 April 2013
I really enjoyed this book by Laura Stack. I wasn't aware of her before, but I'd definitely look for her other books. She seems a human dynamo, and her personal energy comes off the page in waves. I felt encouraged by everything she said, and started to put her advice into practice even before finishing the book. It's revolutionised my working day. I still have too much to do, and I'm not leaving work any earlier, but everything feels much more in control!
Highlights for me were investing in an electronic 'To Do' list - I hadn't realised before how much negative energy there is in having an endless paper To Do list (or in my case, a To Do book) that feels massively long - even when you've done a task and crossed it out, it's still there on the list making the list look bulky and overwhelming, and it means you have to sift through the 'done' stuff to find the tasks that still need doing (which are sometimes hidden in between lots of crossed off items). Common sense, but I hadn't thought of changing to an electronic list. I'm so glad I did, because now when a task is done it disappears from immediate view (but is still accessible if necessary) and I have a much cleaner and shorter To Do list. I can also allocate tasks to future dates, which helps a lot.
I also really liked Stack's 6D principle. I don't always use every one of the 6, but knowing about them has helped me become a bit more ruthless with 'Discard' and 'Delegate'.
Finally, the NOT To Do list is also really useful. I use that a lot and it's helped me to be much more disciplined about the stuff I used to waste time doing.
I highly recommend this book, and will be dipping in to it regularly in the future.
3.0 out of 5 starsInteresting but not a lot of new information
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 April 2013
The good things first: the book is well-written and clearly-structured with important points highlighted and repeated as part of a summing-up at the end of each section. Plentiful examples help to make the author's points clear and her writing style is fluid and well-paced. There are also lots of good tips for maximising your time and productivity. However, many of these tips are fairly obvious and you might find yourself already doing them and not needing the book to tell you about them. Things like avoiding social networking sites if you have a lot of work to do or making lists which prioritise tasks that need to be completed first are probably things that most busy people already know, although a reminder can't hurt!
Another thing to note of is that the book seems to be aimed more at those in management; there is a lot of information about delegating tasks to others and not wasting your time doing them yourself - which most people, unless they have others to whom they can delegate and the authority to do so, cannot take advantage of. Points in a similar style include not arranging meetings unless they are absolutely essential and choosing which tasks you will take on and which you will refuse. (I don't know about you, but I know what my manager would have to say if I refused to do a task that she gave me, even if I did so politely as suggested by the author!). It is probably a useful book for a new manager, who is still getting their head around things like delegation, managing staff (and their own) time efficiently, and deciding when to have meetings and whom to invite; however, it's probably not that useful for the average minion out there, particularly if you have been busy for years, in which case you have probably already worked out strategies such as prioritising certain tasks and not wasting your time gossiping.
4.0 out of 5 starsA pleasant surprise, with some remarkably good pointers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 February 2013
I must confess to being wary of these productivity-boosting, mind-focusing, motivation-increasing self help guides. And, right on cue, there was the American, shoulder-padded, big-haired female author on the back cover about to take all under-achievers by the scruff of the neck and beat them into submission with an outsize portion of management speak and new age mumbo jumbo.
Well, I am not too big to admit when I get it slightly wrong. Laura Stack has written a book which does contain some very lucid and handy stratagems which could help any of us deal with our burgeoning workloads a lot better. Admittedly, there is the to-be-expected dollop of 'memorable' rules (the 6D approach: Discard, Delegate, Do, Date, Drawer, Defer) and she has set herself up in direct opposition to my old standby (the 'to do' list) which she sees as an exercise in yet more procrastination.
She adopts a somewhat draconian stance with in-office socialising (which admittedly can lead some to waste quite a bit of work time), though the 'no fraternisation' rule (other than online after work, physcially after work or on entering or leaving the building) is likely to cast you firmly in the role of social pariah - a lonely place to be even if you are clinging to your "Employee of the Month" sash.
Still, all in all, there are some valuable tips to pick up from this book, which it is claimed can save you 90 minutes per day. It is well written, easy to digest and doesn't patronise. Like all these things, I suggest you read it and apply what works for you in your workplace - unless of course you fancy inwardly digesting and applying ALL you have learnt (and presupposing that the position of office 'Gauleiter' is still available, of course!).
4.0 out of 5 starsPrioritising and enjoying your life
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 June 2013
Laura Stack tells us pretty early on that people (She is writing about American office workers but I suspect that Americans are having a big influence on anyone they work with) have 'defaulted to working long hours' and 'it is killing us'. Laura's book is aimed at getting you to think about what you do and making changes to get better results for working fewer hours.
The argument being that if you can deliver good results in a shorter time scale, you will be appreciated by the people you work with, go home on time or not too late and have a life outside the office.
In practice, if you have a lot of people doing very long hours in an office and you go home at 5:30pm every day and they want to ask you a question at 6:30pm, you can find you are in trouble with the office culture. Certainly the most cheerful examples in the book are where the Company's senior staff have got behind the idea of improving time management.
I liked the idea that with everything you get at work, the first question should be 'should I discard it?' the first of Laura's 6 Ds and also that if you get something small to do you should 'just do it' because dithering about it makes it a much bigger task.
Generally this book was very American-centric, which is fair enough Laura is American and working in the US Market. It may also be more useful depending what job you do. The advice seems sensible - like all time management books you need to read it and pick out what you think will help. I do like the basic premise that you need to look after yourself and have a life as well as work, so happy to give it 4 stars.