Saturday, October 02, 2010

Book Review: "9 Steps to Work Less and Do More"

TITLE: 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More
AUTHOR: Stever Robbins
PUBLISHED: NY: St Martin's Press, 2010

Get-It-Done Guy's 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More (Quick & Dirty Tips)This is a surprise find. It is an organizing gem. I had initially thought that how can anyone better the phenomenal success of "Getting Things Done" by time management guru, David Allen. Stever Robbins new book comes close, and in some areas better than Allen's version. Here's why this Get-It-Done-Guy blows me away.

What the Book is About?
The premise of the book is that it is POSSIBLE to get more things done in less time. Using 9 steps to help one use their time and limited resources better, Robbins provides 9 extremely practical and helpful tips. They are:
  1. Live on Purpose;
  2. Stop Procrastinating;
  3. Conquer Technology;
  4. Beat Distractions to Cultivate Focus;
  5. Stay Organized;
  6. Stop Wasting Time;
  7. Optimize;
  8. Build Stronger Relationships;
  9. Leverage.
Robbins makes a helpful summary at the end of each chapter, after giving lots of constructive advice in each chapter. There is a gradual movement from self-management to working with other people. The process of improvement builds up on the earlier steps, which is why learning the steps are best done chronologically, though the busy reader can jump in and out of the chapters depending on the needs. In a nutshell, the author is simply trying to convey the message that more things can be done, when we organize our own lives in the first place.

My Comments
I find the book highly readable and practical. The wit and humor in it makes the mundane process of organizing and getting our work done in a more fun manner. I could not help underlining many pages which speak to me at first read. I love the part about technology and aspect of focusing. I am a writer, and the examples he uses are so relevant and applicable, like breaking down writing into 3 different tasks: creating, editing and formatting. (No wonder I get all kinds of writers' block as I tend to mix these tasks up!) I can feel the energy and the excitement of the author oozing through the pages of the book. The other aspect about organizing forces me to make difficult decisions about keeping and throwing staff away. How easy it is to accumulate staff, and difficult to simply get rid of them.

There are two criticisms I have. Firstly, it is the long unwieldy title. It makes recommending the book a mouthful. In fact, the book should be retitled into something like "Streamlining Your Life," or "Quickly Done," or "Get More Done Fast." Keep the title as the subtitle instead. The second critique is a little more philosophical. Personally, I feel that using 'working less' as a catch-all for productivity is incomplete. I prefer working 'well' for there are certain things in life that cannot be reduced quantitatively. For example, how can we 'work less' on matters pertaining to someone who is ill. Can we rush his/her recovery? Often, it is more appropriate to work well rather than to work less. Moreover, when work becomes enjoyable, will we be wanting to work 'less?' This book is so practical that the suggestions can be immediately applied to most of our situations.

These two critiques aside, this book ought to be on the bookshelves of anyone who calls themselves busy, disorganized or addicted to things like technology. It could very well be a life saver! My conclusion: If you struggling to manage your own time and activities, of organizing the things in your life, and if you have only enough time to read one book, pick this book up. Invest in it. You will not regret it.

I am glad to review this book. Be warned. This book is not for bedtime reading. It makes you want to get up and simply get things done.

conrade

"Book has been provided courtesy of St Martin's Press, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

2 comments:

Ian Whitley said...

Stever has some good things to say in his book. He looks at things that most of us struggle with at times and works through them adding his unique sense of humor.

YAPdates said...

Ian,
I couldn't have agreed more. Thanks for your comment.

c

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