Great little short ebook on the economics and stagnation in our economy because of technological advances. I'm now ordering their new book which comes...moreGreat little short ebook on the economics and stagnation in our economy because of technological advances. I'm now ordering their new book which comes out next month and continues the theme.
I have read the book 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris a number of times because it has some good tips in it about being effectively productive. But...moreI have read the book 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris a number of times because it has some good tips in it about being effectively productive. But it is also not a very practical book--for instance, I'm not planning on quitting my job anytime soon to take up Argentinean dance nor do I want to completely outsource my life. I also don't have the luxury of focusing completely on one to two things at the expense of everything else I have in my life (like my child). I've read a number of his other books, I'm still a fan, but I regard him as bit of a flim-flam man or a snake oil salesman. His own attention span is short and his work (and writing) is somewhat sloppy, so I continue to dip into his works looking for little nuggets that help.
I am also not a believer in David Allen's Getting Things Done. Blech. Any time I've tried his system I end up with a todo list that is a mile long and so overwhelming as to not be effective at all.
Over the years I've cobbled my own system by setting my goals and priorities ala Covey's First Things First, and a bit of the Pomodoro method thrown in, with a smaller focused "three things that have to be done today" todo list.
Now comes Robertt C. Pozen's book, Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results and Reduce Your Hours. As someone who has read every productivity book out there, this one is a winner. In some ways, Pozen even has some of the same ideas as Ferris...such as excusing yourself from pointless meetings or focusing your talents toward the 20% of Pareto's law for maximum return. But Pozen isn't a snake oil salesman--he is someone extremely accomplished--Harvard Business School Professor, Chairman at Fidelity, maker of Public Policy...and author of numerous books. He is very practical and his productivity is so that he can accomplish more and do it effectively. He also doesn't have you create endless todo lists. I like his focus on figuring out what you do best, do it, and delegating the rest.
I like this book very much--he spends the requisite amount of time on setting goals and priorities, but then the rest of the book has specifics...like how to read faster and how to write more effectively, then there are chapters that have great advice for planning your overall career. I also liked that Pozen addresses the homefront as well as career finding yourself a stay-at-home spouse or a quality support system. And for someone that you might expect to be a bit old-school, I like that Pozen has embraced the flexible workplace.(less)
I wanted to like this book because I think the topic of critical thinking is so important. But the chief metaphor the author used--that we are filling...moreI wanted to like this book because I think the topic of critical thinking is so important. But the chief metaphor the author used--that we are filling ourselves full of empty information much as we have filled ourselves full of empty calories--was overused. And ironically for the book suggesting we learn to go directly to the "source" seemed a little light on references. I blame the development editor (or lack thereof) for some structure issues with the book.
But having said that, there are some good resources in the book. I liked the list of websites you should pay attention to--the Khan Academy, TED and Kickstarter. In fact, the information in the appendices should have been at the forefront of the book.
The author also drops in some productivity hints when reading information and media--and suggests that you wean yourself off of the "technology" distractions by working in five minute increments and with one minute breaks. Wow! Five minutes!!! I'm a master multi-tasker and have a short attention span, but really five minutes! I recommend at least starting with twenty and work it up to hours.
I recommend this over the GTD system. I've tried the GTD system many times and just ended up hating my long to do list which never ended. With this, B...moreI recommend this over the GTD system. I've tried the GTD system many times and just ended up hating my long to do list which never ended. With this, Babauta has you focus on a few projects at a time--to completion. He also gives advice on how to focus and how to be mindful of what you are doing. (less)
I’m always conscious of time—and I envy creative people like musicians, writers and artists who can place themselves in the flow and losethemselves. I...moreI’m always conscious of time—and I envy creative people like musicians, writers and artists who can place themselves in the flow and losethemselves. I envy them because I so rarely get there myself. But I’ve been trying. See, I have a problem with time management. Not that I’m disorganized but I’m always trying to fit more in so I can do it all. As a result I’ve read probably every time management book under the sun. In the eighties I had my Time Planner, and now I live by my todo lists, and weekly, quarterly and annual goals. I’ve learned to be efficient and I’m always looking for ways to cut corners on the things that don’t matter to me so I can spend more time on the things that do.
So I’ve really been looking forward to reading In Praise of Slowness because I am the target demographic. A number of years ago I read John de Graff’s book Take Back Your Time and it changed my life. It opened my eyes to how we overwork ourselves in the United States. One of my favorite posters on his organization’s site is a cartoon that says, “Medieval Peasants Worked Less Than You Do.” I even attended one of their conferences. It was right after the economy crashed and they were struggling with how we could possibly get a minimum vacation law passed now. How sad!
In Praise of Slowness is a great book. It focuses on the Slow movement started in Italy and profiles areas where people are deciding enough is enough, work isn’t all there is, and it is time to get off the treadmill and enjoy life. The author, Carl Honore profiles ways people are taking back their lives through and choosing a more leisurely route through food, urban planning, mind/body, medicine, sex, work, leisure, and the over scheduled child.
I’m not exactly about to start cooking several hours a day, but I’ll be glad to eat any meals my friends choose to make and spend an evening with them. In fact, I did that last Friday. I went to a friend’s house and I made a new salad recipe while she and her partner bbqed. We drank wine while the kids went crazy running around the backyard. I left with a full belly and my kid fell asleep in the car on the way home. I need more nights like that. And that is something I’m working on—I’m currently working on building my support network in the real world and making more time for friends and family.
If you think your life is stressful and there isn’t enough time in the day, then please read this book. Pick an area or two, and then focus on how you can slow down. (And if you choose food, please invite me over). Then read de Graaf’s book Take Back Your Time and look for how we can change the work world to make it better. And then learn how to stop being a slave to technology by reading Be Excellent at Everything. (less)