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Monday, September 21, 2009

Time Management Book Not For Desperate Housewives

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Between my home, my family, church duties, blogging, volunteering and everything else, I've got a lot going on. Like most desperate housewives (desperate for more sleep and more hours in the day, that is) I can use all the advice on time management I can get. Unfortunately, not every principle used in the corporate world transfers to household management; otherwise, I would have found Nicolas Soergel's Happy About An Extra Hour Every Day much more helpful. Not that I didn't get any new ideas. I did. Overall, though, the book's designed for career people, who will no doubt find it much more useful than I did.

Soergel, who has been a successful businessman for many years, insists that by using time more efficiently we can all make better use of the 24 hours/1,440 minutes/86,400 seconds we're given each day. He encourages us to "spend time as consciously as you spend money" (3). How, exactly do we do this? Soergel gives us the usual advice: Get up early, so that you can work when it's quiet and you're less likely to be interrupted; Tackle difficult tasks first; Avoid procrastination; Watch less tv; Keep your desk clean and organized; Reduce clutter; etc. He's also got a few unorthodox solutions such as ridding your desk of "decoration" (i.e. framed photographs, personal books, etc.); eliminating the use of Post-It notes; programming your mouse so that you can single-click instead of double-click, etc. Soergel also addresses sticky situations like how to deal with a boss who's constantly interrupting your work; how to get chatty people off the phone; and how to configure your office in a way that maximizes efforts and minimizes unwanted visitors.

Not all of Soergel's suggestions deal exclusively with the corporate world. In the chapter titled "How to Save Time at Home," he discusses standard strategies such as decluttering, creating a cleaning schedule, planning weekly meals, taking a Polaroid of shoes to glue on the outside of shoeboxes, etc. A couple struck me as funny: He encourages readers to reduce primping time by keeping hair short and "us[ing] a decent color for your nails" (34). I did learn a few things, but I'd heard most of it before.

The biggest thing Happy About An Extra Hour Every Day has going for it is that it's a fast, easy read. It's not particularly engaging or well-written, but it does move right along. It also has some excellent links (I especially like, which Soergel recommends for list-making). I do wish the book was more focused, more upbeat, and better edited, but all in all, it's not bad. Most of it wasn't really relevant for me, but business people should find it helpful.

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: G, but man, would it be boring!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting! I have an award for you! I haven't figured out how to do links in the comment section so below is the link...


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