Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category

The 5 ChoicesAs the demands of work and home life continue to escalate, people are feeling more overextended, overwhelmed, and overstressed than ever before. However, at the same time, people want to be more meaningfully productive and live personally fulfilling lives. In The 5 Choices, Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill, and Leena Rinne explain how extraordinary productivity and personal fulfillment is attainable for everyone—it just requires making the right choices when it comes to managing decisions, attention, and energy. The authors present a matrixed and logical process for choosing, on an ongoing basis, how and where to best spend one’s time and attention in order to create a productive and fulfilled life.

According to the authors:

  • Anyone can do extraordinary work. Every person has unique gifts, skills, and talents he or she brings to the table. By making the right decisions about which activities to focus attention on and ensuring energy is expended and replenished appropriately, those gifts, skills, and talents can be maximized for extraordinary results.
  • Being extraordinarily productive is both easier and harder than ever before. In the high-tech information age, individuals have more opportunities than ever to make significant contributions in their work lives. However, the information age also brings with it a constant barrage of demands that can distract them from getting the most important work done.
  • Do more by doing less. Being busy is often confused with being productive. By focusing efforts on the truly important things, individuals can do less overall while ultimately achieving more.
  • People can change their brains. The brain is capable of both reactive (automatic) decision making and proactive(thought-based) decision making. By becoming more conscious and less automatic in decision making, people can change their brains to be more thoughtful on an ongoing basis, which leads to better choices in the long term.
  • Do not just think–do! Thinking about making life changes is well and good, but without a developed plan for executing these changes, they are nothing more than wishful thinking. Extraordinary productivity requires a plan, a schedule, and follow-through.
  • Technology is both a blessing and a curse. Technology has the capability to make life much easier by streamlining processes, enhancing communication, and creating new opportunities. However, it can also be distracting, intrusive, and a time waster if not used properly. The goal is to rule technology rather than be ruled by it.
  • Manage energy, not time. There are myriad time management systems to help people make better use of their time. The problem is that time is finite. It makes better sense to manage energy by continually using it and replenishing it to get the right things done in the time available.
  • Extraordinary productivity is a choice. People must choose between operating on “autopilot” and giving in to the lure of time-wasting activities or consciously taking charge of decisions regarding how to spend their time.

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Time ManagementTime is a precious asset that cannot be reclaimed. Once it is used, it is gone forever. These days, many people find themselves stressed and feeling out of control from never having enough time to do what they should and want to do. Author Brian Tracy claims it is not a lack of time but rather the mismanagement of time that causes these issues. In Time Management, Tracy provides insights about the consequences of mismanaging time as well as practical techniques that anyone can learn and master in order to gain control over their time and achieve both professional and personal success.

Successful time management is based on the following principles:

  1. Time is a precious asset. Time is an asset that cannot be replaced. Once used, it is gone forever. Therefore, making the most of time becomes increasingly important.
  2. Time management is all about confidence and control. Individuals who have high self-esteem have the confidence to set parameters on how their time is used. Those who feel out of control and as if they never have enough time are letting others determine their fate and will benefit from using techniques to develop a more positive self-image and a decisive attitude.
  3. Effectively managing time depends on having a clear vision, values, and goals. If people do not know where they are going and why, they are wasting their time. A strong sense of individual purpose that aligns with daily activities drives time management practices that lead to achieving goals.
  4. Good time management is plan-based. Effective time management does not just happen. It requires thoughtful planning and a series of written activities–such as checklists, project plans, and prioritization systems–that can be repeatedly referenced and adjusted as circumstances change.
  5. The most important work should be allotted the largest amount of time. Much of people’s time is wasted on the easy-to-do and less important tasks. Often this means never devoting enough time to the really important activities–those that lead to professional success and personal fulfillment. People should always do the important work first. They should give these tasks the most attention.
  6. Focus and clarity are paramount. Multi-tasking, distractions, and interruptions are all big time wasters. To be effective, individuals must focus on one task at a time and take control over factors that interrupt focus or distract from clear thinking.
  7. Anyone can learn to more effectively manage their time. People can learn time management skills. They should practice these skills repeatedly. Developing good habits control how people spend their time.

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Today’s fast-paced and high-pressured business environment often requires workers to spend 60, 70, 80, or more hours per week on the job. Unfortunately, productivity tends to decrease as work hours increase, and in this type of business climate, traditional time management techniques may be meaningless and outdated. In What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do, Laura Stack offers a system that allows workers to accomplish more by doing less work. Following her step-by-step Productivity Workflow Formula allows workers to organize their work lives around the tasks that really matter and disregard those that do not. The dozens of strategies that Stack provides help to reduce commitments, distractions, interruptions, and inefficiencies.

Stack’s Productivity Workflow Formula is designed to help streamline time management, reduce tasks, and increase results. There are six primary steps:

  1. Determine what to do: Triage to-do lists and decide to do only what matters most.
  2. Schedule time to do it: Assign time slots and duration for all tasks.
  3. Focus attention: Avoid multitasking.
  4. Process new information: Research, file information, and handle incoming information.
  5. Close the loop: Reduce inefficiencies.
  6. Manage capacity: Focus on physical factors affecting energy.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Time Trap10 Steps to Successful Time ManagementThe Personal Efficiency Program

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In today’s busy world, the demands on an individual’s time can be overwhelming. In fact, forty-two percent of American workers feel that they are overworked. High speed technology, downsizing, and increased customer demands have created an impatient, time-impoverished society. In Make Every Second Count, author Robert Bly acknowledges that twenty-five hours cannot be jammed into a twenty-four hour day; however, an individual can solve the most critical time-management problems by increasing personal productivity. It is unlikely in today’s work environment that workloads will decrease. However, if employees can learn to be more efficient at work, they can conquer their workload and find more free time for enjoyment.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Time TrapSuccessful Time Management for DummiesThe Personal Efficiency Program

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Most people today are overwhelmed with work both at work and at home. Working more efficiently is one solution, but few know where to begin. In Get-It-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More, Stever Robbins has identified specific techniques for working smarter and getting more done in the same amount of time or less. His methods are the result of working with clients for years and helping them change the way they approach tasks.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Personal Efficiency Program, The Time Trap, Focus Like a Laser Beam

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As competition and economic pressures increase, business leaders are guaranteed to experience higher levels of stress. This can cause even leaders with proven track records to make bad decisions. In The Stress Effect, Henry L. Thompson explores the relationship between stress and decision making. He analyzes how people make decisions under high levels of stress and how leaders can improve their decision-making capabilities in today’s high pressure business environment. The techniques described in The Stress Effect are designed to help leaders improve their cognitive and emotional abilities, resulting in better on-the-job performance, health, and relationships.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Age of SpeedExecutive StaminaHappiness at Work 

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With Thanksgiving leftovers still in the refrigerator and the Holiday season in full swing, it’s an important time for all of us to recognize what is important in our lives. Much of leadership training involves prioritizing work and managing time in an effort to become more efficient, but now more than ever, a good work/life balance is essential for a healthy and productive workforce.

Many companies have started offering benefits such as flextime and telecommuting to help workers reach a balance between their personal and professional lives, but this may not be enough in many cases. According to Jennifer Lacy, director of research for The New York Times Job Market, “There is a general perception among employees that working long hours is important for career advancement…This notion, and the pay and promotion policies that support it, often undermines attempts to promote work/life balance.”

For corporate work/life initiatives to succeed, they must be supported from the top. Culture is one of the largest driving forces in any initiative, but the recession has put even more pressure on those wishing to take advantage of work/life benefits because they are afraid of being viewed as not dedicated to the company. However, if companies can launch successful work/life programs, they can reap rewards that include less absenteeism, lower burn-out rates, and a more productive workforce.

So, while enjoying those leftovers and planning the family festivities this season, leaders and managers should also be thinking about how to best serve both work and family all year round.

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Who has never felt the need for more hours in the day to accomplish what must be done? The struggle to use time effectively in the face of overwhelming daily demands has not diminished since the late Alec Mackenzie first published this time-management classic in 1970. Indeed, new technology may have even increased the desperate struggle for efficiency, even as it has enabled unprecedented multi-tasking.

In this fourth edition of The Time Trap, author Pat Nickerson brings Mackenzie’s classic into the twenty-first century and updates it in light of new technologically-spawned time traps. She examines the unconscious habits of thought and behavior which usually underlie poor time management, introduces five tools, or “practices,” for effective time management, and analyzes this century’s fourteen most common time traps, suggesting escape routes to each. The book includes reflections from managers who have attended Mackenzie and Nickerson’s time-management seminars about their own experiences in the “real world” struggle to use time effectively.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

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