Just a short review of a free (yep, it is free) book on the productivity topic (the author: Michael Linenberger). I, somehow postponed it, though I read it several months ago, on my vacation.
Most productivity systems have some common ground (that comforts: I hope there is something to them if they agree on major points =) ), so I’ll just list some major ideas I like or dislike in the book:
· Be careful while creating “Important” category. I always repeat, that there should be only “do it now” (the less tasks the better, the best result will be with just one), “do it someday”, “don’t do it”. Else you’ll find yourselves with a lot of “important” stuff on hand.
· Once more: spend several minutes to plan your day. It is worth it. At least you won’t find out that despite your promises you won’t be able to spend 3 hours on a report today, because you have 6 meetings and one long call. And not achieving your daily goal may frustrate and demotivate you. I just wrote some thoughts about how bad it is to plan to do more than you actually can.
· I also found in the book a very interesting idea about “magical” 10 days (which usually translates into 2 work weeks): the author’s observations show that most people “tend to relax their anxiety about a big task or project if its deadline is beyond one or two weeks out”. That’s interesting, because it somehow correlates with my own observations, from which I see that most people cannot make solid plans extending the same term. And some practices recommend start planning with two-week chunks. Coincidence? I wonder if there is some research on the topic.
· A bit on what I call consciousness (Going home test as the author calls it). That’s not about meditation, rather about making some things being fully turned on, without autopilot. If I have something urgent, I should ask myself: will I be willing to stay at work overtime today to do that. If not, then it is not that urgent.
· Also there are references to limiting work in progress. BTW, what to do with a manager’s tasks? A manager definitely has more tasks than his subordinates. At the moment I treat as my own tasks only those I do myself and do not delegate?
· But there are stupid in the book, too. Like having your to-do list visually close to your emails. It’s a behavior which easily may lead you to spending all day in your mail without doing any tasks.
· The book also would be twice shorter if not for description of some software. I don’t like such stuff in books: your tool is almost irrelevant, if you know what to do. But even so it’s quite short.
Usefulness: average. It will increase if you are just starting working with to-do lists.
Is it easy to read? Yes.