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I was ready to write a snarky review of "What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings - and Your Life" (2013) - until I listened to the third book. I liked that so much, I went back to the beginning and listened again, ignoring what annoyed me.
This audible collection of three short books by Laura Vanderkam on time management. The first is the Breakfast book (Audible Ch 2); the second, "What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off" (Audible Ch 6) and the third, "What the Most Successful People Do at Work: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Career" (Audible Ch 11).
The Breakfast book started out with an idea that I found immediately helpful: exercise in the morning, because later in the day, you may not have the willpower and other things might come up and take your time. That's not a new idea, but Vanderkam presented the reasons in a way that resonated with me. Finally. That's why I kept listening. (And let's face it, I'm sure not getting to the gym after a long drive home.) I also liked her idea for breaking bad habits: find friends that will honestly watch you, and if you fail, your penalty is donating to an organization you don't believe in. An example: donate to Karl Rove's PAC if you are a card carrying member of the ACLU.
The Work book had some very helpful ideas for structuring work to be more productive, and they were beyond the adages like turn off the e-mail and do the heavy work when you are most productive. Vanderkam talks about how to identify when your clients are going to need you; how to delegate work and encourage team members to develop their management abilities; and how to take breaks that enhance your creativity and ability to do your job more effectively.
I didn't like how Vanderkam kept mentioning 168 hours, how time can never be recovered, etc. After a while, I started to feel 'I Must Be Doing Something Meaningful All the Time'. That's pressure no one needs.
And now, for the reason I was going to snark: it's nice that Vanderkam lives on the east coast with fabulous daily train service; works from home; is married; has friends over for dinner Sunday nights; ran through her pregnancies; and just finished a marathon without ever running more than 35 miles in a week because she did other exercises. And about her four hour runs on Saturdays - that's nice, but someone has to pick up the dry cleaning, grocery shop, take the kids to games, clean the house . . . And I'm a single mom! I could relate to Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013)) and even the fictional heroine in Allison Pearson's 2003 book "I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother" but I couldn't relate to Vanderkam personally. I am glad I took the time to listen to what she said - literally, since she's the narrator.
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199 of 216 people found this review helpful
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I read several reviews that complained that this book was irritating to listen to. I decided to try it anyway. At first the narrator/author's clipped precise reading style bothered me. However, that feeling was quickly erased and replaced by all the interesting and easily applicable material presented. The book was overwhelmingly positive and offers a no fooling around approach to time management and ways to improve what you can accomplish. The author's take on prioritizing, goal setting, choosing what is important and how to focus your energies was different than what I've read before. Finally someone not suggesting that to have more free time you need to cutback, pare down, and do less. I find that the simple suggestions and new perspective have helped me reorganize and recharge my day. Definitely time well spent.
48 of 54 people found this review helpful