Perfect Time-Based Productivity and Bill’s Im-Perfect Time Management Adventure are the first two books in what I hope to be a trilogy. They are intended to make the teaching and learning of time-based productivity easy for both learner and instructor. To help accomplish this goal I leaned heavily on the latest research in not only time-based productivity but adult learning.
Introducing… Perfect Time-Based Productivity
Many readers of the Bill book told me it whetted their appetite for more details on what they could do to improve their time-based productivity. They also wanted to know where the ideas I shared in the first book came from. Could they be trusted? Were they sound?
When I sat down to write the Perfect book I knew I wanted to give readers something they could use to improve their skills one step at a time, following the simple method my live trainees were taught to use. At the same time, I needed to go a step further and share the science behind each idea. This additional step would reduce the frustration many feel when they pick up a productivity book filled with tips used by just one person – the author.
Unfortunately, it came at a cost… the book took twice as long to write as I originally thought. Also, the inclusion of over 250, mostly academic references meant that for the book to meet its objectives I’d need to include details. References, an Index plus a section called “Lab Notes” were added on at the end to give any reader full access to the source of every single ideas I shared.
At the same time, the book was intended for practical purposes – a way to help someone get better one step at a time. I knew from my classroom experience that I should not expect a reader to know how to get from the habits they are currently using to a place where they were using new behaviors. This meant avoiding shortcuts – and helping people understand the steps they needed to take to fulfill their individual goals of achieving a new peace of mind.
The overall result is that the book spans over 400 pages, and when it arrived in its paperback form via the mail I was surprised at its heft. It’s no quick read, which is in keeping with my philosophy: the systems people already have in place are complex and it requires some effort on their part to understand and simplify them. It’s the only way to bring their knowledge and capacity for change in line with the requirements of the modern world.
From the Amazon.com product description page
More demands on your time – that’s just a fact of modern life. You may be doing the job of more than one person and facing an onslaught of information, only to realize that ubiquitous, 24-7 technology has only made things worse. How do you stay ahead of the expectation that you should be able to meet all your obligations, old and new? In the face of these increasing pressures, what do you need to do to maintain your peace of mind?
This book is primarily written for productive professionals who have already found a way to achieve positive results. They aren’t clueless – time is an important concern and they have been able to manage their affairs well enough to get through school, hold a job, keep a family and enjoy life’s benefits. However, if you belong to this group, you may share a concern: how can you be successful in the future, given the hot pace of change you see around you every day? Doing more of the same seems an unlikely answer. So does the conventional wisdom around “time management” and the popular tactic of following one-size-fits-all solutions.
While the book has lots of specific, practical suggestions for new behaviors, at its heart is a four step approach that preserves and builds on the advances that you, as a professional, have already made in your career:
Step 1> Evaluate your current skills against best-in-class standards, discovering strengths and improvement opportunities.
Step 2> Set realistic targets for new behaviors that meet your unique, evolving needs.
Step 3> Create a personalized plan from these new targets that allow you enough time to succeed, by taking small steps.
Step 4> Craft your own habit change support environment.
By the end of the book you will have completed these steps many times, giving you an easy way to improve any skill that’s important to your peace of mind. To complete these steps effectively, Perfect Time-Based Productivity takes you through a broad range of new ideas based on recent research and case studies in fields such as psychology, business process management, adult learning, brain science and industrial engineering.
Part One – You discover the concepts needed to shift from attempting to manage or control time (which is impossible) to managing time demands – the “individual, internal commitments made to complete actions in the future.” Once these ideas are understood, you discover that every person manipulates time demands in similar ways, subject to the limits of human capacity. However, your implementation is unique because in this area of life, humans are almost completely self-taught.
Part Two – Using a number of forms provided in the book (and available for download) you perform an evaluation of 7 essential skills: Capturing, Emptying, Tossing, Acting Now, Storing, Listing and Scheduling. Each self-evaluation is the precursor to creating a mini-improvement plan which goes into a Master Plan, made up of small steps, that outlines your improvement journey. It’s one that will change your habits, practices and rituals at a pace that preserves your peace of mind.
Part Three – You’ll learn about other advanced skills and perspectives needed to be effective in today’s world. For example, Flowing – your capacity to be in the flow state defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – is an important skill to master given the pressure to multi-task and become distracted. Also, you’ll learn why corporations are struggling with time-based productivity: they don’t push for the right tools for their employees and have allowed individual effectiveness to become a matter of chance, versus policy.
The book closes with additional resources for already-productive professionals such as Type A business-people, fans of productivity improvement, project managers and time advisers.
Everyone who picks up this book will learn a new definition of “perfection”: To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill.
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