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Review of "Working Smart"

Title: Working Smart (follow link to get from Amazon.com)

Subtitle: How to Accomplish More in Half the Time

Author: Michael LeBoeuf

Pages: 262 pages in 12 chapters


Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)

This is one of the best time management books that I've read. Although it was written in 1979, most of the advice in this book is still applicable today.

While the central theme of this book is increasing one's productivity by working smarter and not harder, LeBeouef gives practical advice on a wide range of topics ranging from conquering procrastination to working well with others.

I cannot agree more with LeBoeuf's view of productivity: figuring out "how to get more done by spending less of my time and energy." In my view, productivity is not about doing more in less time, but rather in accomplishing more by working less (see Goals of Time Management article.)

The book consists of twelve chapters, corresponding more or less to the twelve "major contributors to failure and fatigue" identified by the author:

1. Unwillingness to invest work in the present for reward in the future.

2. Having programmed, erroneous beliefs about work (similar to the idea of ineffective paradigms.)

3. Not knowing or deciding what you want out of life.

4. The inability to manage your time.

5. A life of chaos.

6. A weak self-image, fear of failure, guilt, worry... and other draining emotions.

7. Procrastination.

8. The unwillingness or inability to skillfully delegate tasks to others.

9. Communication breakdowns.

10. Unnecessary interpersonal conflicts.

11. Common everyday interruptions such as meetings, visitors and telephone calls.

12. A deluge of paperwork.

If you are struggling with any of these common problems, you may find some real gems in this book. The book itself is divided into four parts.

Part 1 - The Effectiveness Plan provides a foundation for the rest of the book by helping you realize the true value of your time and dispelling some common time management myths such as "The more you sweat, the more you get," "efficiency means effectiveness," and "more discipline means less freedom."

LeBoeuf also provides a good introduction to goal setting and prioritization as foundations for effectiveness.

Part 2 - Launching Yourself provides tips and strategies to help you get organized, improve your concentration and memory, and solve problems creatively. He provides tips for using a time log to help you realize where your time goes and detect time wasters, as well as general guidelines for scheduling your time effectively.

This part also provides practical advice for strengthening your attitude and self-image, and dealing with negative emotions like guilt, worry, fear of failure, and anger.

Part 3 - Conquering Time Wasters provides advice for dealing with procrastination, interruptions and paperwork.

Part 4 - Working With Your Team deals with effective delegation, teamwork, communication problems, and conflict resolution.

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