Saturday, January 05, 2008

book review: Simplify Your Time by Marcia Ramsland


Title: Simplify Your Time
Author: Marcia Ramsland
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, 2006
Genre: Self-help
ISBN: 0849914582

Think about a time management topic, from how to overcome habitual lateness to how to make a five-year plan, and you’ll probably find something about it in Simplify Your Time. This motivational self-help book by Marcia Ramsland, a 23-year organizing pro, could well become one’s time management textbook, stuffed as it is with wisdom and practical suggestions.

Ramsland has written and organized the book for readers who are busy. It is made up of thirty short chapters (one per day for a month). These are divided into four weeks, each one dealing with a different aspect of time management: “Week 1 - Time-saving habits” (includes overcoming habitual lateness, clutter management, how to change a habit), “Week 2 - Time-saving tools” (includes how to control your calendar, choose a daily planner, make a personal project list), “Week 3 - Time-saving skills (includes discovering your weekly rhythm, tips on multi-tasking and delegating), and “Week 4 - Time-saving strategies” (includes how to make a five-year plan, set goals in every department of life, establish a network of family and friends). She rounds out the book with a list time management resources found in print and on the web.

Ramsland’s writing style is direct, yet always warm and encouraging. She entices the reader into each chapter with quotes by time efficiency experts like John Maxwell and vignettes from her interactions with clients. Bulleted lists, charts and font variety add visual interest and clarity. In addition she has sprinkled 101 “Time-Saving Tips” in easy-to-spot text boxes throughout the chapters. These are not a regurgitation of what she’s already said but in addition to it, augmenting in a concise way what she is explaining in the text. Each chapter ends with three practical things one can do to put her ideas into action.

I found the book not only encouraging but inspirational. Pointed bits of wisdom like “Two-minute pickups are tasks that are too short to write on a to-do list but that slow the pace of your life when they are ignored too long,” and “Remember the most important time you spend in a day is the time you spend planning tomorrow,” have already impacted my daily routines.

Warnings like “The reality is that if you don’t plan for your future, other people (boss, coworkers, spouse, children) will plan your life for you, or your daily routine will swallow up any chance you have to change your lifestyle,” have prodded me into thinking long-range.

I like the way the book progresses from talking about small specific things like how to change a bad habit to discussing big general things like implementing long-range planning strategies. This movement from specific to general helped me understand how the cumulative effect of many small changes can make a big impact on the future.

Trouble is, the book is so full of good ideas I couldn’t absorb them all in one read. It’s a book I will want to re-read – and more than once.

If, like me, you’ve resolved to make better use of your time this year, Marcia Ramsland’s Simplify Your Time may be just the book for you too.

1 comments:

Laura said...

Oh, I do like this quote:
“The reality is that if you don’t plan for your future, other people (boss, coworkers, spouse, children) will plan your life for you, or your daily routine will swallow up any chance you have to change your lifestyle.” This resonates with some major changes I made this past year.

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