Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
I am always on the lookout for new time management pieces to slot into my current system. When Francis Wade emailed me and asked me to read and review Bill’s Im-Perfect Time Management Adventure: A Business Fable, I thought why not?
The thing that really piqued my curiosity is that this time management book was written as a novel. No dry bundle of lists, no obvious instruction. Who doesn’t love to learn while reading a story? I certainly do love a good book.
The premise of the book centers around Bill, a project manager who is not very good at time management. The problem is that his company is looking to do layoffs, and they are looking at the poor performers as the first to go. Bill’s name is on that list.
Bill’s first reaction is to get himself a smart phone. Except that this leads to working all the time, plus things are still getting missed. Perhaps the smart phone isn’t the solution after all?
Bill has a family to support, along with supporting his ailing parents. In a tough economy, he cannot afford to lose his job. His company decides give him a mentor, and even though Bill doesn’t care for the man, he tries very hard to do as he is asked.
Bill’s mentor has a way of doing things that was set forth in a book and several classes. Bill’s mentor insists that this is the best way to do things and will not listen to Bill’s adjustment to the system, insisting that Bill go back to the original system.
After a chance re-assignment to another company whose philosophy differs radically from his employer, he also meets some time management gurus and starts to develop his own system.
There are a few lessons to be taken away from the book:
- Not all systems work for everyone
- Throwing technology at bad habits doesn’t solve the underlying problem
- People need to start from where they are, rather than starting from scratch
- There are key areas to productivity in which you can improve your skills
- Your skills in these key areas will differ
I did like the story. I will also tell you that the few moments of thinking that advocating someone go completely by the book was a deal breaker for me…I was SO relieved when this turned out to be the wrong way of doing things! I was rooting for Bill, and I rejoice in his success.
By the end of the book I wanted to know what the key areas consisted of and concrete strategies to improve my score. And the book just ended.
Unfortunately, you apparently have to buy the training courses available on the author’s website in order to get this information. See the end of the article for links on the author’s website to get more information.
I felt at the end like I had just spent hours reading an infomercial. To invest that much time into a book and have no takeaways other than the reassurance that not all systems work out of the box for everyone was disappointing.
So save yourself the reading time and know that if a system doesn’t work for you, that is fine. It’s not that you are faulty. Know that there are ways that you adjust to make things work for you, and those are OK. And know that your skills can be improved by learning new methodologies to take you from where you are.
If, on the other hand, you absolutely cannot stomach the dryness of most time management books, read this book as starting place.
Book: Bill’s Im-Perfect Time Management Adventure: A Business Fable
Author: Francis Wade
Disclosure: Francis Wade provided me with a free copy of the book enable me to write this review.
Updated 05/06/2013: In response to my review, Francis Wade, the author of Bill’s Imperfect Time Management Adventure, provided the following links for those people wanting more information:
- - this manifesto describes the 7 fundamentals.
- - this is a 27 video tutorial that covers a number of the ideas that form the foundation of time management 2.0.
- - this provides links to each of the 11 original worksheets that make up the fundamentals.
- – the research blog has over 500 entries going back to 2006 where anyone can trace the genesis of each idea in The Bill Book.
library-of-academic-papers/ - the biggest library of time management papers on the Internet , and this is an index to the front covers of each paper – over 80.
- http://mytimedesign.com/capturing – a free quiz on Capturing
- http://plus.mytimedesign.com/indexlearningsolo.html – an interactive video training/intro to a new possible, 12th fundamental – “Flowing”