Book Review: The Joy of Missing Out

9781400214334Title: The Joy of Missing Out
Author: Tonya Dalton
Genre: Self-Help
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Pages: 240
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: March 21, 2020

Goodreads Description: Overwhelmed. Do you wake up in the morning already feeling behind? Does the pressure of keeping it all together make you feel anxious and irritable?

Tonya Dalton, CEO and productivity expert, offers you a liberating shift in perspective: feeling overwhelmed isn’t the result of having too much to do — it’s from not knowing where to start.

Doing less might seem counterintuitive, but doing less is more productive, because you’re concentrating on the work you actually want to be doing. Through this book, you can learn how to:

Identify what is important to you and clarify your priorities.
Develop ways to streamline your specific workflow.
Discover your purpose.

Named Top 10 Business Book of the Year by Fortune magazine, The Joy of Missing Out is chock-full of resources and printables. This is a legitimate action plan for change. Once you reject the pressure to do more, something amazing happens: you discover you can finally live a guilt-free, abundant life.

My Review: I am a big fan of self-help nonfiction that gives you actual tasks to achieve the points made in the book. The Joy of Missing Out is a book that gives tips to increase daily productivity while also achieving happiness. It focuses on making the reader understand how to truly be in charge of your time.

Here are some great steps mentioned that will help you achieve this life of productivity and happiness:

  1. Create a Mission Statement – a short statement that represents who you are.
  2. Create a Vision Statement (aka North Star) – a representation of what you want to be and achieve in the future.
  3. Make a priority list – don’t try to do too much, delete tasks that are not necessary or that you can delegate. Here are questions to ask to help you create this list:
    1. Is it connected to my North Star?
    2. Is it linked to a goal?
    3. Is it essential?
    4. Is it adventageous?
    5. Is it reality based?
  4. Create habits to minimize brain power. “Habits free up our mental space so we can focus.”
  5. Make plan for bigger priorities.
  6. Set boundaries – your time is your time don’t allow someone else to take it away from you.
  7. Take a technology break – live in the moment.
  8. Get plenty of rest.
  9. Do a daily download. Spend no more than a minute on each of the following:
    1. Reflecting on daily accomplishments.
    2. Evaluate the day – was there too much to do or not enough.
    3. Assess if you closer to your North Star.
    4. List 3 things you are grateful for that day.
    5. Write down important tasks for next day.

This is a great time to read this book as many of us are finding ourselves homebound with some extra time to reevaluate our lives (both personal and work lives). I almost can’t wait to start writing down my statements and priorities – yes, the author stresses the importance of writing these things down instead of using technology – finally maybe some validation for my list writing. I listened to the audiobook version and found that it included a bonus episode of the author’s podcast Productivity Paradox. I am so thrilled to have been introduced to this podcast and have already started listening to it and finding more helpful tips.

For additional tools to help you with living this better and more productive life, see Inkwell Press Productivity Co by Tonya Dalton.

“Getting control of our time will lead to less stress.”

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 


Book Review: Time Management Ninja

timeTitle: Time Managment Ninja
Author: Craig Jarrow
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-help
Publisher: Mango
Publication Date: September 15, 2019
Pages: 236
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Hoopla app
Date finished reading: January 30, 2020

Goodreads Description: Time management made simple and easy

Fans of The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, and 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington will love Time Management Shouldn’t Take Time.

More time, stress relief, and relaxation: You want more time in your life. Time to spend with family, to achieve big goals, and to simply enjoy life. Yet, the world we live in is busier and changing faster than ever before. More things competing for your time, and more distractions interrupting your day.

Simple and practical time management: You have tried to manage your time better but have found that most time management systems and tools are too complex. Or they are too unwieldy to be effective or sustainable. Time management shouldn’t be difficult, and it shouldn’t take up more of your precious time than it gives back!

Easy tools, rules, and tactics: Craig Jarrow has been there, too. However, after spending many years testing time management tactics, tools, and systems and having written hundreds of articles on productivity, goals, and organization, Jarrow discovered a simple truth. Time management should be easy.

More productivity and less stress: It is only when you simplify your approach that you can rise above the busyness and chaos of our fast-paced society. Time Management Shouldn’t Take Time offers “21 Rules” that will show you an easier and more effective way to take control of your time and manage your busy life. If you follow these simple principles, you will get more done with less effort. You will have less stress and more time to do the things you want to do.

No-stress, uncomplicated time management that works

My Review: At the start of every year, I love bingeing on self-help audiobooks, especially ones that discuss organization and time management. I feel it puts me in a good frame of mind to tackle my yearly goals and have a successful year. I’ve already listened to The 5 Love Languages and Spark Joy this year.

Here are the 21 Tips that the author suggests for better time management:

  • Tip 1: Take time to make time. Take the time to create a schedule. This will help you manage your time and prioritize.
  • Tip 2: Have these four items. These items can be physical or digital versions. You can combine these items but don’t have more than one of each.
    • To-do list
    • Notebook
    • Calendar
    • Address book
  • Tip 3: To-do list = best friend. Take it everywhere.
  • Tip 4: Make appointments with yourself and your work.
  • Tip 5: Write things down now so you don’t forget about it later.
  • Tip 6: Have a plan then prepare.
  • Tip 7: Get up earlier.
  • Tip 8: Complete tasks fully and don’t put off tasks. 
  • Tip 9: Put things away right away, so you always know where items are.
  • Tip 10: ABC method of cleaning. Clean regularly to avoid big time-consuming messes.
  • Tip 11: Complete one task a day that you keep putting off.
  • Tip 12: Never confuse busy with productive. Stay focused on your prioritized tasks.
  • Tip 13: You can’t finish if you don’t start.
  • Tip 14: You are stronger than you think. Believe that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish.
  • Tip 15: You are what you do today and everyday.
  • Tip 16: Use your tech for good not for evil. The average person checks their phone over 150 times a day.
  • Tip 17: Make choices or life will make them for you. Make timely decisions.
  • Tip 18: Passion makes you more productive.
  • Tip 19: Let it be. You can’t do it all.
  • Tip 20: Don’t create your own life friction. This can happen through forgetfulness or procrastination.
  • Tip 21: Live your life or you won’t have one. Your time is yours. Make sure you use time to do what you want to do.

This is a great beginner’s guideline to time management. I try very hard to utilize time management skills in both my work life and my home life. I don’t know how I would exist without my notebook/daily to-do list. I have a different method in relation to the to-do list than the author discusses. The author stresses that one should just have a single to-do list. I disagree with that. I feel very strongly about keeping my work and home life separate. I have a work to-do list that I leave at the office, and a personal/home life to-do list that I have with me everywhere (Tip 3). The author also is highly against disposing of the previous day’s to-do list, but I am not. I believe each day should start fresh. I don’t want a written reminder of the things I did not accomplish the day before. I normally just move those tasks to a day in the future.

Realistically, I never accomplish everything I want to accomplish. Sometimes I realize that my daily expectations are just too high – like the author mentioned. However, for the most part, to-do lists and time management do not allow for the flexibility of life when things just come up – and they often do. The author talks about it being okay to just say “no” when people ask things of you that you just don’t have time for, but that is not necessarily how life works or relationships for that matter. I am fortunate to be married to a man who loves to cook. This opens up time in my evenings for me to accomplish other tasks, but if he calls me and says that a work meeting popped up so he won’t be home in time to prepare dinner, I need to arrange my time to take care of that task, whether I planned for it or not. Sometimes things just pop up.

Here is my own personal helpful tip that goes along with the author’s Tips 1, 6 & 9. At the end of every night, I allow myself 5-10 minutes to put things away that may have been left out (Tip 9) and to prepare for the next day (Tips 1 & 6). This preparation is making sure that my work bag is packed with everything I need and my to do list is ready for the next day. This makes the beginning of my day start strong with a clear vision of what needs to happen, because as much as Tip 7 sounds good in theory, I doubt I will ever accomplish that, nor am I sure I want to. I really like my sleep time.

One area that the author stresses a lot throughout the book that I personally struggle with is using technology to solely help accomplish daily tasks and goals. I still spend more time browsing news topics or looking at Facebook, etc. than I would like. These are hard habits to kick.

How do you feel about time management? Do you have any time management tips of your own that you would like to share?

One idea that I am personally struggling with lately is that if I live by my lists and plan out all my time, is that truly living life? When does having this kind of structure become too confining? What do you think?

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

“Live in the present. Note the past. Plan for the future.”

Book Review: Off The Clock

OffTheClock_JKFOption-2-212x300Title: Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done
Author: Laura Vanderkam
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help
Publisher: Portfolio
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Pages: 256
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: March 24, 2019

Goodreads Description: Learn to savor life’s best moments–no matter how busy you are–through mindset shifts that alter your perception of time.

Laura Vanderkam, the acclaimed author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, isn’t like other time-management gurus. She’s not trying to shave off 30 seconds here or there; she’s interested in the emotional and psychological side of the 168 hours everyone has each week. Her core message is that you have more time than you think you do, and you can feel less stressed while getting more done.

With the right habits, you can live efficiently and effectively, and yet still see time as abundant. For instance, Vanderkam teaches:

– How to clear your calendar of activities that are boring, stressful — or just not the best use of your time.

– Why tackling your top priorities during the hours when you have the most energy will change your perception of what it means to be productive.

– How to linger in great experiences while they’re happening, and why good memories seem to make time expand.

Vanderkam has packed this book with insights from busy yet relaxed professionals, including “time makeovers” of people who are learning how to use these tools. Off the Clock can inspire the rest of us to create lives that are not only productive, but enjoyable in the moment.

My Review: Last year I read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. I really thought that was insightful. I never thought about tracking my time to analyze how I utilize my time. I actually thought that project would be a waste of time. However, I was desperate to find more time in my days, so I gave it a shot. It actually did help me realize how much time I sometimes waste in a day that could be spent doing other things that need to be done or I would like to do. (Example: I can’t stop myself from binging multiple episodes of a show on Netflix, when I really should just watch one and move on to another task.)

Off the Clock is more of a continuation of 168 Hours. Instead of it being a guide to time management, it is more of a guide to living a more enjoyable life.

Here are some of my takeaways:

  • Time is not something you should fear.
  • Tracking your time can help with you make time manageable.
  • Be accountable for your time.
  • Build habits.
  • It is what you say “no” to as much as what you say “yes” to.
  • Adventures make life memorable and memories stretch time.
  • Linger in the moment.
  • Savor moments in time.

I guess I was hoping for more examples of how to free up more time in my daily routine for things like all my many household projects. As of now, I am not in a position to cut down my work hours, as I am still new at my job. I have a nine-hour work day with approximately 1 1/2 hours of commute time daily Monday thru Friday. When I get home, it is hard to get motivated to clean my house, do laundry, pay bills, and organize, when I just want to sit and relax. (I am sure that many of you can relate to that.) I think I just keep looking for suggestions on how to overcome this challenge. I did not feel that this book helped me with that. However, I do appreciate that Laura Vanderkam makes suggestions throughout Off the Clock of other resources that I can look at that may help me with some of my time management issues.

Overall, this is a decent book (though I didn’t love it) and a quick read.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Book Review: Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress

41sRMsFWMpL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_Title: Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed
Author: Rita Emmett
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: December 2008
Pages: 208
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading:  February 28, 2019

Goodreads Description: A self-improvement guru’s inspiring and effective tips for gaining control of our Herculean workloads and overbooked personal lives.

How often do you think to yourself, So much to do and so little time? I n the sympathetic and insightful style of The Procrastinator’s Handbook, Rita Emmett offers help for those of us with too much to do. T he key is not time management but “stuff” management—taking control of all those tasks to do, people to see, commitments and obligations to fulfill. Mismanagement of all that “to-do” stuff is what leads to stress.

We often have little control over the demands made upon us, yet we can control our response. T hat’s where the management of stress must start. Emmett combines quick, easy-to-digest tips and infectious good humor to give readers positive ways to handle stress and their overly busy lives, first by understanding how stress impacts our physical, mental, and emotional health. She shows us how to cut down on distractions and interruptions that sap our concentration and energy, be more organized and streamline our duties, ask for help and be more selective about what we choose to do, and clarify our values and prioritize activities based on what is important. Spending time doing things that are incongruent with your values, striving for perfection, being overly competitive, and job insecurity are some of the reasons people feel overburdened and overwhelmed. Emmett draws on the stories of many people who have participated in her seminars, and readers will not only identify with their problems but can find common ground in the strategies that have worked for them.

My Review: I often gravitate to self-help books that deal with clutter and time management, as those are two big issues that exist in my daily life that keep me from being happy. I live in a society, where work dominates people’s lives. To afford a place to live, healthy foods and modern conveniences, one must make enough money to pay for those things. Our work days are long and our vacation days are minimal. My husband and I also get to add a semi-lengthy commute time to and from work as part of our daily routine. By the time we get home from work, the last thing we want to do is housework, and yet it has to get done. Once those projects are completed, then it is time to go to sleep and start the whole process again the next day. It is not quite the enjoyable life I had envisioned for myself. Don’t get me wrong, both my husband and myself love our jobs, but I still believe that jobs should not dominate your life even if you do enjoy them for the most part. I believe that making connections with people and family, maintaining hobbies and learning new skills should also be part of one’s life. Rita Emmett tries to reprogram our daily lives to incorporate things that our valuable to us – not just work – in her book Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed.

“This book will tackle time management not in terms of being more productive or efficient, but in terms of how we spend our time in relation to all that is important and valuable in our lives.”

Are you overworked, overscheduled, and overwhelmed? This is a great book to get you started on overcoming those issues and living a better life. Here are some great ideas listed throughout this book to help get you started on this path:

  • Learn to say “no.” – “The secret of stress management is grasping the concept that we have zero control over the stressers or demands made upon us, yet we have 100% control over our response.” It is okay to decline an invitation, etc if your schedule does not permit and there are other things that need to get done.
  • Discover what are the thing that you value most in your life. – These are the things that bring you the most joy, like spending time with family and friends, walking your dog, knitting or baking, etc. Once you have your list, then you can see what things you should start making time for in your life. “I observed that people put off things they hate to do. Now they still put off what they hate to do, but to me the biggest change in that area is that now they also put off what they love to do.”
  • Outsource. – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot of people see the word “outsource” and think that it means paying someone to do something for them, and some people may not have the financial privilege to do this. However, outsourcing can just be as simple as asking a friend or family member for help. When I started my new job last year, I had far less time at home to get housework done. I am fortunate that while I dislike cooking, my husband enjoys cooking, so that is one area I asked him to help with regarding household chores. He cooks and cleans up after dinner, while I do other household cleaning, laundry, etc. that needs to get done. When we had a water leak in our house that caused us to have to do some immediate household repairs done, we called a family member to come and be at our house when we couldn’t get away from work and the repairmen were there. The last story I have about outsourcing is that my husband and I have a house with a pool. A pool is wonderful but a lot of work. I could never justify paying someone to come and clean my pool, while I was working part-time and making very little money. However, I work more and make a little more money now, so I have hired someone to take care of the pool, which saves me a lot of time. A surprising thing I learned from this is that I was actually spending more money on supplies for pool maintenance than what it costs me to have someone else take care of it. Plus, my time is worth something as well.
  • Don’t expect perfection but excellence is achievable. I know a lot of perfectionists in my life, and at times I am one too. However, when time is limited, sometimes you just have to do the bare minimum to accomplish a task. It might also come in handy to be a multi-tasker.
  • Declutter. Your environment is important to managing your stress. As someone who suffers with some clutter issues, I fully agree with this statement. At times I haven’t had a place to sit and relax after work, because there was stuff on every chair and couch. I’ve also misplaced bills and most recently my jury duty summons. Taking time to reduce your clutter can leave you with a more relaxing environment to destress.
  • Set boundaries and shutoff distractions. How many times have you been out to eat with people (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) and they spend the entire meal on their phone or at least observed that happening at other tables around you? Modern technology is great, but it has its downsides as well. Often it distracts you for and takes up your valuable time. I’ve heard of people who are disabling social media sites from their phones or computers so that they can focus on work. I, myself, often put my phone on silent when I am out with family and friends, because the time I am sharing with them is too important to be interrupted.
  • Take time to recharge. It is easy in today’s world to constantly feel overwhelmed and tired. It is important to have habits that can help energize you. Eating healthier (more fruits & veggies less caffeine and sugar), exercising frequently and getting more sleep are ways to energize your body. Also, find some time in your daily routine to do things you love that will relax you or make you happy, like read a book or take a hot bath. The author asks us what we would do if we had one day or even one week where we could do whatever we wanted with no other obligations. That is a very intriguing concept and thought-provoking. How would you spend that time?

I enjoyed how the author listed these key points and then gave a description of the point with some ideas of how to tackle these in your life. Some of these points really hit home for me and I think these tips will be very helpful to others as well. However, I did not like all the quotes. I did not think that those added to the learning experience in this book, and I personally am still looking at ways to be more efficient with the time I do have. Unfortunately, I have to work, as I have bills and debt to pay off. I love my job and don’t want to stop working this job, but it does consume much of my days, so I would like more insight on how I can get everything else done that needs to get done when I am not working and still have time for the things I value and love.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦