Saturday, May 17, 2014

Simplify Your Work Life, by Elaine St. James

Elaine St. James. Simplify Your Work Life: Ways to Change the Way You Work So You Have More Time to Live. New York: Hyperion, 2001. 296 pages. ISBN 0786866837.

I have to admit that I'm a sucker for self-help books, especially those that provide suggestions for getting better organized, getting rid of clutter, saving time, and stopping procrastination. Well over ten years ago I read two of Elaine St. James’ early books: Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things that Really Matter, and Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways to Regain Peace and Nourish Your Soul. I found both books really helpful, but the first one especially so. It gave me lots of ideas for simplifying my life, many of which I have applied over and over. I kept them for years and read both books several times over. Eventually, in an attempt to cut back on my book collection I gave both books away, although I continue to apply many of the concepts.

This past weekend I attended the annual AAUW book sale in State College (over 400,000 used books for sale in one weekend), and found this book on simplifying your work life. It's a quick read with 85 short chapters organized into seven sections:
  1. Cutting back on the amount of time you work
  2. Learning to seize time
  3. Being more productive
  4. Being more effective with people
  5. Being more efficient with your money
  6. Changing the way you work
  7. Changing the way you think about work
If you're a productivity and self-help junkie like I am, you might not find a lot new in these pages, but if you haven't read much along these lines, you will find this book very helpful. I found many of the suggestions useful, and agree with much of what she writes about productivity, time management, financial management, and dealing with people. I've observed too many administrators who fill up their calendars with meetings, lunches, coffees, etc., and wonder why they can't get anything done. Anyone who wonders why they don't have enough time to get their work done would do well to read this book!

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