In theory ... How to get more done

Emma De Vita's weekly look at management-speak.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your to-do list? Well done for at least having one.

There's a whole subsection of management theory concerned with time management and how to get the most out of the hours you spend at your desk. Many books on the subject appear to be written for ambitious overachievers, but a handful are useful for the ordinary manager. One of these is How To Get More Done: Seven Days To Achieving More.

Author Fergus O'Connell "applies the principles of project management to the most important project of all - you". If you've never thought of yourself as a project, think again.

So how do you get more done? The theory is based on seven sections, each one corresponding to a separate day, with each day delivering a new principle to help you achieve more. Day three ("how to not do stuff") and day five ("how to do as little as possible") are immediately attractive propositions - but this theory is not about slacking off. It's about being smart.

The book hinges on a change of behaviour that means you only do the "right stuff". This in turn centres on "the system", which encompasses "the list", "tracking appointments", "filing" and "recording where your time goes". Learn how to cut down on doing unnecessary things - say no to people. If you can do all of these things and work a "power hour" of "me-time" into your day, then you'll be sorted. Now, back to normal office life.

- Emma De Vita is editor of the books pages on Management Today.

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