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Book Review: Google’lize Your Life by Jeff VanDrimmelen

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Jeff VanDrimmelen’s Google’lize Your Life merges two popular book genres. His new book focuses on business productivity tips with an eye to Google’s suite of free email, scheduling, and organizational tools. It’s a perfect book for Google fans or really anyone interested in general business productivity tips.

Google’lize Your Life has some outstanding email tips aimed at maximizing the speed at which you get in your email, process it, and move on to getting work done. VanDrimmelen’s section on reactionary measures and methods of reducing your inbox is worth the price of the book alone. While the tips for managing email could be used for any type of email account, VanDrimmelen does make the case for why he’s a proponent of GMail. His arguments for using GMail include: threaded conversations, the searchability of email messages, the accessibility of GMail, and the ability to tie multiple email accounts together.

At times in the book, VanDrimmelen stands on the shoulders of productivity giants like Stephen Covey, David Allen, and Timothy Ferriss. He does an excellent job of applying these authors’ popular strategies to the subject matter at hand. For example, he reintroduces the compelling concept of checking email only twice in a work day. Checking and processing email at noon and 4 PM would greatly reduce the likelihood of the constant interruptions and the slow start to your day that you experience when you’re notified every time you get an email. While I think that this concept may be unrealistic for some, I love the integration of these productivity tips with VanDrimmelen’s own well thought-out Google-focused strategies. Google’lize Your Life is a quick read, but it felt quite meaty and comprehensive partly due to the wealth of general productivity knowledge found throughout its 130 pages.

Another interesting concept is one that VanDrimmelen calls email bankruptcy. Here, he suggests that you delete your entire inbox and just start over. I couldn’t imagine deleting everything, but on the other hand, for people like myself who are email hoarders, deleting everything may be the only way to get a clean start. Smartly, VanDrimmelen suggests that you communicate both of these strategies to your contacts before executing them.

Google’lize Your Life also tackles task and calendar management whether you’re using Google Tasks and Google Calendar or some other program. Scheduling time for work rather than scheduling time to do particular tasks is a tip that I’ll definitely take with me. Additional chapters include an “A Day in the Life” sample of the VanDrimmelen’s day and a breakdown of mobile devices and software that can help you get organized.

Overall, Google’lize Your Life is one of the best business productivity books I’ve read. To its credit it’s a quick read, but it felt quite meaty and comprehensive due to the wealth of general productivity knowledge found throughout its pages.

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