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Book Review: Make Every Second Count: Time Management Tips and Techniques for More Success with Less Stress by Robert W. Bly

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Make Every Second Count: Time Management Tips and Techniques for More Success with Less Stress offers tough love from one of America’s most productive writers, Bob Bly. It is also a useful start-up manual for a new tech worker, covering computer hardware, office set-up, mobile working, from one of the most productive writers in America.

This second edition of Make Every Second Count holds 14 easy-reading chapters. Since the first edition was 10 years ago, there are several new chapters, mostly covering technology and social media. There’s no denying that technology, for better or worse, changes how we perceive time, and alters our ability to focus. These are things no author was writing about in a general business book 10 years ago, but they are a reality today.

Part of Make Every Second Count’s success comes from Bly’s style. A man doesn’t write over 75 books and hundreds of corporate copywriting and consulting projects in one lifetime without being a good writer. Bly is practical without being preachy, gets to the point, and keeps the reader engaged throughout.

He gets right to the point by stressing you can solve most of your time related problems by increasing productivity of the one resource you can control: you. That’s where your time management begins and ends.

Among the techniques Bly endorses to stay productive are to make lists and stick to schedules. In other words, hold yourself accountable. He offers strategies such as breaking the day into segments, and honoring the deadlines you create, to get work done faster by sticking to it for a set time. People who don’t set a schedule tend to drift through the day, jumping from one thing to another, without getting much done.

If you’re new to lists, Bly suggests you log all your time and activities for two weeks. Then identify the time wasters and find solutions.

If you need help controlling your time, start with one or two ideas and incorporate them into your day. Many are ideas that will help you speed up what you’re doing. Once they become routine, revisit Bly’s book and pick up a few more success tips from a pro.

Some of the book’s best tips are in Chapter 10, organizing and being productive. You hate to hear it but you know it’s true: “Clutter is the enemy of efficiency.” Bly also includes many resources for tools and software to help in managing time and tasks.

We all have the same amount of time, but as Bly shows, your efficiency comes from where you place value. He offers solid suggestions on how to make your day profitable and how to get 10 percent more productive. The New Year is a perfect time to gain control and use your time well.

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About Helen Gallagher