In my previous post, I mentioned that Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is on my top five list of all-time best time management/self-improvement books. I cannot really put these in any particular order, because each of them has meant a great deal to me. Your mileage, as they say, may vary. So without further ado:
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by the late and I think great, Stephen R. Covey: This book takes the habits of scheduling, prioritizing and getting your life in order to a new level. His book makes you think about what is important to you in your life. When you really do that, you have to take a hard look at yourself and whether you are living up to your values, and yes, your potential. Stephen R. Covey was a Mormon father of 8 children, a grandfather and a husband and a successful businessman. I am none of those things, yet his book resonated within me in a way very few others have. Reading and absorbing the principles in his book caused me to change in small ways. Ironically, it was the process of developing a mission statement that caused me over time to completely change my politics! I’m not there yet, but I am hoping for more and hopefully better changes to come. The “progeny” of this book series is also wonderful. To name a few, there are: Living the 7 Habits, The 7 Habits Journal, First Things First (an excellent “how-to” in terms of implementing the 7 Habits into your weekly planning process), and Principle-Centered Leadership. I don’t know how it happened, but our family bookshelf currently houses 3 copies of 7 Habits and at least one of each of the others.
Time Power, by Charles Hobbs is another great book. I learned an awful lot by listening to his taped series upon which his book is based (or perhaps vice versa). He has an excellent method for using the Day-Timer® 2-page-per day monthly booklets in a time-management system using prioritized task lists, calendar and note-taking. I do not know if this book is currently in print, but it is still available for a great price on Amazon.
Hyrum Smith, who founded Franklin Planner, and who later teamed up with Stephen Covey to form FranklinCovey, has also penned at least two books on this topic: The Advanced Day Planner Users Guide (the self-effacing title obscures the fact that this book offers some wonderful tips and tricks for day-to-day planning), and The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management – a terrific book of strategies for time – and life – management.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Oh boy was this a break-through book for me. I still cannot wrap my mind around this book. But for everything I can get from it, I continue to refer to it. He throws the prioritized task list out the window, since our 21st-Century lives do not allow us the luxury of such daily planning. EVERYTHING has a place in the planner or in a pre-arranged, easily referenced spot, so that NOTHING is in your head, thus freeing you up to really use your mind. His mantra is a “mind like water,” a phrase oft used (I am told) by those who practice karate and yoga. I would say this book and its progeny are the break-through books of this generation in terms of personal realization and time and life management. Other books by David Allen: Ready for Anything (some practical pointers on how to implement GTD) and Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life.
Other books that have helped me greatly in this process of planning my life have not been “Time Management” books, per se. These are in the category of “self-help” I suppose. books by Melodie Beattie, John Bradshaw and Claudia Black on recovery from addiction and co-dependence, and those by the psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, on the issues of morality, spirituality and community building have all been enormously effective in bringing me back to my authentic self and have given me a vision of the self I would like to become. After all, how can one plan one’s day if you can’t plan your week, your week if you can’t plan your month, your month if you can’t plan your year, and your life if you don’t know what your life is about?
Be back soon. In the meantime, be good and if you can’t be good, be terrific:)!