Friday, August 21, 2009

On My Bookshelf: Time Management

Whew. These recent posts about my organizing system were hard for me to write. I used to teach about organization in seminars and I found that much easier . . . That's where I hold up the notebook or page and say, "Look!"

Writing it all down in a way that is easy to read was very challenging. I wasn't sure I was hitting the target, either. It's a tough topic, but it's important. Nearly every homeschooling mother has to work consciously on becoming better organized.

If reading my posts about organizing did not inspire or help you, then you could try Time Management for Unmanageable People. This wonderful book has been my favorite on time management for at least a decade, and it has been loved by many of my friends, as well.

Ann McGee-Cooper and Duane Trammell got it right in their treatise on how to survive our modern world with its multi-tasking demands. The book works because it was crafted by two people of opposite temperaments: he is a structured, detail-oriented administrator; she is an unstructured, big-picture, creative soul. Together they bridged the chasm between these two classic approaches to life and found the middle ground.

They can help you get organized in the way that works for you. If you have always struggled with this area, they will speak to you in ways that are relevant and meaningful. If you are a more structured type, you will benefit from their ideas which will increase your options and help you work with people more effectively. But beyond all this, they share principles that genuinely work for energizing your life and maximizing your efforts.

Chapters include topics like:

  • Divergers and Convergers: By Helicopter, or on Foot?
  • Messy Desk or Meticulous Order: Assessing Your Style
  • Why Traditional Time Management Doesn't Work for Some of Us
  • Prioritizing: A Million Shades of Gray
  • Scheduling: Making Your Calendar Fun and Functional
  • Decontaminating Time: Reclaiming Thirty to Sixty Fresh Hours a Month
  • Executive Neglect: Never Get Around to Some Stuff!
  • Saying No as Easily as You Say Yes

I never knew, before reading this book, that the topic of time management could be this much fun. McGee-Cooper and Trammell pull it off in style. But they are more than a good time. Their ideas have been tested in the crucible of real life. The best way to use the book is to read thoughtfully and think about how you might apply their discoveries to your homeschool setting.

They also have written a second book, You Don't Have to Go Home From Work Exhausted, which I have never read, but I understand that it is helpful for people who are burned out.

Why am I mentioning burnout at the beginning of the year? Because I know that some of you are realizing, as you face another year, that you are not refreshed. You are still tired. You may even dread, as I did some years, the shouldering of yet another school season. This means you must make changes. You must do less and delegate more. You can discover what and how with Time Management for Unmanageable People .

Please note: I did not receive any compensation or free merchandise in exchange for my written review or my opinion about this book.


Have you ever read a book on time management? Did it help you? Did you enjoy it?


  1. This is a great reminder to pull my copy out, once again. I am the divergent, big-picture, messy-creative, spontaneous woman who realizes that she works best with order and structure in her world. Talk about a dichotomy. Try living inside my skin for a week, or better yet, stop by unannounced, and you'll get a view of life as it really happens.

    I commend the book, too. It gave voice to my "problem" and hope for remedy.

    Now, I go back to crafting my life vest for this year! (i.e., Mom's organizer :)

    Thanks, Cassandra!

  2. I have read plenty on time it is time for me to implement! :O)


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