Time management is no doubt a universal topic. Especially in today’s productivity-focused society, most — if not all — people want to know the secret to managing their time more effectively. The Skinny on Time Management: How To Maximize Your 24-Hour Gift aims to do just that: provide the best of the best of time management advice in a slim, CliffsNotes-style book.
This book is one of many in the Skinny On… series, which was founded by attorney and entrepreneur Jim Randel. The concept is that Randel reads through tons of writings on a topic, handpicks the important points and highlights them in mini-book form. When it comes to time management, according to Randel, after reading 100 articles and books on the topic, he noticed that “all the writings say pretty much the same thing.” Thereby, The Skinny on Time Management strives to condense all this information, and lays out the 50 principles you need to know.
The book is presented as a cartoon with a series of drawings, large text and bullet points, so it’s easy to breeze through. Randel is portrayed as a stick figure instructor who guides readers on an hour-long lesson — he promises that you’ll read the book in one hour, but it seems to take a bit longer than that.
The Skinny on Time Management is divided into two parts. Part 1 helps you better understand how you spend your time. Specifically, Randel discusses the importance of being aware of time. He shows readers how to keep a time journal so you become “aware of your own theory of relativity,” as Randel calls it. Next, he talks about setting and defining goals, and illustrates how to conduct a goals-steps-time analysis, so you can identify not only your goals but the steps you need to take and how much time they’ll take. The last section in part 1 discusses making choices. Here, Randel briefly talks about making the right decisions, which will need to be in line with your goals.
Part 2 is essentially the meat-and-potatoes of the book, as it gives readers specific tips on time management. It discusses everything from minimizing wasted time to beating procrastination to creating effective to-do lists to increasing focus. Throughout the book, you’ll find humorous tidbits, anonymous quotes and, most importantly, the tips and wise words from experts in the field. It ends with 10 points to remember about time management.
The tone is friendly and the book delivers on its goal of being clear-cut and straightforward. Remember that Randel isn’t presenting any new or revolutionary information on time management. Rather, he’s summarizing what he feels are the most effective techniques and insights from experts. Overall, I think readers will get motivated by this book and find nuggets of wisdom — if they’re unfamiliar with the topic of time management, want an introduction into useful practices (and would like to get it fast) or are bogged down by the various productivity systems out there. Obviously, you won’t find deep discussions of theories here because that’s simply not the nature of this book.
As a whole, I think The Skinny on Time Management: How To Maximize Your 24-Hour Gift accomplishes what it sets out to do: provide a quick-and-dirty look at time management tips that work, and serve as a motivational tool.
The Skinny on Time Management: How To Maximize Your 24-Hour Gift
By Jim Randel
Rand Media Co.: January 2010