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April 22, 2009 > Business Bookclub: "The Power of Less" by Leo Babauta, read by Fred Stella

Business Bookclub: "The Power of Less" by Leo Babauta, read by Fred Stella

Just like everybody else, you have 24 hours in a day.

You sleep some of it away. You eventually have to take time for daily ablutions, nutrition, and a few minutes to catch your breath, no matter how quick. But at the end of the day, it always seems like you have more task than you have time.

What would you say to doing less and getting more out of your 24 hours? Pick up the new audiobook "The Power of Less" by Leo Babauta, and you may discover the secret to better time management.

No doubt about it, fighting distraction is a big part of your workday. It's difficult to resist the lure of e-mail and easy to justify going on Facebook or Twitter (they're networking, right?). Check last night's scores, your horoscope, and before you know it, you've wasted an hour of your day.

So what to do? First, author Leo Babauta says, set limitations and "choose the essential to maximize time and energy". Playing online isn't networking, it's playing online; in fact, he says, you probably don't even need to check e-mail more than twice a day and you can usually reply in 5 sentences or less.

Every morning when you get up, decide on what Babauta calls the MIT: the Most Important Tasks. Choose three MITs each day, then batch them for maximum efficiency. Start small and learn to focus.

Stay informed by reading a blog or magazine or participating in an online forum. Try to do your absolute best on one big project, rather than working on a bunch of smaller ones. If the boss asks you to complete a task, carefully assess what he or she is asking you to do. Once you get going, find "flow" and immerse yourself in the work.

At the end of the day, try to simplify and relax. Clear the clutter from your desk, your home, and your life. Learn to eat, drink, and drive slower. And don't forget to take care of yourself - if you get more time by doing less, you'll want to be healthy enough to enjoy it.

In today's workplace, where twenty people want your job and you're being asked to do more and more, does it make sense to slow your pace?

I didn't think so, either.

Author Leo Babauta has some good ideas, in theory. Who wouldn't like to focus on a mere three tasks each day? Who wouldn't jump at the chance to participate in an "online forum" during worktime? All these things are wonderful if you can get away with them, but Babauta's program is filled with what I think most executives would consider a waste of precious time and - since a good chunk of this audiobook is devoted to meticulous (and common-sense) diet and exercise advice - a waste of good money.

If you think you have the luxury of slowing down your pace at work, give this audiobook a whirl. For most workin' folks, though, "The Power of Less" is a lot less useful.

c.2008, Brilliance Audio
$19.99
4 CDs / approx. 4 hours

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