Book Review: Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Mind

Another book read as a result of a tutorial blog suggestion. This was useful in bringing focus to my daily activities and schedule. Manage Your Day-To-Day is a collection of twenty articles listed in four categories (and a couple of additional articles to introduce and wrap up the book) by as many different authors. It’s edited by Jocelyn K. Glei.

Section one is Building A Rock-Solid Routine and includes one of my favorite blog authors, Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. These five articles set reasons for why having a regular set of activities done regularly (preferably daily) and using specific triggers (location, setting, ambiance) help key your mind to be effective and creative. Consistency and habit work together to build inertia and increase productivity.

Chapter two is Finding Focus In A Distracted World. Today’s information rich environment provides excessive opportunity for distraction (ding…another e-mail has arrived) and this chapter suggests ways to strengthen your resolve to avoid distractions. It also includes an article debunking the multi-tasking myth (human brains are wired to focus on only one thing at a time, so what we really do is task switching and each change adds overhead reducing overall effectiveness). Several good reminders here that I am trying to implement in my own environment (SQUIRREL!).

Taming Your Tools is a chapter that deals with the over consumption of information (rather than using “information overload” as an excuse… it’s not the information’s fault we look at it) and hov to bring sanity into the use of social media and e-mail. The world really WON’T end if we don’t immediately check each e-mail that comes in (unless you happen to be a SAC commander or bomber pilot). A reminder of who is wielding who.

The last chapter is Sharpening Your Creative Mind, giving several ideas about ways to enhance and produce creativity when it’s not flowing of it’s own accord. For me, the writing on letting go of perfectionism was required reading (perhaps not immediately obvious from reading these posts, I am afraid), several times until it really sunk in (2-3 cm so far). There’s help for what to do when you are “stuck” that was useful.

Overall, the book is an easy read (short articles, though not quite as brief as Rework) but there are a couple of formatting issues I have problems with. To breakup the sections, they used three different colours of paper, so there are some introduction pages in each chapter with white text on red paper, and summaries using white on black paper. While it makes finding the sections quite easy, the contrast, font style, and point size made reading more difficult than necessary (for me, at least), especially the red pages.

There was enough good stuff in here for me to use (some were reminders and some were insights) so I would give it a rating of 41 out of 67. The four times I read it this past week will probably be the last time I rent the book from the library (but at least I know where I can find it if necessary).


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