|Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An inspiring and thought-provoking look at our approach to work and life. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320/8h 17m||Date: November 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Serendipity often brings you to the important books. Recently I heard myself say to a friend: I'm far too busy to do some of the important stuff. It pulled me up short: there was definitely something wrong here - and then I had the opportunity to listen to an audio download of Busy and I knew that it was something I had to do and take notice of if I was to stop going backwards. Because that was what I was doing.
I felt a shock of recognition as soon as I began listening to Tony Crabbe's narration. He talks about people who get their first shot of email and then a cup of coffee in a morning. Now I don't do that - but only because I've checked my emails before I get out of bed and I don't drink coffee. From then on I spend most of the day reacting to what comes in via email and snail mail and working hard - overloaded and overcommitted - to go in the wrong direction. But if anyone asked how I was doing, how business was I'd proudly say that I was very busy. For Crabbe 'busy' is one of the seven deadly sins - it's a form of avoidance as we allow ourselves to be grabbed by a vicious circle of demands. You might think that time management is the answer - but I can tell you that it's not. I'm very efficient about how I manage my time - and it's making matters worse.
Crabbe wants us to do less - and do it BETTER. We need to rethink how we succeed. I've always maintained that I was good at multitasking, but it seems that the most efficient way of doing something is to concentrate on one thing at a time and only move on to something else when you've completed what you need to do on that task. The human brain is not designed to multitask and there's a considerable waste of effort when we attempt it. Giving something your full attention (open 'files' distract the brain) is the best way forward, and that requires organisation.
There's a wealth of good advice. I was initially resistant to the idea of switching off my email for much of the time (WHAT?) but I've tried it and it works. I don't need to react to everything as it comes in. I now check at certain times, deal with anything which will take me less than two minutes and schedule how I'm going to handle the rest. I've managed, with that one simple move, to change from dealing with inputs almost exclusively and concentrating on outputs, which is what makes my business work. There's excellent advice on how to make meetings work: I was almost sorry that I'm just about able to manage without ever having them!
I'm already following quite a bit of the advice. One of the first things I did was to start a brain dump. Don't worry - it's a notebook with pen attached which is never far from me. When I think of something, I write it down. It might be an idea, something that's nagging me and I just want to get it out of my mind or a thought that might be useful in the future. It's not a to-do list. I go through it every day or so at a convenient moment and decide what to do about the various points. Some of them just get crossed off - but I haven't had to remember them. It's amazing how much of my mind it frees up.
The most important lesson I've learned from the book is that it's my attention I need to manage, not my time. I need to practice giving my full attention to what I'm doing rather than allowing my brain to flit from task to task (or even pleasure to pleasure - and not getting full value out of any of them). I am determined not to live my life in thin slices.
Sometimes the author of a book does not make the best narrator, but I was impressed by Tony Crabbe's reading. His voice is clear and easy on the ear. Best of all he sounds so approachable.
I've skimmed over the content of the book for this review: there is a lot more which could well be to your benefit. I'd like to thank the publishers for allowing me to listen to an audio download.
If this book appeals to you then we know that you'll get a lot out of Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
You could get a free audio download of Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe at Amazon.com.
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