The latest title by executive coach and podcast host Stever Robbins is not intended for workaholics cursed with the tendency to condemn themselves to a soulless life.
"The book will be useful only if you get to enjoy the fruits of your own efforts," writes Robbins in Get-it-Done Guy's 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More. "If you get better at what you do and then overload yourself, you're no better off... Spend your newfound free time doing things that are fun, meaningful and life-enriching."
Drawing from years of experience in the coaching business, Robbins, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University graduate, is also an entrepreneur and a member of nine business startups, offers a repository of tips, tools and techniques to help readers reclaim their lives, step-by-step.
First, identify your goals and dreams - otherwise what is there to work less and do more for? Countless books have been published claiming to give pointers on how to find our passion in life, but few have put forward an approach as effective as Robbins'. Try one of his suggestions: "Grab your paper and write down 20 answers to the question of [what would have been a better life for you]... Once you have your list, close your eyes and put your finger down at random. Open your eyes. Congratulations - whatever is under your finger is your life purpose."
Now, this may sound ludicrous. What if you don't like it or aren't sure if it is the one? "[Cross] it off the list," Robbins says. "Close your eyes and try again. Keep going until you've found your dream." Eliminating the less important wants and desires until one or two remain provides a simple (and relatively quick) way to help us recognise what we want in life.
Much of the book is devoted to expounding on the various strategies to focus on our tasks. These range from how to beat distraction by learning to say no and grouping related tasks into their own time block, and building relationships to get things done faster, to stop wasting time by drawing up a list that differentiates the types of work that we would like to perfect and ones that we accept as "good enough".
Debunking the myth of multitasking, Robbins says we lose up to 40 per cent of our productivity every time we switch tasks because it takes time for our mind to reorient. So the next time you are working on a presentation, keep writing until you finish creating the piece. Fix the typos and the sentence fragments, and insert the animation and nudges later. Moving forward will let you get into a rhythm of writing and allow your mind to follow your ideas all the way to the end.
With a wealth of wisdom and a sense of humour, the book is a light but useful read for young job-seekers and executives who want to become the masters of their own lives.