The 3 secrets to effective time investment

Word count: 263 words

Reading time: About 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help writers. Today, I look at the topic of time management in a new book by Elizabeth Grace Saunders. 

I’ve told you before that I’m a big fan of Cal Newport, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. Cal produces an insightful blog called Study Hacks, in which he advises students on how to become more successful. I share his views on many things — especially the value of deliberate practice — so when he endorses a book, I take his advice.

Sadly, I can’t say I loved his latest recommendation. The book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment by Elizabeth Grace Saunders promises to turn traditional time management on its head. I can’t say it did that for me. I like the way she focuses on the deep psychology of delay and procrastination but I found her writing style dull and pedantic.

I’m guessing you probably want to hear her three secrets, so let me share them with you now:

1. Clarify action-based priorities.

2. Set realistic expectations.

3. Strengthen simple routines.

I don’t disagree with her. But nor do I find anything earth-shattering on this list. And surely the phrase “clarify action-based priorities” could be edited down to “set your priorities.”

Want to do a better job of managing your own time? Think about what you want to do. Do the most important things first. Reward yourself for doing them. You probably don’t need to read a book to figure that out.

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