Overcoming Time Poverty by Bill Quain PhD

September 26, 2013 • Book Club

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Overcoming Time Poverty: How to Achieve More by Working Less

By Bill Quain PhD

Book Review

Why I bought this book

I always feel rushed. Even when I am ‘forcing’ myself to take a break and just enjoy life for what it is, I feel like I ought to be doing something. When I talk to my friends on the phone when I am working I feel as though I am missing out on doing something important. When I talk to them on my day off I feel as though I am not achieving anything because they seem so busy. I knew I needed to let go of that. Purely psychological I know but I couldn’t help but feel that way.

I needed something that I could read that wouldn’t take me forever to read. And this book was dirt cheap so I decided to buy it as one of my charter flight reads. (*on charter flights I tend to read or meditate because there are never any movies. Movies trump everything else always. I love movies.)

What I liked

One of the first things Bill points out that really grabbed me was his definition of lifetime. We all have this unsaid notion when we do things that we have time. I mean, face it. We all know at some point our number’s going to get called, but there never seems to be any sense of urgency in a lot of the things that we do. Because we assume we’ll still get the chance to take that holiday we’ve been wanting, or take up our hobby again, or break out of our dead-end job sometime. Some time…. And the first point that he made which really resonated was about learning to look at life not as an hourglass, but more like half of an hourglass. Which once you tip over the sand just starts to pour out the other end. You can’t tip it back up again and start over.

When you think about it that way it makes you realise that life is indeed finite. Really.

Another reason I bought this is because secretly I am a fan of how American entrepreneurs work. I am subscribed to plenty of podcasts on business entrepreneurship and self-motivation, and only one of them is British. I don’t know what it is, but the can-do attitude is definitely what I love! Bill brings it home though particularly with his concept of The Leverage Game. Karl Marx would have been proud. In theory it’s perfect. It is essentially getting people to do work for you because it benefits them, and not just because you are paying them. I suppose in practice there will always be the element of employees seeking to get as much from their ‘boss’ for minimal exertion as possible and vice versa. But even Bill acknowledges that even 1% of the effort of 100 people trumps 100% of the effort of 1 person.

It’s a book to live by if you want to start to embrace time and feel ok about it. I’m in the early stages of this really, but it gives you a practical breakdown of how things work and where you could fit in if you started to become more disciplined with your time, your productivity, learning to let go of certain areas you exert control, understanding how to get the best out of yourself and other people, as well as what to start thinking about when you have money to save. And more importantly it’s about learning to reward yourself.  I’m not sure at what point in the book I actually started to accept giving myself Sundays off. But now I actually have a work (and computer) free Sunday spent with family because that is what is important to me. And I love it!

What I didn’t like

About the book; not a lot really. I read it in a stop-start fashion though. It had to stay on my bed-stand a few months because in a lot of ways I wasn’t ready to hear what it was telling me. But that is no fault of the author. It was well-written, blunt and to the point. And when you are ready to absorb what it has to tell you then you will probably discover this too.

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