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Posted by Berrett-Koehler Staff.
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San Francisco, CA -- These days, many businesses have cut their staffs in an effort to save the bottom line. As a result, the truncated workforce must somehow do more with less, and they cannot even complain about it. Employees know they are lucky enough to have a job in this economy and are working longer hours just to stay employed.
Yet studies have repeatedly shown that sixty-hour workweeks result in a 25 percent decrease in productivity. The productivity numbers get worse as the work hours increase, because exhaustion steadily erodes judgment and performance. According to a government report released in August 2011, American productivity declined for two consecutive quarters for the first time since 2008.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THERE’S TOO MUCH TO DO (Berrett-Koehler, July 2012) is the first book that teaches readers how to actually do less and achieve more. For over 20 years, Laura Stack has been teaching professionals how to transform their ever-expanding to-do lists into a functional, workable system. In this book, she describes a comprehensive approach that organizes life around the tasks that really matter, and shows it’s ok to let go of the ones that don’t.
“Never confuse activity with productivity,” says Stack. “Everyone has too much to do, and nobody really cares how many tasks you crossed off a to-do list if key projects keep falling through the cracks.” Instead, Stack suggests splitting to-do lists into a Master List and a High Impact Tasks list, or “HIT List.” While the Master lists tracks everything that needs to get done, the HIT list includes only a reasonable number of items that can be accomplished within a day. Stack introduces the concept of triage, derived from the medical field, to assign levels of urgency of each item:
P1: You will get fired if this isn’t done today.
P2: A valuable long-term activity that should be done soon.
P3: Someone will be unhappy if this isn’t done eventually.
P4: Human “pain-management” activities such as socializing or Facebook.
Reduce, reduce, reduce! is Stack’s mantra. Employees can’t work any harder than they already are, so they must find ways to work smarter. Avoiding time-wasters, such as social media, gossiping, and arriving late to work; learning how to say no and not feel bad about it; and establishing routines to help ease the stress of decision making are just some of the additional tips that Stack explores in her book.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THERE’S TOO MUCH TO DO is a timely and necessary book that will help readers find time to do what really matters, at work and home.
About the Author
Laura Stack is president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., and president of the National Speakers Association. Her client list includes Starbucks, Wal-Mart, IBM, GM, MillerCoors, Lockheed Martin, Wells Fargo, and Time Warner. For twenty years, she has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces. Stack is the author of four other books, including Leave the Office Earlier (Random House, 2004).
What to Do When There’s Too Much To Do
Reduce Tasks, Increase Results, and Save 90 Minutes a Day
By Laura Stack
July 2012; $15.95; 192 pages