I really, really love checking things off of lists. It’s one of the reasons I chose my Day Designer planner when I was looking for a new one: each day has a to-do list on the same page as my hour-by-hour calendar. Swoon… In many ways, this is a positive trait, since it pushes me to finish things I’ve started. However, it also makes it difficult for me to throw in the towel before I’ve completed something – even when it’s clear that I need to.
In recent years, I’ve come to understand how limited time can be, and have started pulling the plug on things, rather than
spend waste more time on them. Exhibit A: I used to force myself to read all of the articles in magazines, because I didn’t feel like I’d really read the magazine if I didn’t. These days, I give an article a paragraph or two, before deciding if reading on is really how I want to spend my time. I’ve also made this shift with books, and today I’m sharing the decision I just made to stop reading a book I’m only a little more than halfway through.
If you’ve read my fall reading list post
, you know that I Know How She Does It
, by Laura Vanderkam, is on it. I heard the author interviewed on several podcasts this summer, and her time management message really resonated with me. As a result, I picked up several of her books at the library, and decided to start with this one. I started out strong, but have lost my momentum, and haven’t read a single paragraph in several days. (No, the irony of struggling to finish a time management book is not lost on me.) Coincidentally, I read another blogger’s post about the books she had read in September, commented with the books I had read, and mentioned that I’d just started reading I Know How She Does It
. The blogger commented back that she had not been able to get through it, and asked what I thought of it. When I read this reply, something clicked, and I knew that it was time to throw in the towel on this book.
What’s Wrong With It?
I don’t dislike this book, but there are two, big reasons that I’ve lost interest in it. First, I heard the author talk about it several times, so I already knew the message. A little more than halfway through, I haven’t discovered anything that
different from what I heard on the podcasts. As I said, I like the author’s premise: that many of us think we’re busier than we really are, and that while it’s difficult to achieve balance every
day, most people achieve a good amount ofbalance throughout any given week. To demonstrate this, she recommends that people track their time for a week, then review how they spent it. I tracked my own time for a week, and while I wasn’tsurprised about how I spent most of it, it was helpful for me to see just how unfocused I can be when I’m not at work, and juggling home, blog, and parenting. Adding more structure to my at-home days would definitely be helpful. (If you’d like to track your time, Laura Vanderkam provides free documents for doing so here
The second reason I lost interest in I Know How She Does It
, is that it’s not exactly applicable to me. The messages about prioritization and time management definitely apply to everyone, but the target audience for this book is full-time, working mothers, who earn $100,000 or more per year. Mother? Check! Work full-time? Nope. Earn $100,000. Negative. The women profiled in the book all met these criteria, and the descriptions of how they spend their time were interesting, but not particularly relatable for me.
So, after renewing the book from the library, and carrying it around my house for several days, I’ve pulled out my bookmark and set I Know How She Does It
in the library return pile. What am I picking up next? Drumroll please…
Have you decided to set aside any books before you finished them?
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