Wipe Out Your Time Bandits

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I was a bit turned off by the tone of The Time Bandit Solution in the beginning. Brown spent so much time trying to convince me that this book was going to change my life. He came across as pushy, and all I really wanted him to do was get to the point already.

However, once Brown did get to the point, wow, there was a whole lot of good advice to love. The gist of this book is simple: you don’t get anything done if you are interrupted all the time. So you have to find a way to convince your most common Time Bandits (usually your boss[es], coworkers, clients, spouse, children, etc.) to allow you to have uninterrupted stretches of time to concentrate on whatever task you need to get done. And since that is a seemingly impossible task, Brown spends most of the book giving advice, guidance, and scripts for how to go about the convincing your Time Bandits that mutual uninterrupted time will be mutually beneficial.

So most of this book, ultimately, is about how to sell; in this case, you are selling an idea to someone who may be reluctant to agree with you. And Brown clearly knows how to sell. His advice is really good. I actually felt like I learned a lot from this book about how to interact with people more effectively, as well as how to structure my day most efficiently. Here are some of my favorite pieces of advice:

  • If someone objects to what you’re selling, rejoice! You are on your way to closing the deal, because the person is actually opening herself up to being convinced or persuaded.
  • All objections to any sale belong to one of four categories:
    1) No Need–I’m already too busy or We already have a good plan in place.
    2) Distrust–How do I know you aren’t just taking advantage of me?
    3) Inconvenience–This isn’t a good thing to discuss at this time.
    4) I don’t understand–How does this all work?
  • Don’t do things “as they come up.” Match your most difficult and energy-consuming tasks to your peak energy levels during the day.
  • Make sure to do homogenous and repetitive tasks (like email or phone calls) at the same time, all at once.

I also really appreciated Brown’s “psychotherapeutic techniques” for developing resilience and keeping a positive attitude.

It isn’t the easiest thing to convince your Time Bandits that uninterrupted quiet times are beneficial for everyone–especially in my case; my Bandits are three very young children. But I did learn why having uninterrupted time to complete a task is so very important. And that, in turn, helped me have some insight into why I’ve been so frustrated doing bits and pieces of twenty different tasks at the same time. (Welcome to parenthood.)

Ultimately, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a bit dense at parts, but, overall, I thought Brown was incredibly insightful and gave very practical advice.

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