In the plethora of books on productivity and time management is a slim little volume titled “Forget The 7 Habits & Break All The Rules” by Trapper and Mark Woods. I read this book when it was first released in late 2007 and just recently finished it again after sitting in on a “webinar” with Trapper Woods last month that dealt with managing time. Much of what was shared in that webinar was written down here so I decided to pick up the book again and look over my highlights from the first reading.
I really enjoyed this book because it broke down the idea of time managment into a simple format that anyone could deal with. Those that know me know that I am a big fan of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” or GTD method or handling tasks. Woods’ ideas stand alone but also can be integrated into GTD to make it a little less intimidating to the newbie. For instance, Woods bases his system on the “bucket” method of tracking items. Each “bucket” is a collection tool you use to track tasks, dates, and other important data. These are a simpler version of the “context” lists that Allen speaks of in his book. Many people don’t want to track @call, @errand, @home, @school, etc…so they revert to something else or give up and continue getting less done and feeling overwhelmed. Woods argues that to make ANY system work, you have to pick tools you will use regularly to jog your memory. For some it’s paper, others electronic, and still other use a mixture (like I do).
For me, the greatest tool I learned about in this book was Woods’ design on a new day planner. The 24/7 Work-Life Planner (at left) was designed by the Woods team and sells through the Day-Planner web site. If you are a linear type of person, then this planner likely isn’t for you. For abstract planners like myself, this design is awesome. As a pastor, my hours aren’t fixed like a typical 9-5 job. This planner allows you to look at every hour of every day and has space in the center for your results list (to do’s) and a notes area (inbox) for you to write down imporant data that comes at you through the day. I have been using this planner in concert with my electronic tools to manage my days since the beginning of last year.
In the end, the book breaks down the idea of task management into a few simple steps. After sharing his system, Woods concludes the book with a section of time management ideas that you can incorporate over the course of a year. 52 tips are shared and many were quite helpful for me (how to plan short, productive phone calls for instance).
The book sells for less than $12 and that’s a bargain. It’s not as well known as some of the larger books because it was self-published and therefore, not as hyped. The book blends well with any system you choose be it Covey, Allen, or even Leo Babauta’s ZTD (Zen to Done) system. I would recommend it to you as a great add-in to your time management books!