Can scientists really learn from Get-It-Done-Guy?

I just want to send out a quick note of congratulations to Harvard & MIT-trained start-up veteran, writer, podcaster, and time management expert, Stever Robbins (is his given name really “Stever?”), on the publication of his book, The Get-It-Done-Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More.

You’re probably wondering why a scientist would care about yet another of these business and self-improvement books by “gurus.”

Well, I can’t yet comment on the whole book yet (I’ve requested a review copy) but I have read his freebie chapter on his “social media news release” site.  His stuff is a bit too “rah-rah” for me but there Robbins offers the chapter entitled, Step 2: Stop Procrastinating (free PDF), that contains a few practical tools to stay on task that I’ve not yet seen before.

In fact, he starts off talking about how he had been procrastinating for two days on writing this very chapter (grad students and profs can just substitute “dissertation chapter” or “manuscript”) and proceeds to talk about setting up a timer and alternating between on-task and off-task work to build up to more on-task time. This is not dissimilar from starting a running program where alternates periods of running and walking, slowly building up the percentage of time spent running.

Thanks to some colleagues who are more business-driven in the sciences, I’ve benefited from reading some of the more practical of these books to try and stay organized and on-task, particularly with writing.  Partly due to the nature of my more administrative work these days, I’ve learned from Steven Covey’s books that I can sometimes be what he calls an “urgency addict” and tend to find it easier to work on immediate matters than on long-term projects. I think there are many like us in the sciences and academic medicine.

Many of these kinds of books are common sense and others give very practical tips for you to implement in your work and home life, regardless of your background. I’ve also noticed that a lot of these kinds of books employ take-charge techniques used by cognitive behavioral therapists to help people work through anxiety and depression.

So, I look forward to reading this book.  And, as always, I’m committed to disclosure and disclaimers. I will let you know whether I have received a book for free or paid for it myself. In this case, publicist Nina Martin contacted me via my old site at ScienceBlogs to ask if I’d be interested in bringing the book to the attention of readers and getting a review copy. I usually focus on science books on my blogs but this one seemed of interest to those of us working to increase our productivity in science and medicine.  So, what the heck.

I’ll let you know what I think – if I can fit reading the book into my schedule.

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5 Responses to Can scientists really learn from Get-It-Done-Guy?

  1. daniel.lende says:

    David,
    Sounds like you and I both need this book! An urgency addict, I like it. I always say that I’m not a procrastinator, I’m deadline driven. Of course big projects like a manuscript have no inherent deadline…

    I like your comparison to running – time on task and time off. That hit home, because I’ve done exactly that.

    And just so you know, I should be working on that manuscript this morning… but I’m procrastinating.

  2. antipodean says:

    Shouldn’t we be highly suspicious of guys called Robbins telling us how to run our lives better for one low price of just $XX

    Plus teh bloggoverse is just a massive excuse for procrastination in the first place.

  3. mangrist says:

    In the South he’s known as “Git ‘er Dun Guy.”

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  5. Synchronium says:

    I’ll get round to reading that free chapter tomorrow, maybe…