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HBR Guide to Getting the Right Work Done

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IS YOUR WORKLOAD SLOWING YOU—AND YOUR CAREER—DOWN? Your inbox is overflowing. You’re paralyzed because you have too much to do but don’t know where to start. Your to-do list never seems to get any shorter. You leave work exhausted but have little to show for it. It’s time to learn how to get the right work done. In the HBR Guide to Getting the Right Work Done, you’ll discover IS YOUR WORKLOAD SLOWING YOU—AND YOUR CAREER—DOWN? Your inbox is overflowing. You’re paralyzed because you have too much to do but don’t know where to start. Your to-do list never seems to get any shorter. You leave work exhausted but have little to show for it. It’s time to learn how to get the right work done. In the HBR Guide to Getting the Right Work Done, you’ll discover how to focus your time and energy where they will yield the greatest reward. Not only will you end each day knowing you made progress—your improved productivity will also set you apart from the pack. Whether you’re a new professional or an experienced one, this guide will help you: • Prioritize and stay focused • Work less but accomplish more • Stop bad habits and develop good ones • Break overwhelming projects into manageable pieces • Conquer e-mail overload • Write to-do lists that really work


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IS YOUR WORKLOAD SLOWING YOU—AND YOUR CAREER—DOWN? Your inbox is overflowing. You’re paralyzed because you have too much to do but don’t know where to start. Your to-do list never seems to get any shorter. You leave work exhausted but have little to show for it. It’s time to learn how to get the right work done. In the HBR Guide to Getting the Right Work Done, you’ll discover IS YOUR WORKLOAD SLOWING YOU—AND YOUR CAREER—DOWN? Your inbox is overflowing. You’re paralyzed because you have too much to do but don’t know where to start. Your to-do list never seems to get any shorter. You leave work exhausted but have little to show for it. It’s time to learn how to get the right work done. In the HBR Guide to Getting the Right Work Done, you’ll discover how to focus your time and energy where they will yield the greatest reward. Not only will you end each day knowing you made progress—your improved productivity will also set you apart from the pack. Whether you’re a new professional or an experienced one, this guide will help you: • Prioritize and stay focused • Work less but accomplish more • Stop bad habits and develop good ones • Break overwhelming projects into manageable pieces • Conquer e-mail overload • Write to-do lists that really work

30 review for HBR Guide to Getting the Right Work Done

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    How the fuck did I end up buying another collection of blog posts? I'm sure in the olden days, publishing had a term for these random compilations of non-fiction and they were seen as a wonderful thing, but for me they're just the fetid piles of textual bullshit littering the Amazon plains into which the unwary traveller will step. That said, there was an article in there that stood out as excellent: "Who's Got the Monkey" by William Oncken Jr and Donald L. Wass. Google it and you'll find it onli How the fuck did I end up buying another collection of blog posts? I'm sure in the olden days, publishing had a term for these random compilations of non-fiction and they were seen as a wonderful thing, but for me they're just the fetid piles of textual bullshit littering the Amazon plains into which the unwary traveller will step. That said, there was an article in there that stood out as excellent: "Who's Got the Monkey" by William Oncken Jr and Donald L. Wass. Google it and you'll find it online. It's formulated in manager/subordinate terms, but the basic idea is that "what do you think?" is a way of passing the buck. Once someone says it, now the monkey is on your back. The monkey is a magnificent way to personify obligation, and today's obligations come from email as much as from meeting requests or opinion requests. I don't know that I endorse the recommendations they have, but I am all about reframing email and social networks as obligations as well as boons. When you look at your inbox as a pile of obligations rather than opportunities, you can feel a lot better about culling. The rest of the book is a mix of Gina Trapani's lifehacker todo list stuff (good, but seen elsewhere) and the shallowest tritest advice on the face of the earth (exercise for energy, avoid big pushes at the end of projects, etc.). Avoid this book, find the Monkey article elsewhere.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sry Handini Puteri

    A type of book that is easy to digest, very relevant to read it if you're currently in Work From Home setting because of the pandemic. A type of book that is easy to digest, very relevant to read it if you're currently in Work From Home setting because of the pandemic.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sadaf Matinkhoo

    Lots of tips and tricks gathered into one book. The short-article style of the book made it very concise and easy to read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Artem Fedorov

    This book has become a revelation for me. This is not a real book; it’s just a set of different Harvard Business Review articles about productivity, GTD, staying focused and etc. However, it’s a brilliant collection! Simple and understandable tips that you can begin practicing right now. Book without harangue, without unnecessary theories and discussions. This “HBR Guide” gives you a core of efficiency. If you get up on the way of GTD and productivity this book will be an excellent assistant for This book has become a revelation for me. This is not a real book; it’s just a set of different Harvard Business Review articles about productivity, GTD, staying focused and etc. However, it’s a brilliant collection! Simple and understandable tips that you can begin practicing right now. Book without harangue, without unnecessary theories and discussions. This “HBR Guide” gives you a core of efficiency. If you get up on the way of GTD and productivity this book will be an excellent assistant for you. You can find good and helpful advices in this book even you have already know a lot about productivity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Useful introductions to a number of productivity techniques and solutions, but ultimately feels like an advertising exercise for prominent HBR authors' books and blogs. Useful introductions to a number of productivity techniques and solutions, but ultimately feels like an advertising exercise for prominent HBR authors' books and blogs.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maryam Baslar

    Good advices, implemented some. Yet, I could have read a collection of articles online instead.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Martin Omedo

    Everybody is busy and busy is a good thing, right? It kind of demonstrates that you’re working, that you have a lot of things to do, that you’re moving things forward, that your work matters. But being busy doesn’t mean that you are doing the right things. You can be busy doing things that don’t move the needle, or you can get hung up on details that no one cares about. The ability to prioritize is a very important skill, to make sure that, when you’re busy, you’re focusing on the most important t Everybody is busy and busy is a good thing, right? It kind of demonstrates that you’re working, that you have a lot of things to do, that you’re moving things forward, that your work matters. But being busy doesn’t mean that you are doing the right things. You can be busy doing things that don’t move the needle, or you can get hung up on details that no one cares about. The ability to prioritize is a very important skill, to make sure that, when you’re busy, you’re focusing on the most important things, the ones that will have the biggest impact. This book basically takes you through strategies on how to manage your time in an environment that seems very busy with loads of emails and filled up activity plans. Most importantly, it takes you through ways to focus on what matters in an activity - the outcome.

  8. 5 out of 5

    James

    Some useful ideas and reminders. Was worth the read for me. But in other ways it’s a bit out of date. E.g. - some of the tech tools it recommends feel old or don’t exist anymore - it has a lot of tips for managing email overload, which isn’t a big problem in Slack-oriented companies - highlights importance of sleep, which i think has become more common knowledge in the past 10 years Good insights on - delegation - prioritizing key objectives - busting through procrastination - working in concentrated b Some useful ideas and reminders. Was worth the read for me. But in other ways it’s a bit out of date. E.g. - some of the tech tools it recommends feel old or don’t exist anymore - it has a lot of tips for managing email overload, which isn’t a big problem in Slack-oriented companies - highlights importance of sleep, which i think has become more common knowledge in the past 10 years Good insights on - delegation - prioritizing key objectives - busting through procrastination - working in concentrated bursts But there may be other, better, newer resources with updated research backing them. My copy was published in 2012.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ian Burrell

    This is not a coherent strategy but a collation of articles, which form a number of suggested fixes to improve productivity and focus. Read through a pick out any that appeal, try them, if they work, keep them, if not, ditch them. Not every fix will suit everyone, but there are enough here that there is bound to be something to help, be it effective to-do lists, getting those projects done, or taming your email. The short articles are easily digested in small bites, and if any help it is worth rea This is not a coherent strategy but a collation of articles, which form a number of suggested fixes to improve productivity and focus. Read through a pick out any that appeal, try them, if they work, keep them, if not, ditch them. Not every fix will suit everyone, but there are enough here that there is bound to be something to help, be it effective to-do lists, getting those projects done, or taming your email. The short articles are easily digested in small bites, and if any help it is worth reading.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Perihan Aslı

    A nice guide to begin time management. Besides involving business themes like e-mail management or division of labour, the book also contains information about developing good habits while stopping bad ones and learning prioritization. Some tips were developed by experts of the relevant area and one may easily continue on reading their books on time management. The book has also one of the most general topics of the “HBR Guide To” series in my opinion.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashfaque

    Good book if you are looking for basic tips to manage your work and life . Helps you build awareness on how to execute what is important instead of being all over the place. However the concepts get repeated and the book could have lesser chapters. The book also fails to provide any innovative hacks that deserve a wow. In summary a good basic book for prioritizing and executing your day at work.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David

    Pretty helpful. I started on this hoping to get a handle on my email problem. Got a number of good advices (e.g., if you don't want email, start by not sending one, ignore til it breaks...). I put them into practice and it is actually working. Pretty helpful. I started on this hoping to get a handle on my email problem. Got a number of good advices (e.g., if you don't want email, start by not sending one, ignore til it breaks...). I put them into practice and it is actually working.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Satya Faturakhmat

    A good quick read and act as a refresher if you have already read many books or articles about management or productivity. I found some interesting stuff on delegating and setting goals. You might find something too, if you decide to read this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diego Cruz

    The book is very practical and well attends the reader who needs a focused guide on productivity. The content quality varies a lot depeding on the author. In general, a very good compilation about the theme.

  15. 5 out of 5

    sadiq

    A good reminder for anyone who constantly deviates from productivity plans. short, apt and actionable

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pablo

    It’s a good book to collect recommendations and ideas of things to do if you like to improve your productivity. Good collection of articles for HBR

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Features the basics of time and effort management. A good primer if you are new to supervision/delegation or struggling to prioritize your work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maria de Fátima Layme Del Solar

    The book talks about how to manage your time and step to step it teaches you how to recognize your priorities.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dieu Nguyen

    Quite boring from chap 3.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Milad Gholamhosseini

    It's one of the greatest books on improving my productivity! It's one of the greatest books on improving my productivity!

  21. 4 out of 5

    NM

    Short chapters carrying a ton of information. Precise ideas with focused outcomes. Good read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    محمد بن عبدالعزيز

    Nice and practical articles on managing task and to-do lists for a better productivity.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rajiv Vohra

    The articles are filled with lot of micro habits to take away for getting the right work done. My favourite had been Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nguyễn Thái

    it provides some good advice & remind you about how you are allocating your time

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Nothing unheard of, but good tips to refresh on - and with its “blog-like” style, was able to quickly re-read in one afternoon / evening.

  26. 4 out of 5

    James Zhang

    Great summary on a number of executable strategies to boost your productivity. Best to read a chapter at a time giving enough time to reflect.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Averousi Tiara

    There was a day when my boss suggested me to increase how to prioritizing tasks and how should I maintain the deadlines. Then out of nowhere, I found this book in my office bookshelves. The book provides a lot of tips to prioritize and how you maintain your time which are proven by high level people such as CEOs and many more. Also, I got recommendations for how to work in long term project that sometimes exhausting and scary, LOL. I served as product manager in my company and delegating task is There was a day when my boss suggested me to increase how to prioritizing tasks and how should I maintain the deadlines. Then out of nowhere, I found this book in my office bookshelves. The book provides a lot of tips to prioritize and how you maintain your time which are proven by high level people such as CEOs and many more. Also, I got recommendations for how to work in long term project that sometimes exhausting and scary, LOL. I served as product manager in my company and delegating task is one of my duties, yet it is a pain. Fortunately, many people in this world has same problem and the book gives tips to delegate to the monkey (yes, it written as monkey). I recommend this book for someone who keep searching how to delegate, how to maintain tasks and prioritizing them, and how to keep productive in less time. The book shares a lot of experiences from experts and people who already tried the tips. Cons: In my opinion, the book has too many tips that sometimes I got confused which are the best practices. Then I realize this is not about number but how you implement a chosen tips as our habit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tse Han

    When I started out reading this book, I thought I already knew what most of the productivity principles that would be covered as I have read a few productivity books and blog posts by some of the authors of the articles contained. So, I was pleasantly surprised that there was still a lot more that I did not know. For instance, I wasn't aware of the work done on energy cycles and why we should attempt to work in 90 minute cycles with breaks in between to ensure better productivity. Also the concep When I started out reading this book, I thought I already knew what most of the productivity principles that would be covered as I have read a few productivity books and blog posts by some of the authors of the articles contained. So, I was pleasantly surprised that there was still a lot more that I did not know. For instance, I wasn't aware of the work done on energy cycles and why we should attempt to work in 90 minute cycles with breaks in between to ensure better productivity. Also the concept about the monkey on the back and how it pertains to the problem of delegation was novel and certainly had me thinking about how this applies in my daily practice -- and specifically who is working for whom. The other interesting take home was about the different levels of initiative that can be demonstrated by your subordinates and how and why we should avoid levels 1 and 2. All in all, this was a worthwhile read and a book that I will be re-reading in a few months time to see if there is any more improvements I can attempt.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hester

    Some content I'd read before and some I liked seeing for the first time: Oncken's Management Time: Who's Got the Monkey - key is to keep the monkey off your back if it's not your work. 'Monkeys should be fed or shot. Otherwise it starves to death and person wastes valuable time on post mortems or attempted resurrections.' Tony Schwarz's Ritual: How to Get Important Work Done - create rituals that are specific behaviors, done at precise times so they become automatic and don't take effort to mainta Some content I'd read before and some I liked seeing for the first time: Oncken's Management Time: Who's Got the Monkey - key is to keep the monkey off your back if it's not your work. 'Monkeys should be fed or shot. Otherwise it starves to death and person wastes valuable time on post mortems or attempted resurrections.' Tony Schwarz's Ritual: How to Get Important Work Done - create rituals that are specific behaviors, done at precise times so they become automatic and don't take effort to maintain. E.g. go to bed at same time every day, work out first thing, start workday with most important task identified day before and write task/idea down so you don't keep worrying about it. Bregman's work cycles - 15 minutes for easy/quick tasks, 35 minutes of big/important work and 10 min break. Manage Your Energy Not Your Time. Tony Schwarz's and David Allen's interview - create specific goals, broken into manageable tasks to feel successful and motivated. Peter Bregman's distraction quiz on PeterBregman.com

  30. 5 out of 5

    Phạm Nguyễn Khôi Nguyên

    Very useful for anyone want to balance their life by focusing on the most meaningful and beautiful tasks

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