Foreword Review — Sept / Oct 2002
If questioned, most people would probably cite “more money” as the one thing that would most revolutionize their lives. However, much of that extra money would be used to buy free time, either by decreasing hours worked or purchasing more household services. Thus, today’s most valuable resource is time. The mission of this book is to provide readers with useful strategies to find the time needed to pursue what’s important, whatever that may be.
The authors specialize in human resources management: Sandholtz leads the career development practice at B.T.Novations, an HR consulting firm, and Buckner is the firm’s VP of Consulting Services. Derr and Carlson are both professors of management at business schools. Their book provides no simplistic solutions to the dilemma of balancing the demands of work against the desire for a life. In fact, the authors feel that a busy life is a richer life, and that the responsibilities that most people have taken on are a matter of choice, not necessity. We have become a nation of jugglers, struggling to keep too many balls in the air simultaneously, when it is inevitable that one of the balls, at the least, will tumble to the ground. This discussion comprises part one of the book.
In part two, the authors identify and discuss five strategies as preferable to juggling: alternating, outsourcing, bundling, techflexing, and simplifying. For each of these strategies, the authors offer an aptitude test, so readers can quickly assess how well that strategy may fit their lives. Real-life examples of people who have employed the strategy are presented, as well as an analysis of the tradeoffs inherent in adopting it.
Part three of the book offers an interesting look at the work/life tradeoffs employed in other countries, going well beyond the usual “they get six weeks of vacation in France” discussion. Another quick test provides a way to measure impartially the reader’s own work/life imbalance and how to pull the ideas together to come up with a rebalancing plan. Finally, an appendix presents ideas geared toward professionals and managers in human resources, aimed at making the organizational changes required to better manage in today’s environment.
Practical, realistic, and humorous, this book provides ideas that can immediately make a positive impact on day-to-day living, providing one can stop juggling long enough to read it.