Don’t Read This Book: Time Management For Creative People, by Donald Roos
This book is mildly amusing and full of entertaining stories and pictures, but it can be seen as a promotion of a tool that the author helped create called a “To Don’t List” that is an app on Apple but not apparently on Google phones at present. More to the point, if that is all that this book had to offer it would not be very impressive, but this book does have more to offer than a sales pitch and so it is worth appreciating as a way to encourage creative people to do more by doing less. Rather than indulging in calls to multi-task, the authors urge the reader to pick the most important things to do, the things that both inspire our passions and that we can do better than others, and to focus on these few important things. Presumably, the authors assume that that which is not to be done is going to be passed on to someone else, which may be an optimistic scenario for some people. Nevertheless, the book does assume that its market is going to be creative people who have already achieved some degree of success in life as entrepreneurs or managers or something of that kind, at least.
This book is a short one at about 150 pages, many of them filled with pictures and drawings that make the overall word count of the book quite low and as a result make this book an easy one to read even for those who have a busy schedule. The book begins with a discussion of why creative people need time management, mainly because creative people have lots of ideas and it is impossible to flesh out all of them, especially when one adds all the mundane activities that fill our lives and waste our time. After that the author introduces the aforementioned “to don’t list” that he will return to in this book over and over again. Finally, the author divides the rest of the book into three chapters that look at how creative people can use time management in three aspects of life, namely life, work, and projects. When it comes to life, the author urges readers to make a plan. When it comes to work, the author points to the importance of creating a routine. Finally, when it comes to projects, the author posits that it is necessary to leave out extras.
What elevates this book from a simple sales pitch which could be moderately irritating to something that is worthwhile and generally enjoyable to read is the way that the author weaves his own stories and those of other people into his discussion. The author is realistic, pointing out that it might be necessary to do projects that do not thrill or interest someone but that can be done to pay the bills, but that once one has enough passionate and profitable projects that one no longer needs to work merely for money as is the case for so many people. Likewise, the author tells a humorous story of a woman whose dream job was to work at a company that made Apple’s original mouse, which if I remember it correctly was a horrible one-button monstrosity. The advice the author gives, even if it is a bit strident, is certainly good advice. Individuals should, as much as possible, seek to pare down life as much as possible so that creation can come through routines that focus our lives on what we do best and most profitably, a fine assumption if one can outsource that which one does not like to do or do well to others.