Writing the Next Book

I’m in the process of writing  my next book and once again, I’m enjoying the process.

Whereas my last book was a novel, forcing me to learn how to write an interesting story, this book is a traditional how-to: something you’d expect in the genre of time-based productivity.

In some ways it will encapsulate almost all the information I present in my NewHabits and MyTimeDesign training programs. However, I’m learning that writing a book is quite a different way of getting across training content. In the live training I’m there to emphasize and repeat, but in a book I can say things only once or twice for emphasis, in different ways.

Also, there are certain soft spots in my ideas that I can gloss over in my training that I must address in the book. Some of them require a return to the research I used to develop ideas and corroborate hunches. This has been exciting as several insights come together to generate new distinctions altogether.

Coming out on June 1st – Perfect Time-Based Productivity. (The name might change, and the cover is just a mockup.)

perfect 3d short

Taking The Bill Book on a Blog Tour

Luggage_-_Suitcases_1I have just kicked off a virtual blog tour for Bill’s Im-Perfect Time Management Adventure with two interviews from fans of the book, and a mention in the press.

SOS Blog

Andrea Sharb’s blog is written from her point of view as a professional organizer who specializes in corporate clients, some of whom have ADHD. She interviewed me about the reason why the book is so different from the other time management and productivity books that have been published up until this point.

Tara Rodden Robinson’s Blog

Tara’s blog focuses on productivity and improvement in general, and she has quite a loyal following who tune in to listen to her Virtual Study Group. He interview focused on the reasons why we need to focus on developing skills to customize our own approach.

Observer Column – Your Money

Cherryl Hanson-Simpson attended one of our live training sessions and made some immediate changes to her practices. She used Amazon Prime to get a free copy of the book – a great advantage for those who belong to the program. In her column, she shared some of the immediate changes she’s making to her time management system.

To see further reviews, interviews, podcasts and the link related to the blog tour, join us on  the book’s website at http://perfect.mytimedesign.com.

Get Happy Mon! Volkswagen Parody of Jamaicans

Three days before the launch of my book, Bill’s Imperfect Time Management Adventure, comes an advertisement from Volkswagen poking fun at Jamaicans… with a short mention of our relationship to time management.

I didn’t find it offensive… it’s actually the reason why I started studying time management in the first place. When I moved to Jamaica from the USA in 2005, it was a startling experience – I wasn’t able to manage my time as well as I used to. That experience was the creative spark for this website, and my new book, to be released on Amazon Kindle on Friday. Watch this space for more details.

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A “Heckuva” Month – a post Sandy update

October was a “heckuva” month.

Hurricane Sandy made its first landfall here in Jamaica, before lashing out at Cuba, Haiti, The Bahamas and the north-eastern United States.

Everything came to a screeching halt as we lost Internet, water, power and telephone service (but not mobile service.) Fortunately, our home suffered minimal damage and despite a few leaks and scary gusts of wind we made it through unscathed. Many others lost a great deal more, and thankfully only one or two lives were lost here in Jamaica.

When I could muster up enough power to charge my laptop, I was able to make singificant progress on “The Book.” What started as a rather disjoint story at the end of September is now a complete and fairly coherent tale of one professional’s journey from time management 1.0 to 2.0. Without the help of a book or a class, Bill Crossley, the protagonist, is able to overcome his own lack of productivity and the subsequent threat of being fired to craft a new approach to time management that saves his team, and his life, from ruin.

It’s been a steep learning curve for me as the author of my first novel, in the form of a business fable. Humbling, even. I am much more comfortable writing in abstract terms, working with concepts and ideas. The creative process used to write a good piece of fiction is something that I will never, ever take for granted.

When will it be published?

Well, I’m looking at a January launch date – as soon as I can find an editor who feels comfortable with this curious blend of fiction and non-fiction that makes up this particular genre. Other peopular books that follow this method of teaching new ideas include “The Goal” by Eli Goldratt, “Who Moved My Cheese” and “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard. Patrick Lencioni has also completed quite a few books in this genre, including one on being a management consultant that is simply wonderful.

Last thing: my forays into e-Learning in the past year have burnished my commitment to offer online training on a 24-7 basis, rather than the once-in-a-while approach I have taken up until now. Eventually, I’ll be moving to a new video-driven training platform that will replace the current platform by this time next year.

So – stay tuned. There are a few surprises coming up that you might like that I won’t mention yet, including a special offer to take my flgaship online training – MyTimeDedesign 1.1.Plus+



Perfect Time Management – “The Book”

I am in the middle of the third draft of my upcoming book, “Perfect Time Management.” I am in the process of getting some input from a few friendly editors who know a thing or two about Time Management 2.0, and good story-telling.

Once the story holds together I’ll do some copy editing on my own before hiring someone to do a professional job.

It may all sound quite orderly, but be assured… this is my first attempt at a complete book and it’s an unforgiving process. Stuff that looks good today, magically turns into crap tomorrow and I am discovering how much of a “head game” a long creative process really is. It’s not like writing a whole bunch of articles at all…

Stay tuned to this space, as I’ll be passing on more updates as we get closer to the launch  in January 2013.

Finding a Villain for a Business Novel is Tough Work

In my continuous, but pretty ineffective efforts to write “the book,” I have gotten some amazing help from “Techniques of the Selling Writer” by Dwight Swain.

The latest idea I gleaned, just before starting my second reading, is the need to have a villain in my story.

I am not a reader of copious novels, but it’s still amazing to me that I did not see the basic structure of a novel before reading this book, a problem that he says is common among first-time authors.   The “art behind the art” in invisible to the untrained eye, much in the way that good time management skills are believed by some to be in the genes, rather than in their practices.

Of course, now that I look back I can see villains everywhere, or at least in almost all the stories I have read.  It’s amazing what happens when the mind becomes illuminated in a new way… it’s delicious.

So, my book now has a villain called Vernon (aka “Vermin”) Vaz.  He hasn’t showed up in the story yet, but my protagonist’s boss has just recommended that he “work closely with him” because Vernon “produces results.”

Apparently, the management team kinda likes him because he gets the job done, but he’s hated by his peers because he gets it done at their expense, and is only more productive because he puts in marathon hours in the office.

So, just like that… my protagonist has someone to fight with!

According to Swain, it’s all about bringing out emotions in the reader that have been swirling around, felt but unspoken.  A villain certainly does help in this regard!

A Bittersweet Day

It’s been a bittersweet day.

I have been listening to Steven Levy’s book: “In the Plex” and am finding it a fascinating and inspiring read. A part of what has inspired me is the clarity and simplicity of their purpose: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

I felt challenged by it, and how big it is, and I was reminded of the days when I started writing about time management back in 2006. I actually called my first WordPress.com blog an “open-source” site for ideas and thinking about time management as my goal was to find others who were willing to do more than superficial thinking, and share some breakthrough ideas with them. I never intended to earn any revenue, or even teach a class.

I  naively thought it would easy to find others who were thinking along the same lines, and that we’d have fun making time management better. Strangely enough, it’s been easier to find the revenue than find the others who are willing to collaborate!

Yes, there are authors out there, but none has seemed to be willing to engage in questioning  the core ideas that underly their thinking. Some go so far as to say that nothing can be done to improve the systems described in their book!

So, I just kept writing and developing, driven by the idea that something was wrong about the limited options that were available to working people who wanted to get better. I was pissed at the one-size-fits-all credo, fueled to no small degree by the fact that I had recently moved to Jamaica, and become acutely aware of the cultural assumptions that were built into the materials I had read.

It’s all too easy to write a book that you think is for everyone, but is actually only for people just like you, in circumstances that mirror your own. Instead, there are huge differences in the way we manage our time depending on our:

  • profession
  • training
  • experience
  • national culture
  • environment
  • age and stage of life

I was appalled that after doing critical work on my own time management skills back in 1999-2003, that the field had made little or no progress, and offered no assistance to people like me who needed custom help. This emotion got me writing with a vengeance, but I realize looking back that I was actually on a mission, motivated by the kind of help I thought everyone should be able to access.

Now, a few years later, I am more clear on what that is:

To make time management improvements easy for people everywhere, forever.

Discovering this mission made up the sweet part of the day!

The bitter part came when I heard that Eli Goldratt had passed away that morning. He is best known for his Theory of Constraints, and his book: The Goal, which I read as a graduate student at Cornell, during my first summer at AT&T Bell Labs.

I literally could not put the book down, as it offered a compelling glimpse of the real world of manufacturing that my professors had been unable to approximate, in spite of numerous opportunities. I got more from reading that book than most of what I had learned in class.  In fact, I re-read The Goal recently in preparation for writing my own book – using his powerful business fable as my inspiration and role model.

And now he’s gone, but he left behind a host of admirers who helped make his books some of the most popular in the business-world. I can only hope that my book does something similar, and makes a contribution to accomplishing the mission I have set for the work here at 2Time.

To that end, today I set some big, hairy audacious goals:

  1. To offer the very best on-line time management training made possible by the latest technology.
  2. To enable coaches and trainers anywhere in the world to use Time Management 2.0 principles in their work with clients
  3. To give every working professional the idea that they can upgrade the way they manage their time whenever they want, regardless of changes in work, personal life or technology.
  4. To develop the 2Time site be the best single source for time management research, ideas and breakthrough thinking gleaned from all corners of the world.
  5. To find and work with the best minds in time management, and have fun coming up with new stuff!

As I read the tributes to his live and work, I suspect that Eli Goldratt would support these wholeheartedly.

Perfect Time Management

perfect-cover-v1.jpgI have come up with a working title for my book — “Perfect Time Management.

Where did that particular name come from?

I have been scratching my head for a few weeks thinking about this as I work on it, trying to imagine what the ultimate and ideal result might be for someone who reads the book.

I finally decided that a user who takes the steps to design their own system would design one that is “perfect.”

It can’t be bought off the shelf and be copied from others, any more than a dream home or a custom hot-rod can come from anywhere else other than the mind of the creator.

However, like a home or a car, it must follow certain design principles or it just might not work.  Hence the need for a certain kind of guidance, but not a prescription on what the system should look like.

It would be “perfect” because  it would match the lives that they live, versus someone else’ life.

My goal is to give readers a way of thinking about their time management systems that will provide a new level of empowering awareness.  The ultimate result I want is that a lot more professionals take charge of this important part of their lives, using the advice of many, but never relinquishing the ultimate responsibility.

Once published, this book will provide the help I was looking for when I started writing about time management 3 years ago, after I was dumbstruck at the books and blogs I read that made the implicit assumption that systems designed in Denver or Cambridge could work here in Kingston.