This Twenty Six Hour Day Is Not Fiction! A Book Review

Vince Panella might have been accused of writing a work of fiction when titling his book "The 26 Hour Day, How to Gain at Least 2 Hours a Day with Time Control". When he begins his "Introduction to Time Control" chapter by stating on the first page that he's . . . "come to the conclusion that -- time management does not work!" he immediately had me hooked. I was charmed by the intensely human approach he takes from the beginning. I've got to agree with him because my own experience with time management is that it has a mechanistic, almost robotic feel to it as presented by efficiency experts, management consultants and minutia-charting time accountants. Here is an approach that allows for "wasting time" and, even more surprisingly, advocates getting sufficient sleep! Although he suggests wasting incrementally less time than you normally might he is clearly aware that as human beings, we are driven less by deadlines than by emotional needs. At least once in every chapter, reminding the reader that we are not perfect and that it's OK that we're not precise as robots. Panella blends the best of self improvement with his unique approach to what he calls "Time Control", quoting personal growth gurus Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra beside references to American Statistician, W. Edwards Deming, the man who was ". . . given credit for engineering Japan's modern industrial success over the last 50 years." Deming guided Japanese business through a formula of continual success improvement. Constant incremental refining of success formulas is certainly not limited to Deming. One of my strongest early inspirations was reading "The Autobiography of Ben Franklin", in which the continual improvement of Franklin's character throughout his life is chronicled. Self improvement predated Franklin as well, but Panella has combined the best of personal growth with time control to offer what he has called "Success Centered Time Management." Although Panella does cover critical topics typical to time management such as standard issue and admittedly important - * Winning the War Against Procrastination * The Power and Purpose of Goals * Reducing Distractions Those key points are presented in ways that kept my interest, a surprising accomplishment in itself. But Panella has some more compelling thoughts on some new approaches he has refined over his nearly 20 years of presenting this material. Notable are several concepts that resonate strongly with humanity. * Gain 2 More Hours a Day Through the Power of Sleep As one with sleep apnea disorder, I require more sleep than most, but Panella boldly proclaims that, "Lack of adequate sleep is the reason for 90 percent of the problems many of us experience in gaining more control of our time." He makes a strong case for a society that values sleep far more than does ours. He goes so far as to cite a Gallup poll that showed "Twenty-Five percent of adults believe they cannot be successful AND get enough sleep!" He gives ample reasons, from reduced productivity and performance right on through loss of life caused by drowsiness and inattention. * Bit by Bit, The Amazing Power of Five Minutes This section emphasizes devoting a simple five minutes to gradual progress toward seemingly huge goals on a daily basis. Slow and steady wins the race might describe this approach. He refers to this technique throughout the book in varied ways to suggest that progress doesn't have to be measured in tireless devoted hours of struggle, but can be achieved much more easily "bit by bit." * Moments, The Secret of Life As a teenager, I wondered what my life might look like as a two hour movie and imagined what little slices of time might make it to the final cut (as I experienced one of my first identity crises upon finishing high school). Panella suggests that all of our lives are much like that and are defined by individual moments of positive accomplishment and that all lives are made up of a collection of small moments we strongly identify with and remember powerfully. The striking concept he delivers in the book is that we not only have that inventory of past moments, but that we should consider steadily depositing in a bank account of moments from each day, and further, that we consider investing to accumulate a wealth of moments. "Every day, consciously look to create significant and simple moments" to add to your "moments account". * Maximizing Any Experience "Before any event or experience . . . simply ask yourself how prepared you are . . . for the event. You'll go through details in your head and take a subjective measurement . . . Then you'll ask yourself what you can do to make the event a little better ahead of time. You'll repeat asking this question . . . listing your answers . . . When complete, you'll have a laundry list of actions to maximize the event . . . You get to play armchair quarterback ahead of time. You pull yourself back and look at the big picture with a chance to make positive changes. Something we fail to do more times than not." "Maximizing almost seems too easy." Indeed it does, but what a powerful tool if we only developed the habit. The 26 Hour Day, I'm convinced, is a real possibility in terms of maximising events, investing in our moments with sincere gratitude and bit by bit, in multiple five minute increments, we can gain additional value from our alloted time. Vince Panella has unwittingly given me the blueprint for my New Years Resolutions for 2002. I'm committed to investing significant time to his program of continual success improvement over the coming year.