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
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.