Book Review – How to Have a 48-Hour Day

Let’s be honest, there’s not much time in the day. There’s lot that we want to do during any given period, and for most of us, there doesn’t seem to be enough time needed to do so. How can we get more done during the average day and accomplish everything we want to accomplish during each day?

How to Have a 48-Hour Day presents one possibility for doing so. No, it doesn’t actually tell you how to double the number of hours in the day. (If it did, it would easily be one of the top-selling books in all of history.) Instead, it seeks to tell you how to manage your time better, resulting in more productivity in everything you do in life. Does it do so successfully? As always, let’s read on to find out!

Summary

After a short Introduction where Dan Aslett shares his belief in the importance of managing time and getting as much done as possible in life, chapter one covers why you would want to do more. There is a list of options for what people would want when doing more with their life, ranging from self-respect to financial rewards. Chapter two then stresses how any person could be more productive, as long as they put in the effort to try. It ends with a list of productivity traits, asking people to grade themselves on tendency towards high productivity.

The third chapter looks at things you could cut out of your life to find more time. There’s numerous suggestions made, from cutting out the interruptions in your life to not allowing yourself to oversleep too often. Chapter four looks at setting direction in your life, focusing on what you want to get accomplished and then working towards that goal. It stresses focusing on the goals that you hope to achieve, without concerning yourself much on the time it will take to achieve those goals.

Chapter five stresses one major aid to getting things accomplished: being early in most everything you do. There’s much discussion of how being early gives you advantages as you try to get things done, and ways you can prepare in advance for what needs to be done. Chapter six looks at getting help, both from other people and from tools in your life. It stresses how getting help can make you more productive, but you can’t rely too much on any person or tool in achieving your goals.

The seventh chapter, entitled ‘Timepiece Tuners’, looks at methods of focusing your time, using it where it will be the most good. There’s advice included on everything from the most productive times to do anything (the morning, according to Aslett) to how to keep from stalling as you approach your task. Chapter eight is about stretching your time as far as possible, being as productive as you can during the time you have available, and ends with a guide to how to a healthy stretch (of your time). Chapter nine ends the book by sharing some of the advantages of being more productive, all the time.

Pros

How to Have a 48-Hour Day shares quite a few good pieces of advice for keeping yourself motivated and productive. There are numerous suggestions that, if followed, should greatly increase your level of productivity. There are plenty of interesting cartoons throughout the book (mostly of anthropomorphic clocks), which do help to make the book pretty funny.

Cons

There’s not much in the book that you probably haven’t read before in other time management sources. There’s also not much in the way of an organized plan covered in the book, instead bouncing from suggestion to suggestion. Much of the book also stresses working hard at all times, to the dereliction of most amusement in life.

Overall

How to Have a 48-Hour Day is a pretty interesting read, with plenty of decent suggestions for managing your time. That said, there isn’t much here that isn’t covered in other time management sources, many of which are more fluidly written and much more up to date for modern readers (even though this was written in 1996). It’s not a bad read, but you’d probably be better off looking for time management hints somewhere else.

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