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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Productivity specialist Helene Segura has seen her clients succumb to all the pitfalls of overwork: executives whose marriages fall apart because they’re never home or, when they are at home, don’t pay attention to their family because they’re still working; or those who work their tails off to succeed and end up working themselves into emotional overload by trying to juggle too many of life’s pieces. For these people and all others who sometimes struggle with time management, Segura wrote The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book.

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A few decades ago, as Americans began to feel overworked, the term work-life balance emerged in our vocabulary. The idea was to have these two parts of your life completely separated and level — in perfect balance each day. Spend one-third of your day on sleep, one-third at home, one-third at work. Today, that term has evolved into work-life integration. Some believers of this theory espouse the thought that it’s impossible to separate work life from personal life, so we can expect to bounce between the two at any given time throughout the day and evening.

I propose a hybrid of the two theories — a balance of the two, if you will. It’s important to spend one-third of your day on sleep and rejuvenation. The other two-thirds will be split between work and personal time, but they won’t necessarily be a 50-50 division. In fact, the split might vary each day: 70-30, 60-40, 50-50, 40-60, 30-70. If you telecommute, own your own company, or are a mobile warrior, you might flip-flop between work blocks of time and personal blocks of time throughout the day and evening. If you work for a company, you most likely will work in one solid block. Your line of work may have wickedly long seasonal hours and shorter hours during the rest of the year. No matter your situation, there needs to be some type of work-life separation; if not, your brain won’t have a chance to recharge from either component and will never work at full capacity. It will be important to not let your work life and personal life completely integrate; otherwise, you won’t know what you’re living for.


Full disclosure: A few times a year, I go AWOL from my very own teachings and tips, and start to pile up my caseload with too much. Perhaps I skip a few workdays of doing my "3+3" prioritization tactic. Or maybe I think I can squeeze in one more task — a little adrenaline chase — since I’m ahead of the game. Perhaps I say yes to something before double-checking my priorities and targets lists because I think I know them well enough by now. I can slide for a few days or maybe a week, right? After all, I am The Inefficiency Assassin!

But then I start to feel off-balance. Since I’m used to being calm, I can literally feel my heart rate start to increase, my stress level start to creep up and tense up my body, and my brain not make the sharp decisions it normally executes — all because I chose to push the boundaries too much and leave the protection of my structure. And because I was skipping out of some of the planning, I didn’t have the power to effectively shift my time blocks and go with the flow.

I share this confession with you because it’s imperative for you to know that we’re all human, so we’ll all slip up now and then. And just because you slip up doesn’t mean you’re completely off track, mission aborted. You just took a temporary leave of absence, and you need to get reconnected with your Zen warrior.

It’s at times like these when you need to remind yourself to step back and review your separate work priorities and targets and personal priorities and targets. Return to the strategies and tactics that I discuss in this book. Put nonurgent projects on the back burner and just focus on the more important tasks at hand. Laser in on your priorities and targets, and beat back self-interruptions and inefficiencies from your day. This is what will bring you balance.

Get back into the groove of the “CIA framework” outlined in this book:

Create Clarity
Implement Structure and Flow
Assemble Your Team

It’s important to understand that time management is not something you can put on autopilot. Sure, you don’t have to do your "3+3" prioritization on your days off or when you’re on vacation, but when you’re at work, when you’re living your regular life, implementing my CIA framework is something you need to do consciously each day. It’s this implementation that will allow you to have the time for those play days, to spend your time as you see fit, and to live the life you want to live. 

It’s also important to realize that the day you have absolutely nothing to do for your business or your job is the day to be very scared that you’re obsolete and no longer needed. Rejoice that you do have work, but everything that you need to get done does not have to overtake your life and fill you with overwhelm, stress, and dread. Shift your mantra from “I must do this task for my business or job, or else I’ll lose out!” to “I should spend time doing things that make me happy, or else I’ll lose out!” Will saying yes to that “one more thing” for work support your priorities in life?


After reading this book, you will have the weapons you need to work efficiently and obtain whatever definition of balance you seek. You’ll be able to monitor the ebbs and flows of each day and adjust as necessary. After reading this book, you will understand all the strategies and tactics you can use to bring out your mind management power from deep cover and into your consciousness.

You will be an agent of change in your Time Management Revolution.
You will be productive and have a life outside of your business or your job.
You will work smarter, not longer.

Time management is all about mind-set and mind management.
It truly is . . . all in your head.

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Helene Segura, MAEd, CPO®, author of The Inefficiency Assassin, teaches individual clients and keynote and training audiences how to tell their time what to do. She has been featured as an organizational expert in more than 100 media interviews, including appearances in Inc. magazine and on Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, experimenting with recipes, and haphazardly guessing which wines correctly pair with meals. Discover her productivity resources at

Excerpted from the book The Inefficiency Assassin. Copyright © 2016 by Helene Segura. 






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