Q&A with the authors, Allison Johs and Dan Siegel, of How to Do More in Less Time: The Complete Guide to Increasing Your Productivity and Improving Your Bottom Line, Second Edition
1. What is the main message of How to Do More in Less Time, The Complete Guide to Improving Your Productivity and Increasing Your Bottom Line, Second Edition?
Dan: The book is about how to use your time more productively, to complete your work more efficiently, and to accomplish your goals using skills and technology you already have.
Allison: Our goal in writing the book was to give readers practical advice that they could implement on their own and to help lawyers to work smarter, not harder.
2. Who is your book written for/ Who would get the most out of reading your book?
Allison: There are tips in this book that could help lawyers at any stage of their career, whether they are in private practice, a traditional law firm setting, in-house counsel, or even working in a non-legal position. Learning to work more effectively and focus on the most important tasks can help you increase your business and serve clients more effectively no matter what your practice or work setting.
Dan: The book is written for anyone wants to spend less time working and more time relaxing. The title was chosen carefully not to mention lawyers because, although published by the American Bar Association, there are tips and best practices that apply to everyone. For example, my wife teaches high school English and one chapter provides ways for her students to focus on and complete assignments more efficiently. The one thing readers all say is that they each found one or more tidbits that made a difference in their lives. We couldn’t ask for more than that.
3. What inspired you to write this book?
Dan: For a long time, I had taught a program called “How to Do 90 Minutes of Work in 60,” which focused on ways to use your computers and other electronics more efficiently. The program remains the most popular one I teach. As a result, people encouraged me to turn it into a book. But it wasn’t until Allison suggested working together that the book came to fruition. And her contributions are invaluable.
Allison: I had been writing articles and speaking about what people call “time management” for years before we embarked on the first edition of this book, which was published in 2014. (I think “time management” is a misnomer because you can’t really manage time; the only thing you can manage is what you do with that time). But Dan’s tech tips and shortcuts take things to another level. The nice thing about this book is that it combines both the tech tips that can help you use the programs like MS Outlook, Adobe Acrobat and MS Word more effectively, but it also provides tips and strategies to help you change your mindset and your approach to your day-to-day work.
4. What experience, knowledge or special training helped you to write this book?
Dan: It helps to be a computer geek, because I love playing with technology. It’s one of the reasons I am always asked how do I get so much done so quickly. And I was born way before computers existed, I didn’t own a computer until two and half years after I graduated from law school. Now when you search “Computer Geek” on Google, my picture appears.
Allison: I have always been looking for ways to do things better, even before I went to law school. I read a lot and we’ve included some of my favorite tips from other productivity experts like David Allen in the book, as well as some of the strategies we employ ourselves. There are examples in the book from both of our own experiences, as well as from working with our clients in our separate consulting practices.
5. How is How to Do More in Less Time different from other books written on this topic?
Allison: Even though “lawyer” isn’t in the title of the book and almost all of the tips and concepts included in the book can be applied to anyone, the book was written with lawyers in mind, taking into account our own experience both as lawyers and as consultants. We talk about some of the most common productivity-killers and time-wasters that we know lawyers struggle with on a daily basis.
Dan: The solutions are practical. We don’t suggest methods that require people to change every aspect of their lives. Instead, we suggest they build from their existing skills and problems and become more efficient.
6. What do you think will surprise readers most about your book?
Dan: That it’s not just a technology book. While we offer lots of tech tips, the other material is terrific too.
Allison: I think that readers will have a lot of “aha” moments and will see how many opportunities they have to improve their processes, their workflow, and their use of technology, even if they think that they are already working at their maximum potential.