Stever Robbins is the Get-It-Done Guy, a time management guru whose main goal is to help others do more in less time so that they live their life to the fullest.
Robbins is now moving into the publishing world with his new book “Get-It-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More,” which was released in September. Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate reading this book.
“At the first stint of independent post-college life, it’s again all about exploring who you are on your own, how you fit into a community, and developing the basic life skills to run a household.” —Stever Robbins, entrepreneurship and productivity expert
Robbins uses simple language, entertaining anecdotes and helpful diagrams to make getting through the chapters (and ultimately your goals) quick and easy. His best advice is making sure that all the actions you take and every activity you do is somehow helping you to reach a predetermined goal.
These specific goals, which Robbins suggests you write down in a physical format, are both personal and professional (either as “Life Purpose Maps” or “Work Maps”).
As easy as it is to put off studying for exams or starting a large project at work, Robbins’ guide touches on the ways to tackle big tasks by turning things you don’t like to do into habits, using friends for help, and creating a list of smaller actions you need to take to get something done.
Below, Robbins answers some questions at to how students and new grads can use his book to reach their career, school and life goals:
Q. What tips would you give to students who are unsure of their career paths to help them create their work goals, or “Work Maps” as you call them in your book?
A. For someone new to the work world, I don’t think it makes sense to concentrate on too specific a goal. I would recommend laying out your highest level goals around learning what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what you find meaningful and moving. This will lead to initial jobs and career choices that expose you to new things, where success is not measured in immediate career advancement, but in learning enough to know where to steer your career next.
You would still have work goals under this scenario, of course, but your ultimate purpose in meeting those goals wouldn’t be to make the most money in that particular job or necessarily get a promotion. You would be meeting those goals to learn about the skills, activities, and attitudes needed to be successful for that set of goals. Then you would have the insight to decide where to go (or to stay) for your next career choice.
Q. What suggestions do you have for young professionals who want to create personal goals or “Life Purpose Maps” when they are not yet established in a steady career, relationship or city?
A. At the first stint of independent post-college life, it’s again all about exploring who you are on your own, how you fit into a community, and developing the basic life skills to run a household. Once again, I would recommend learning goals around community, dating, and getting their act together to live responsibly on a budget, etc. As with an early-life Work Map, self-knowledge is key, so that self-knowledge can guide future life choices more intelligently.
Q. Many students have to work part-time to fund their education. How can students use your tips to balance school work and part-time jobs which may not necessarily be leading them to their future goals?
A. The proper balance between their school work and part-time work depends on how much time they need to get their schoolwork done, how much their part-time work pays (in all important currencies: money, connections, resumé-building), and how much they need to make (in all currencies). There’s not much I can offer to help students figure out the right balance.
Once you know the right balance, however, the tips on Beating Distractions to Cultivate Focus will help you maintain those boundaries. Pay particular attention to the tips on how to say no firmly but respectfully.
Also read Step 8: Build Relationships. Relationships are a hugely important part of any job, and the faster you can build a network to help you get stuff done, the faster you can free up time for schoolwork. Most students (and adults, for that matter) neglect relationship building and don’t treat it as a skill they can get improve.
Check out Step 5: Stay Organized, as well. If you’re trying to juggle a job and studenthood, you can’t afford to waste your time looking for stuff under a pile of dirty socks. Know where everything belongs and make sure it has a place. If you have to look under a pile of dirty socks to find your notebook, you’re wasting time. If you know your notebook is under those socks and you can go right to it, you’re organized.
Q. Gen Y is addicted to social media. What tips can you offer to help youth curb their Facebook creeping and tweeting during a boring meeting or when it’s time to study?
A. Learn to use a pencil and paper, turn off the laptop and cell phone, and put them in a physically separate room from the boring meeting or the study session. Seriously. Just remove the temptation altogether. People took notes on paper and studied using paper notebooks for centuries. It’s quite possible.
This will be difficult! We react to technology as if it’s an extension of ourselves. We feel genuine psychological pain when we separate from it. That’s all true. Separate anyway. Establish a “no electronics” rule for meetings or for your study sessions.
If your meetings or studies require people to use the Internet for reference, have one laptop shared among the whole group, keep it in the middle, and only drive it as a group. That will turn it into a tool for the group, and short-circuit any temptation to get drawn in.
Q. How can people cope with unexpected things that pop up and interrupt their plans? How can they get back on the wagon if they begin to procrastinate on a project or essay?
A. Procrastination is discussed extensively in my book in Step 2: Stop Procrastinating. My favourite way is to grab a friend and agree to be “procrastination buddies” for each other. You give each other your list of what you’re procrastinating. Then you get together and each hold the other responsible for starting what you’ve been putting off. For mysterious, unknown reasons, it’s much easier to help someone else stop procrastinating than it is to stop yourself.
Visit Stever’s website for more of his tips and tricks for being productive and check out other books from the Quick and Dirty Tips series here.