26 September 2023

Getting It All Done (HBR Working Parents Series)

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Series Editor Daisy Dowling, Harvard Business Review Press, $29.99.

The HBR Working Parents Series has tips, stories and strategies for the job that never ends. Are you a working parent trapped in that same ‘always-on-but-never-finished scramble with endless to-do lists’?

You are not only a diligent and conscientious professional, but also a devoted parent. However, when you can’t deliver on everything you’re supposed to do, then it’s jarring. Some challenging circumstances have made it extra difficult – and one of them is due to COVID-19. How is it possible for you to do your full-time job, run the household, be a parent and teach your kids the whole third-grade curriculum at the same time?

According to Dowling, the bigger, more insidious problem is not the practical one. It’s the feeling of always being behind, of falling short, of being at odds with one’s own values and aspirations.

Despair no more: you will be able to feel more in control with Getting It All Done. It offers you new skills and tricks for shortening and taming your to-do list. “It will teach you how to bring your work skills home and your home skills to work, how to prioritize more thoughtfully and effectively, how to get more done in the time you do have available, and how to diffuse the conflict that can rear up when you’re pulled in two (or more) directions at once.”

Trust your own intuition as you read through the book. Maybe you will benefit from some of the ‘quick takes’ from Dowling about How to Handle Work When Your Child Is Sick. Possibly, Bruce Feiler’s ideas on effective family meetings will help you tame the weekly chaos or Rebecca Knight’s advice on saying ‘no’. Perhaps, Alison Beard’s look at why and how to build your ‘parenting posse’ will help you get the support you need.

It will show you how to attack the ‘getting it all done’ problem from all sides and, no matter how long your to-do list remains, build your own sense of competence and completion. Grab the tricks and tools that will help you, and start using them.

PS News has been given four copies of Getting It All Done to give away. You could be a winner, if you correctly tell us the author of the article about How to Handle Work When Your Child Is Sick. Entries should be sent to [email protected] by Monday, 19 July 2021. Names of the winners will be announced in Frank Cassidy’s PS-sssst…! column on 20 July 2021.

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