The Personal Efficiency Program: How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Win Back Control of Your Work!

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A practical guide to getting organized, beating procrastination, and working more efficiently

The Fourth Edition of The Personal Efficiency Program continues the book's long tradition of helping overwhelmed professionals get their work lives organized to become more effective and efficient. Readers will learn how to stop procrastinating, stop feeling overwhelmed, and start feeling good about their work lives. This new edition contains new chapters on e-mail and meetings, as well...

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A practical guide to getting organized, beating procrastination, and working more efficiently

The Fourth Edition of The Personal Efficiency Program continues the book's long tradition of helping overwhelmed professionals get their work lives organized to become more effective and efficient. Readers will learn how to stop procrastinating, stop feeling overwhelmed, and start feeling good about their work lives. This new edition contains new chapters on e-mail and meetings, as well as new content on portable communications and how best to utilize tools like cell phones and Blackberries. As always, this edition features Kerry Gleeson's proven, effective program for helping anyone get organized and become far more productive.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470371312
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/22/2008
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 430,471
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kerry Gleeson is founder and CEO of the Institute for Business Technology (IBT) International, which has offices in twenty-five countries on five continents. IBT has worked with many Fortune 500 companies, as well as thousands of other companies around the world. An expert on white-collar productivity, Gleeson has advised executives from such corporations as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Unilever, IBM, and Ernst & Young.

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Table of Contents





Origin of the Personal Efficiency Program.

How to Work.

CHAPTER 1: Executive Summary.

Get Organized.

Habits and Routines.

Batching Work.


Continuous Improvement of the Process (Kaizen).

CHAPTER 2: Do It Now!

Why the Personal Efficiency Program Works.

Start with Your Desk or Work Space.

Overcoming Procrastination.

Not Everything Can or Should Be Done Now.

Build Decisiveness into Your Work Habits.

Establish Do It Now Work Habits.



Follow-Up for Chapter 2.

CHAPTER 3: Organize It Now!

A Soldier’s Story.

Cleaning Out the Clutter.

Where Does Clutter Come From?

Why Clutter Stays There.

Out of Sight?

Don’t Overlook the Obvious.

Start with the Basics.

Your Office Toolbox.

Become Familiar with Tools as They Come on the Market.

Organizing Files—Beginning with Paper.

Working Files.

Tickler System.

Setting Up Your Personal Working Files.

Your Personal Reference Files: Note Things to Do as You Come across Them.

Archive Files.

Tips—What to Keep, Where to Keep It, and What to Throw Away.

Tips for Improving Your Paper Filing System.

Filing and Labeling.

Organizing Electronic Files.

Where to Begin—The Computer’s Operating System.

Back Up Your Hard Drive.

Naming Electronic Files.

Let the Computer Find Your Documents for You.

Organizing E-Mail.

Steps to Organize E-Mail.

Creating and Organizing Your E-Mail Address Book.

Organizing Bookmarks—Web Pages You May Wish to Access in the Future.

Organizing the Computer Desktop to Access Applications and Files Easily.

Using Search Functions.

Organizing Other Media.


Follow-Up for Chapter 3.

CHAPTER 4: Do It Routinely.

Keep a Time Log.

Electronic Time Log.

Overcome Information Overload.

Beyond the In Basket.

Batch the Routine Work.

Schedule and Avoid Having to Decide.

Parkinson’s Law and the Allocation of Time.

Blocks of Time.

Batching Telephone Calls.

One More Thing!

Batching E-Mail.

Paper Mail/Memos.


Weekly One-on-One Meetings.

Daily Meeting with Administrative Assistant.

Dealing with Interruptions.

Respect Other People’s Time.

Making It Work.


Follow-Up for Chapter 4.

CHAPTER 5: Plan It Now!

Purpose of Planning.

Planning Principles.

Prioritizing—Task Management.

Time Management.

The Time It Takes to Plan: Is It Worth It?

PEP Planning Process.

Daily Planning.

Weekly Planning.

One More Reason to Schedule a WRAP (Weekly Review and Action Plan).

Shaping the Diary—A Monthly Planning Process for Senior Executives.

Project Implementation Planning.

Criteria for Project Planning.

Implementation Mapping.

Planning in Microsoft Outlook/Lotus Notes.

Planning on a Computer.

Microsoft Outlook/Lotus Notes Calendaring.

Strategic Planning.


Personal Goals.


Values on a Personal Level.

Visualization—What You See Is What You Get.

Follow-Up for Chapter 5.

CHAPTER 6: Dealing with E-mail Now! The Single Biggest Challenge for Most People.

Part One: Take Control of What You Get.

The More E-Mail You Send, the More You Will Receive.

Push to Pull.

If You Have Administrative Support.

Technical Solutions.

Change E-Mail Address.

You DecideWhen to Handle Your E-Mail.

CCs and “Reply All”.

Part Two: Managing and Processing Information Efficiently.

Add-In Applications for E-Mail Programs—Organize Information.

Setting Standards.

More Standards.

Processing Information.

The Four Ds.

Turn Off Notifications.

Instant Messages.

Pending Folder.

Setting Reminders.

Read Faster!

E-Mail Rules of Thumb.

It Is No Easy Task!

Follow-Up for Chapter 6.

CHAPTER 7: Follow-Up and Follow-Through!


Persistence, Routines, and Habits—Doing What You Don’t Like to Do.

Forget Remembering.

Preoccupation and Time.

Organize Efficient Follow-Up Systems.

Paper Follow-Up.


Electronic Solutions to a Logbook.

Calendar Systems.

Electronic Solutions to Follow-Up and Follow-Through.

Combination Paper and Electronic Calendaring Systems.

Work Groups.

Follow-Up and Delegation.

Delegation—Using Your Electronic Tools.

Exceptions to the Rule.

Make Follow-Up Part of the Work Process.

Follow-Up for Chapter 7.

CHAPTER 8: Do It Right, Now!

Apply This One Principle, and That Is All You Need to Do.

Why Quality?


PEP—A Practical Tool for Quality Improvement.


Identifying Your Customers and Their Needs.

Workplace Kaizen.


Focus on Prevention.

Project-by-Project Improvement.

Continuous Change.


Follow-Up for Chapter 8.

CHAPTER 9: Do It Now! —FromWherever You Are!

Evolving Work Environments.

Why Now?

What Is a “Mobile Work Environment”?

Working Out of a Home Office.

Common Denominators.

The Proper Work Tools for the MWE.

Work Issues in the MWE Home Office.

Common Issues FacedWorking in the MWE.

Work Issues in the MWE.

Follow-Up for Chapter 9.

CHAPTER 10: Be a Do It Now Manager!

Management by Walkabout.

Examples of PEP Walk.

Why PEP Walk Works.

Had I Known!

Face-to-Face Communication.

Follow-Up Method.


What Does a Do It Now Manager Do?

Concentrate on the Process of Work.

Don’t Be Tied to the Desk.

Start with Yourself.

Electronic Tools to Enhance Your PEP Walks.

MBWA in an Alternative Office.


Follow-Up for Chapter 10.

CHAPTER 11: Making Meetings Effective.

Part One: Cutting Down on the Number of Meetings.

Meeting Analysis.

Go. See. Confirm.

Part Two: If You’re Going to Call a Meeting, Run It Right.

Well-Run Meetings.

During Meetings.

After the Meeting.


Follow-Up for Chapter 11.

CHAPTER 12: Maintain It Now.


Maintenance and the Work Cycle.

Make It Easy.

Should You Be Maintaining It in the First Place?

Preventive Maintenance.

Maintenance and Do It Now.

Make Maintenance a Habit.

The 21-Day Challenge.

Maintenance of Common Files.

Maintenance and Travel.

Maintenance and Continuous Improvement.

Periodic Catch-Up.

Minimum Maintenance.

What to Do When It All Goes to Pot.

Follow-Up for Chapter 12.

EPILOGUE: Just One New Habit.




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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 4, 2013

    Some Unusual Ideas

    This book on time management is the first in a while that offers some original ideas. While so many books stress prioritizing one's day, Gleeson warns that such prioritizing is often a way to justify procrastination! Long task keep getting put off as the individual never seems to be able to block out "enough" time when often just tackling the task can get it done in minutes. There are numbers of excellent techniques. On the downside, Gleeson needs to update his ideas with a new edition based on today's technologies. Who uses a Palm Pilot in 2013?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    Solid advice and great detailed information!

    The author takes a simple step by step approach to overhauling the way we think about the work we do. Yes, he gives all the detailed steps needed to make the desk or office or computer we use both organized and efficient, but much more importantly he helps us think about how we do work - so that we spend far less time getting things done.

    As a help against procrastination, clutter and cloudy thinking, this is a great set of tools.

    I like the audio book so well that I have both the e-book and the audio book and review them regularly when I get 'stuck' working on a project or get bogged down with a task list.

    Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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