Review: Do More Great Work

What do you do most days? Do you do great work? Or do you do ho-hum, everyday, could-be-replaced-by-a-robot work? It’s a question that doesn’t just matter to employees — rather it’s something that all of us have to consider day in and day out. That great work, at home, might translate to spending time reading to your kids or, in your own business, mean developing a new product, but it’s there. In Do More Great Work, Michael Bungay Stanier looks at how we can step up and do more of the work that actually will matter.

Administration and Bureaucracy Don’t Matter

All of us have little taks that eat up our schedules. It’s not too hard to figure out just what that sort of stuff is: in the grand scheme of things, it’s the stuff that no one really notices when you do (whether or not they’ll notice if you stop). But the toughest part of doing more great work is figuring out what that great work might be. Stanier’s book offers a crash course in finding the stuff that you would do better to spend your time on. While that may sound like a run-of-the-mill self-help book, Do More Great Work is anything but typical.

Stanier’s background includes a stint working for a firm specializing in innovation — dreaming up new products and the like. The book reflects the fact he had to come up with creative solutions quickly. The exercises, or ‘maps,’ in Do More Great Work are impressively effective at getting you to come up with clear ideas without having to spend hours on the exercise. In fact, the whole book seems geared towards someone who needs to get things done now: it is smaller than most books, written so that you can read it in spurts, and has worksheets that you can act on in a minute.

Working on What Matters to You

Do Great Work is written more for folks in the business world (all of the examples seem to be people who want to wow their bosses) but it’s very easy to apply the information and exercises Stanier provides to just about anything else, down to how you handle your home life. And, at the end of the day, we all want to put more time into those things that we feel matter more.

Of course, even this book can’t entirely eliminate all those other little things in our to-do lists. But it can help push the more important steps up to the top of the page.

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