This book would probably be a bit difficult to track down, because the publishing house is not so large and it’s in the UK. Certainly, I haven’t seen it for sale in too many bookstores. But if I could, I would make this book a compulsory read for everyone who works a white collar job. It’s that good.

Fergus O’Connell has a very simple idea: at work, we need to stop trying to be magicians and start trying to be a Duke of Wellington. A magician is someone who  tries to pull rabbits out of hats. In other words, someone who says “yes” to everything and will kill themselves to deliver what they said. But a Duke of Wellington is someone whose word is dependable. If they say they’re going to do something, they do it.

This book doesn’t necessarily have a lot of time management techniques, though there are a few – but is most concerned with your mindset towards work. Because no matter how much you plan, you will continually sabotage your plans to get out of work on time if you are driven by things like: fear of what other people will think, guilt that you aren’t doing a proper job, a lack of self-esteem if you don’t say “yes” to everything.

So this book’s greatest strength is cutting right to the chase on why we tend to get workaholic and giving good tips on how to plan, how to get agreement with your managers on what you will do, how to say “no” – a very important chapter – and other things related to the psychology of trying to have a work/life balance.

I doubt there will be anything ground-breakingly new in this book, but if you work through it carefully and thoughtfully (and it is meant to be worked through, not just read) and you have the courage to implement Fergus’ suggestions (and it will take courage, believe me), this book just might change your life.

4 1/2 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: How To Do A Great Job And Go Home On Time (Fergus O’Connell)

  1. has it… I think I’ll get it.

    Would you recommend it for pastors? They’re in a different scenario in some respects – often working from home, usually having at least one, typically 2 or 3, evening meetings each week – but also seem to be prone to burn out.

  2. (I know we had this discussion on Sunday, Dave, but I thought it was worth replying to in public.) This info would probably be helpful for everybody, but this more particularly deals with the situation where you work for someone else and you feel the pressure to work extended hours to keep up.

    I would imagine that the situation for pastors is that they’re more or less working for themselves. So their situation is going to be more one of how to keep themselves motivated when there’s *nobody* in particular hanging over their shoulder to keep them working. But something I find is that if you are having one of those days where you can’t focus (which is very easy to do if you’re working at home for yourself rather than in an office environment), then it’s a great temptation to work longer to “make up” for that work you should have been doing earlier.

    So, in that way, guilt can drive you to work longer hours. Whereas, if you’re working more honestly, that won’t be so much of a temptation.

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