The Bookworm

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Slow Down Your Pace: Good in theory, but it may not work for everyone

Just like everybody else, you have 24 hours in a day. You sleep some of it away. You eventually have to take time for daily ablutions, nutrition and a few minutes to catch your breath, no matter how quick.

But at the end of the day, it always seems like you have more task than you have time. What would you say to doing less and getting more out of your 24-hours?
Pick up the new audiobook “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta, and you may discover the secret to better time management.
No doubt about it, fighting distraction is a big part of your workday. It’s difficult to resist the lure of e-mail and easy to justify going on Facebook or Twitter (that’s networking, right?).
Check last night’s scores, your horoscope and before you know it, you’ve wasted an hour of your day.
So what to do?
First, Babauta says, set limitations and “choose the essential to maximize time and energy.” Playing online isn’t networking, it’s playing online; in fact, he says, you probably don’t even need to check e-mail more than twice a day and you can usually reply in five sentences or less.
Every morning when you get up, decide on what Babauta calls the “MIT” or the Most Important Tasks.
Choose three MITs each day, then batch them for maximum efficiency. Start small and learn to focus.
Stay informed by reading a blog or magazine or participating in an online forum. Try to do your absolute best on one big project, rather than working on a bunch of smaller ones. If the boss asks you to complete a task, carefully assess what he or she is asking you to do.
Once you get going, find “flow” and immerse yourself in the work.
At the end of the day, try to simplify and relax. Clear the clutter from your desk, your home and your life. Learn to eat, drink and drive slower. And don’t forget to take care of yourself. If you get more time by doing less, you’ll want to be healthy enough to enjoy it.
In today’s workplace, where 20 people want your job and you’re being asked to do more and more, does it make sense to slow your pace? No? I didn’t think so, either.
Babauta has some good ideas, in theory. Who wouldn’t like to focus on a mere three tasks each day? Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to participate in an “online forum” during work time? All these things are wonderful, but Babauta’s program is filled with what I think most executives would consider a waste of precious time and since a good chunk of this audiobook is devoted to meticulous and common-sense diet and exercise advice, a waste of money.
If you think you have the luxury of slowing down your pace at work, give this audiobook a whirl. For most workin’ folks, though, “The Power of Less” is a lot less useful.


The Golden Age Of The Arkansas Gazette

By Maylon T. Rice

‘Looking Back At The Arkansas Gazette: An Oral History’; Editor: Roy Reed

Veteran newspaperman Roy Reed, thank goodness, knows how to dig for those oft-concealed, quickly uttered gems that often come out of a long and boring interview.

He also knows how to separate the proverbial grain of wisdom from the pounds of dialog chaff in complex statements when those on the microphone don’t succinctly answer the questions.

The results of his reporting handiwork — after poring over several hundred hours of oral interviews about the history of The Arkansas Gazette — are outstanding.

The more than 100 interviews in Reed’s published compilation were all found in the cache of interviews in the archives of the David and Barbara Pryor for Arkansas Oral and Visual History. This collection, headquartered at The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and Reed’s work assembling the essence of these separate interviews, has resulted in the University of Arkansas Press’ latest book, “Looking Back at The Arkansas Gazette: An Oral History.” 

And what a book this is. It rivals the late Margaret Smith Ross’ comprehensive book on the Arkansas Gazette’s history published in the 1970s. Ross, the resident historian at the Gazette for several decades, provided a stellar history book that even today is revered for its content and history of the Arkansas Gazette.

But Reed’s book contains much more than just dates and facts. In snippets from these interviews, the human emotions and now mind-numbing minutia of the tragic sale of the Gazette to Gannett Corp. flow with an emotional intensity.

And sadly, the corporate mishandling and ruination of one of America’s greatest mid-market newspapers is made even more glaring than it was at the time the paper was being perpetrated by Gannett. 

The Arkansas Gazette, revered for its news gathering, reporting and opinion pages, was hurtled toward an ultimate end under these corporate outsiders. 

The final sale by Gannett to Walter Hussman, publisher of the Arkansas Democrat, is detailed by both Gazette staffers and Hussman. 

But not all of Reed’s work focuses on the “newspaper war” of the 1980s and early 1990s. The book begins in what Reed calls “the golden years” with such chapters as “Mr. Woodruff’s newspaper” and even a delightful chapter aptly entitled “Stories: Scoundrels, Heroes, and Lesser Species.” 

Providing a true snapshot of the golden age of newspapers and newspapering in Arkansas, Reed is at his best. 

This volume also contains much of the background of the 1957 Integration Crisis and how the Gazette suffered financially for its expert reporting and seemingly liberal editorial stand on the integration of the Little Rock schools and integration in the South.

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