Book Buzz - 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There is Never Enough Time

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Do you have a work/life balance issue?  Does your spouse often remind you that you are present but not “present?" Is it challenging to get ahead of your email inbox so that you can really be productive. How are your outside-of-work relationships?

These days, it seems like work consumes us.  Our phones and laptops have allowed us to be “on” right up until we go to sleep and at the first minute we wake up.  In this new electronic world, perhaps we need to learn how to make good boundaries between where work ends and life begins.

5 Gears, by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram, offers practical solutions to help you find these boundaries. While I’ve read many books with this focus, this one just seems to work. As you might know, I started my business 22 years ago with small kids in tow. I had to have boundaries so that I could be a mom, working only 5 hours a week at the beginning, and until last year (when our last left for college), I never worked more than 25 hours a week. Not everyone can do this, and I know I was blessed to be able to make this happen. But needing to run a company with sometimes up to 75 employees in 25 hours a week, I needed to learn boundaries. The wisdom from this book would have certainly been welcomed.

5 Gears breaks our life into gears, or the parts of our daily lives between which we are constantly switching.

  • 1st gear - Recharge Mode - Personal recharge, completely unplugged
  • 2nd gear - Connect Mode - Being present with family and friends without work
  • 3rd gear - Social Mode - Present with people and can shift up or down easily
  • 4th gear - Task Mode - Multitasking, working hard in various ways
  • 5th gear - Focus Mode  - Task-centered, fully-focused, and moving quickly
  • Reverse - Responsive Mode - Backing up or apologizing when necessary

One of my favorite chapters provides tips on how to shift from work to home successfully.  The authors give a couple of examples, and then conclude with an important point: It must be intentional, and it must be practiced in order to do it well. 

Another great chapter covers being intentional with leadership versus being accidental:

  • Hope that their kids grow up to be responsible.
  • Hope that they will have income to retire on.
  • Hope that their business takes off one day.
  • Hope that the new employee that they hire is a rock-star.

If we are intentional with these things, we plan and act with a purpose.  Then this book gives you a plan to make it happen.

Thumbs Up!
I recommend this book for you and your team to become healthy in all areas of your life. 

How Long?
It’s an easy read that can be done in around 8 hours - and would be good to do with you team - or with your spouse.

Read This Book!
After reading this book, you will have a new understanding of what gear each life circumstance demands, and you will be better equipped to switch between gears as necessary.  In the end, the goal is that your life will start feeling a little more under control to you and to those around you.