Now that Elaine St. James has helped readers simplify their homes, closets, and holidays, she shares her expert advice on simplifying the workplace. St. James points out that most of the conveniences Americans rely upon to make work easier--such as fax machines, e-mail, and cell phones--really make it "easier to do more work" at any time of day or night. As a result, the 40-hour workweek is a distant memory. "American workers could learn a lot from the European workplace," she writes. "In most European countries, the 32 hour work week is mandated by law."
How is it possible to be like the Europeans and still get the job done? This is where St. James gets specific. At first she asks readers to set firmer boundaries between work and home. She makes seemingly radical suggestions, such as "stop working weekends," "add one day to your vacation" (to allow for transition time), and "eliminate your commute." She also offers on-the-job advice, such as "be selective in giving out your e-mail [address]" (to eliminate distracting messages) and "double your estimate" ("face it, things always take twice as long to complete as you think"). Ultimately, she suggests ways to be more efficient spenders in order to have more flexibility (which results in saner and more meaningful work). This Queen of Simplification may seem simplistic to her detractors, but her advice-packed books really do get results. --Gail Hudson [via]