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And Now, For Something Completely Different

As we near the 40th anniversary of Rothstein Associates Inc. and Rothstein Publishing’s 30th anniversary, I’ve been thinking about how we got here, the bumps and triumphs over the years, and most importantly, where we’re heading.

In the early 1980s, ‘business continuity’ – then known only as ‘disaster recovery’ – was my passion. I had been spending a lot of my time around large mainframe data centers (as if there was any other kind back then!). After a particularly unsettling incident, I became fascinated with how to maintain business as usual in the face of disruptions.

In the early 1990s I formed Rothstein Publishing. I began publishing the first of many dozens of books dealing with business continuity, disaster recovery, crisis management, crisis communication, emergency management, root cause analysis, and organizational resilience – pretty much anything to do with how organizations don’t break, what to do to avoid breakage, and how to deal with unavoidable breakage. Business as Usual, No Matter What! has been my mantra.

Ernie Hayden, author of the award-winning book Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment: The Definitive Threat Identification and Threat Reduction Handbook (ASIS International Book of the Year) introduced me to this fellow Carl Pullein a year ago. Ernie explained that Carl was a time management guru, and that he had benefited from Carl’s guidance. I wasn’t sure what to make of this, but my first conversation with Carl Pullein immediately brought this into focus.

After a couple of conversations with Carl, I was clear that Carl’s proposed book, while outside of my past publishing focus, was going to happen! Despite the abundance of books on the market addressing time management, it was clear to me that Carl was bringing something to the table that was… ahem… revolutionary.

So – I pondered how to make a business case for this book project, considering how many books on productivity and time management are already on the market? And then I realized what would make this book work, and it was simple. I needed a test subject, and who better than myself? I challenged Carl to convince me that his methods would work for me: an organized, experienced professional who has been refining my time management approach over decades!

As we worked through a strategy for the book and I read a lot of Carl’s writings (as well as watching his extensive and compelling videos, check out Carl Pullein’s YouTube Channel, I kept thinking, “nothing new here” – or, at first, so I thought. 

Was I wrong!

One day, I noticed something curious: I had, for many years, a consistent morning work routine, which I believed was well-tuned and productive. Among my first tasks of the day, I would check for overnight emails or transactions from other parts of the world as well as urgent messages, do a quick check of financial transactions and balances, and remove a bunch of spam emails that sneak in so that my inbox, if not addressed, at least has fewer distractions and time-wasters. 

Lately, I realized that I was skipping or at least minimizing these steps and starting in on productive project work earlier, instead of coming back to these tasks later in the morning after I had actually accomplished something worthwhile. The problem was, I don’t have any recollection of consciously deciding to do this, or even when it happened. And then I realized… Darn! Carl must have brainwashed me (LOL), or else his Time Sector System must really work!

I am probably among the least likely people to pay attention to time management or productivity tools,  or methodologies for that matter. After all, I’ve refined my methods over decades, and, as we well know, I know everything- LOL (even if my wife disagrees). So I was surprised when I realized that my stress levels had dropped, I was getting more done, and somehow, I found more free time to pursue other interests (my dogs and my wife are happy with that).

So….whether you’re a corporate worker, small business entrepreneur, work-from-home professional, artist, hobbyist, student, or retired, I promise there’s stuff in this book you will find valuable.

Bottom line: be skeptical. Don’t assume Carl’s upcoming book, YOUR TIME, YOUR WAY: Time Well Managed, Life Well Lived, is going to work wonders for you. But my advice is simply to give it a try. If this can make my life better, just maybe you will find yourself sleeping better, becoming more productive and effective, and less stressed. We could all use a little less stress these days, yes? 

YOUR TIME, YOUR WAY: Time Well Managed, Life Well Lived will be available for pre-order soon from Rothstein Publishing and available in print and eBook this summer.

Philip Jan Rothstein, FBCI



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