Money at 30: “At Your Best” Audiobook Review
If you’re anything like me, you probably go to bed thinking about what a productive day you’re going to have come morning. Even as that new day unfolds, you still hold out hope that your to-do list will be crushed before the day’s end. Yet, somewhere along the way, everything gets derailed and even a post-mortem can’t help you determine just what exactly went so wrong. Seeing as this happens to me often, I was attracted to the book At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor by Carey Nieuwhof when I saw it on Audible. With audiobook credits to my name, I decided to give the book a listen over the weekend and see what insight I could glean from it.
Let me start by acknowledging that At Your Best isn’t a personal finance book per se. However, considering the cliche that time is money, I thought this title still fit the bill. Moreover, as it turns out, Nieuwhof makes at least a few financial comparisons along the way to help solidify my decision.
The main premise of At Your Best is that we all have certain times of day when we perform (or at least have the capability to perform) at a higher level when compared to other day parts. Similarly, there are a number tasks we either enjoy most or that are the most crucial to our jobs. Thus, the key as Nieuwhof presents it is to align these two elements — or, as he states it, doing your best when you are at your at best.
While that idea seems simple enough, as the author points out, there are often obstacles standing in our way of making this a reality. Whether this means distractions that sidetrack us, other people that interrupt us, or similar time-stealing elements. Given this reality, Nieuwhof devotes subsequent chapters to overcoming these challenges and taking back time for yourself.
I should admit that At Your Best is the first “time management” type book that I’ve consumed. Because of this, I can’t really speak to how new or different the ideas presented in the book really are. Nevertheless, I found them to be truly helpful, especially in terms of how to plan out your days according to your “green,” “yellow,” and “red” zones. Additionally, the material regarding managing more relationships than human beings were really meant to have struck me as fascinating. As a result, I came away from the book amped to make some changes to my own life and schedule.
Alas, while Nieuwhof devotes a fair amount of time to proving that these lessons can apply beyond those in leadership roles, it’s certainly easier for those at the top of the food chain to adopt these ideas than, say, a retail worker. That said, even if implementation on the work front is impossible, there are still a few takeaways that might help employees maximize their personal time to meet their priorities.
At a runtime of 5 hours and 16 minutes (or just over three hours with a 1.7x speed I listened to the book at), At Your Best is a short read in my opinion. On the one hand, that’s probably a good thing for a book about making the most of your time. However, I could think of a few things that probably could have been added to flesh it out a bit. For one, while Nieuwhof alludes to burn out symptoms and a quiz regarding these can be found as bonus material on his website (email address required), I can’t help but feel those could have just been mentioned in the book itself. Would it have really made that much of an impact? Not really — but it seems like an odd exclusion nonetheless.
Speaking of the website, some of the other bonus materials could prove pretty useful. For one, in addition to worksheets you can use to help determine your different “zones” and priorities, there’s also a downloadable digital calendar template that you can adjust to have your “zones” appear. Meanwhile, for those who foresee feeling badly about telling others “no,” there are some scripts to hopefully let others down easy when you opt out of an invite.
Overall, while I’m still trying to figure out what my personal “zones” are and how I can reformat my days to emphasize my priorities, I feel as though I learned a good amount from At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor. Again, despite having a simple premise, I think that Nieuwhof does a nice job at really selling the concept and accompanying it with relevant tips. With that in mind, if you’d also like to learn more about becoming more productive and taking back your time, I think At Your Best is worth checking out.
Also published on Medium.