Future Investment: Dr. Jan Yager on ‘Putting More Time on Your Side’ (Q&A)

Today, I’m taking time out with Dr. Jan Yager.

Jan is the author of Putting More Time on Your Side: How to Manage Your Life in a Digital World (Sound Wisdom), recently published in a second revised & updated edition. President of Timemasters.com, she is also a sociologist, speaker, entrepreneur, and coach. Jan is the author of 38 books, translated into 32 languages, including more than a dozen business titles on time management, the office, work relationships, business writing, and expanding globally. She makes her home in Connecticut.

Dr. Jan Yager
Dr. Jan Yager

Praise for Put More Time on Your Side:

“In Put More Time on Your Side, Yager highlights key strategies to increase productivity at work and achieve balance in life. Her chapters on ‘Overcoming Fragmentation’ and ‘Cultural Issues and Productivity’ are especially relevant in today’s 24/7 world. I highly recommend this gem of a book!”—Laura Stack, CEO, The Productivity Pro® and author, Execution Is the Strategy

“In Put More Time on Your Side, Jan Yager provides effective skills, tools, and techniques that can be used to help you to better manage your time in this crazy digital age we live in. With so much information coming at us, and things to do, Jan’s approach can help reduce the anxiety and stress many feel just getting through the day. Adopting some of Jan’s suggestions will result in a more productive life and increased well-being.”—Don Kraft, Learning and Development Consultant

“While it might be tempting to see this book as a follow-up to Dr. Jan Yager’s other great works, I think it’s safe to say that this book is very unique in its approach. One fact that became quite apparent to me is how introspective and practical this book is….For all the time invested in reading and integrating what’s learned in Put More Time on Your Side into real life, you’ll gain back a great deal of time, with interest!”—Cody McLain, CEO, SupportNinja

From the publisher:


In Put More Time on Your Side: How to Manage Your Life in a Digital World, sociologist, business, and relationship expert Dr. Jan Yager helps you to become more efficient in a work world that is more demanding and 24/7 than ever before.

In this concise and provocative book, you will learn:

  • The #1 factor you can control to revolutionize your time management.
  • How to deal with distractions and fragmentation.
  • Coping with time wasters like over-scheduling, inadequate pacing, poor planning, procrastination, or perfection.
  • How to master office relationships and politics to save time.
  • Cultural considerations

And lots more.


Put More Time On Your Side

Now, Dr. Jan Yager reveals why her reading book is time well spent …

John Valeri: How do (or would) you respond to those who say, “I don’t have time to read a book about time management”?

Jan Yager: Do you have even ten or twenty minutes a day to dip into a book and read even a few pages? What if I told you that the time you spend reading that book could help you to gain more time, now and in the future, so it will truly be time well spent? You will learn, or reinforce, the concept of prioritizing by reading my new time management book, or any of the excellent time management books that are available. One of the key themes of my time management writings (coaching and workshops) is that you DO have enough time to do what you should be doing! So prioritize reading a book on time management!

JV: What inspired you to revisit Put More Time on Your Side?

JY: The first edition was published in 2014. Since then, it has become even more of a challenge to deal with what I call “distractionitis” and fragmentation. Yes, technology can be a wonderful way to efficiently communicate, but too many people are no longer enjoying the moment or noticing their surroundings or the people that they are with. Recently I was looking at people waiting for the subway, and almost everyone was looking at their smartphone. What happened to using that time to think? Look around you at the world? What about talking to the person you’re traveling with instead of pulling away and looking at the phone?

It was very rewarding to revisit the book and the excellent response to the 2nd edition has reinforced that the time I spent rewriting Put More Time on Your Side was time well spent!

JV: Also, how do you see the digital world as being both a help and hindrance when it comes to time / life management?

JY: The digital world is a help when it enables you to connect with someone across the town, city, country, or even around the world. It becomes a hindrance when technology is the substitute for talking on the phone, and hearing each other’s voices, and even a laugh or a sigh, and not taking the time to get together in person. Yes, it’s time consuming to have to meet with people face to face but it is so much more rewarding than just communicating digitally in so many ways.

JV: You have spent decades balancing personal and professional obligations. In your experience, what have been the absolute essential skills to achieving some semblance of equilibrium – and how have you found priorities to change over time?

JY: I have been dedicated to making time for my family including my husband, grown children, grandson, extended family, and friends as well as my work. The first step that is essential to achieving that balance is to be aware of accomplishing that is not something that happens on its own. It has to be a priority, a goal. When I give time management workshops and attendees wonder if they will be able to get along with their children when they’ve grown up, I remind them that if they spend time with them when they’re younger, that will all work out naturally. I am reminded of the Harry Chapin song, “The Cat’s in the Cradle.” It’s such a powerful song because it says it all. The father who was too busy to spend time with his son and now, suddenly, the son is grown up, and the older father wants to spend time with him, but the grown son doesn’t find the time. There’s an adage that you reap what you sow and that’s really what’s behind the commitment to balancing personal and professional obligations.

JV: To what and / or whom do you credit your devotion to mastering time management – and how do you think that our backgrounds influence our sense of mortality?

JY: When I was twenty, my older brother, who was 23, was the victim of a robbery by a gang. Sadly, he died from his wounds several days later. It was a tragedy that shattered my world. Suddenly I was face to face with the grim reality that there are no guarantees in life. I realized at an early age how precious time is. That was my personal reason for being more concerned with time than many in my age group. But the professional catalyst to my extensive research into time management was when I got the assignment to write a book proposal on the topic for Prentice-Hall. That became my first book on the subject, Creative Time Management, published in 1984. Studying time and how people use and misuse their time, and why, fascinated me then and still excites me today. If my books can help someone to get more done and in less time, and even to make better decisions about what to do in the first place, I feel that I have made a very worthwhile contribution.

JV: Tell us about the original research you did for this book. Also, in what ways do you find that anecdotal data and interview excerpts enhance presentation / readability?

JY: I distributed hundreds of time management surveys through surveymonkey.com as well as observing time management challenges especially what changes were a result and even more pervasive digital world. This second edition also benefited from the 60 interviews with IT professionals that I conducted for my previous time management book, Delivering Time Management to IT Professionals: A Trainer’s Manual, published by Packt.

JV: The book has some interactive elements. What are these, and how might they benefit the reader?

JY: Let’s look at Chapter 4, “Self-management and Self-confidence: Taking Better Control of the Only Person You Can Truly Control.” In the section on “To-do Lists,” pages 67-69, I don’t just discuss to-do lists. I also have a place for the reader to actually fill in about an actual list. Writing things down helps to reinforce learning. One of my favorite concepts in the new book is the expansion of the P.I.E. technique. P.I.E. stands for “P = Prioritize I = Initiate and E = Evaluate.” In the Appendix, I provide several P.I.E.s that readers can fill in, dividing up the day or week in different time slots. Once again, not just learning about the P.I.E. technique but actually putting it into practice is a strong reinforcement of this powerful time management tool. (If you are reading this book from the library and you cannot write in the book, you have permission to photocopy these fill in pages so you can have the opportunity to o these exercises.)

Anecdotes and examples help readers to see more abstract concepts applied to the day to day challenges that everyone relates to. One of my favorite books to use that approach is Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.

The response to this 2nd edition of Put More Time on Your Side has been very rewarding including having translations underway in Korean, simplified Chinese, and Tamil languages.

Recently I received a Message through Linkedin.com from a consultant I had connected to on the social media platform who had read my book. This is what he wrote to me about Put More Time on Your Side: “I applied a few of your disciplines about managing my morning and have been more productive this week.”

It’s so rewarding to receive positive and specific feedback like that!


With thanks to Dr. Jan Yager for her generosity of time and thought.

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