Book Review: Time Management (& Meskimen’s Law)

meskimen's law of time management

Ever heard of Meskimen’s Law? I hadn’t, until yesterday.

Meskimen’s Law says “There’s never time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over again.”

People race to finish something, mess it up, then sink even more time in fixing their hasty mistakes, the law says.

I think Meskimen’s Law is onto something. It seems to describe … oh … just about every home repair project I’ve ever done. :-)


That law is one of the many lessons stemming from Time Management: Set Priorities to Get the Right Things Done, the book I read this week. Written by former Disney executive John Hoover, Time Management emphasizes how ruthlessly setting priorities can help you add an extra hour or two to your day.

You know how I’m always talking about being frugal with your time? This book quotes Stanley Marcus, the co-founder of Nieman Marcus, saying “I am miserly with my time in some areas so that I can be profligate with my time in others.”

(“Profligate,” by the way, means “recklessly extravagant.” I had to look that up.)

So What’s This Book About?

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t a fan of the first chapter. It seemed like Time Management 101: it’s the same old ideas, repeated.

Now that I’ve finished the book, I continue to believe that this book is an introductory 101 lesson, but I no longer mean that in a disparaging way.

Not every time management book can be earth-shattering, like the book Getting Things Done was. Some books NEED to cover the basics.

This author compiles ideas from other time management gurus and rewrites it in a short, easy-read format.

That seems to be out of character for the author: he rose to fame by writing business books about Bullwinkle (the cartoon moose from the Rocky & Bullwinkle series), subtitling one of his books “Motivational Secrets of a Chief Executive Moose.” The Salt Lake Tribune called it “fiendishly clever.”

He later landed a profile in Forbes magazine by writing a subversive business book called How to Work for an Idiot.

So it’s a little strange that this book is such a cut-to-the-case synopsis of time management fundamentals. But maybe that was intentional. After all, its target demographic is busy people.

Should I Read It?

This Book Is For You If: You want a quick, easy, practical time management book that cuts straight to the point.

This Book Is NOT For You If: You want to read groundbreaking ideas, narrative storytelling, or you want something fun and entertaining.

At the time I’m writing this, Time Management: Set Priorities to Get the Right Things Done sells used for only 1 penny (plus shipping) on Amazon. Check it out!

Thanks to epsos for today’s photo.


    • says

      @Cherleen — That’s great — let me know how you like “What the Dog Saw!” I LOVE everything Gladwell writes.

      This book offers basic time management skills — like I said, it offers tried-and-true classic advice, but it won’t tell you anything particularly groundbreaking. It’s a super-quick read, which is nice!

  1. says

    Meskimen’s law is a new one for me too, but I like it because it makes you think. My issue is I strive for perfection too much so I still end up being inefficient because I harp on the details!

    • says

      @Untemplater – I do, too! I heard someone say that the last 20 percent of a project, those nitty-gritty details, take 80 percent of the time. I think that’s absolutely true!

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