9 Steps to Work Less and Do More: tips from Stever Robbins

Pitched primarily at a business audience, Stever Robbins’s new book 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More is also highly applicable to political activists and public officials.

Stever Robbins’s book covers familiar ground for personal improvement and business books – how to do more and do it better in less time. Its light touch and emphasis on detailed practical advice raise it above the field – as long as you like the distinctive humour peppered with references to zombies, cats and tall tales about himself.

9 Steps to Work Less and Do More - book coverThe book is split into nine steps, each getting a chapter of its own. The advice, as indicated by the choice of job titles in the examples, is heavily geared towards middle class professionals – particularly the ideas which are centred on office life and require you to have plenty of control over your working day. This makes the book less useful for people in jobs that do not fit that template, but very applicable to political activists and elected public officials.

Some of the tips are controversial – especially the emphasis Robbins gives to ignoring or deleting emails in order to reach email heaven – but with a breezy style and fast paced text, other advice is always along soon. Even if, as with the email advice, some advice may not fit in a political context, it does not hold you up for long.

A book written with people in politics in mind would have specific additional areas, particularly around organising groups of volunteers and campaign helpers. My own favourite on how best to organise canvassing sessions is very simple: print more than one version of the canvass cards. Give pairs of people their own complete set of cards for a street, block or hamlet and they can leapfrog along, so saving the time otherwise spent splitting cards between people, hanging round when you have finished your part but the other person is still on their section somewhere far away on the other side of the street, and so on. Sounds obvious, but even now I still get people amazed at the thought that they can print more than one set of cards when I mention it.

In the absence of such a book, 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More is a good primer with many individual tips (even if turn your chores into a computer game isn’t amongst them), placed within an overall approach and structure which makes them easier to prioritise and remember.

You can buy 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More by Stever Robbins from Amazon.

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4 Comments

  • I can’t believe I haven’t thought about that canvassing tip. Though, in fairness, none of the people I’ve ever been out canvassing with have thought of it either…

    I shall have to try it out in Oldham East and Saddleworth – anyone else fancy coming along this weekend?

  • Dinti Batstone 8th Oct '10 - 11:17am

    Totally agree Mark.

    The other benefit of working more efficiently is that it makes politics more accessible to people who are time-poor, eg parents of young children who simply cannot put in the same quantity of time as a campaigner without family responsibilities. We need to focus on quality, not quantity… on outcomes, not inputs.

    (More on this in a piece I wrote for LDV three years ago: https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-mind-the-gender-gap-1399.html)

    I keep meaning to compile a ‘Guide to Family-Friendly Campaigning’… but sadly never have the time!!!

  • Stever Robbins 9th Oct '10 - 7:20am

    Hi, Mark. Thanks for taking the time to review my book. Though it didn’t make it into the book, I am a huge fan of making organizing (or *any* task that requires motivation) into a game. In fact, i am currently founding a company to do exactly that…

    And while the zombie references are fiction, most of what I say about myself and my own life is quite true. I have had an extremely unusual journey.

    Keep up the good work and make politics accessible to all!

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