True or false?
"The more you sweat, the more you get."
"Activity means productivity. "
"Success requires burning the midnight oil. "
"Work is not fun ."
All of the above are false, contends management-expert Michael LeBoeuf. These "irrational beliefs," he says, "just waste time and make people miserable. All you get from keeping your nose to the grindstone is a flat nose.
"Results are not directly related to how hard you work," asserts the 38-year-old University of New Orleans management professor. "Some people are so busy being busy, they don't have time to think.
"After expending a good amount of time on your task you need to get away to recharge your batteries. And if you think work is never fun, you're missing some of life's greatest satisfactions."
To replace these "old unproductive ideas," LeBoeuf offers his own success maxim: "The secret to doing more is doing less better . Do first things first, get only the most important things done, don't feel guilty about the things you don't do, and take time to smell the roses."
That is basically his message in "Working Smart: How to Accomplish More in Half the Time." (Warner, $2950). He calls it a "humanistic approach to management."
"I don't believe you should run around with a stop watch and try to do everything. The purpose of time management is to show you how to get more time to do what you like to do. The bottom line is to enjoy what you're doing."
What about people who say they can't enjoy what they're doing -- that they're stuck in a job they hate?
"They should leave," he shrugs, "We're all caught in a security trap, afraid if we leave one job we won't be able to find another. But most people are held back by fears and insecurities. They close their eyes to other options.
"Every job has its unpleasant aspects. But if you find the inherent nature of the job unpleasant -- get out. You spend half your waking life at work. And that rut is just a grave with the ends knocked out."
LeBoeuf says he learned this lesson the hard way. "Six years ago I found myself trying to tackle all kinds of projects at the university, and I was working so hard, yet getting so little done."
When he organized a time-management seminar for the college, he found out why. "I was trying to do too many things. I was teaching everything from computer programing to business relations. That's too broad an area to reach a level of excellence."
Cutting back on the range of courses he taught left him "a lot more relaxed, having more fun and doing better. Now I block out large amounts of time to do things with high pay-offs, and I don't worry about the low-priority things I don't do."
LeBoeuf also tries not to schedule more than half his day. "Things never go according to plan," he notes, adding that if an appointment is supposed to take an hour he allots an hour and 15 minutes. "Keeping too tight a schedule is just asking for frustration."
Working women have a particular problem with tight scheduling and its campanion time-waster -- "overcommittment. They've got to learn to say 'no.' And they set too great expectations on themselves with home, kids and a glamorous job.
"Their classic problem is not having any time for themselves. But the only way to have time is to make it. If they don't give something up, they may wind up losing it all -- which is what so many workaholic men find out."
Making time for yourself "can make you more effective at work," he says. "By not taking time to get away from it all, compulsive workers lose the long-range perspective necessary for real success.
"There's nothing wrong with doing nothing. As a writer I've had some of my best ideas doing nothing. . .or in the bathtub."