Friday, 18 April 2014

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

Book Description from Amazon
Calling the super busy, the stressed out, the overtired.

You know you're made for a more fulfilling life. With this book, you’ll know where to start.

You wake up tired. Your to-do list is too long. The commitments—and the laundry—are piling up, but your energy keeps dwindling. You feel like you're simply making it through the days, not living or enjoying any part of them.

In Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, you'll find both practical ideas and big-picture perspective that will inspire you to live life on purpose. As a wife, mother of three, and founder of the wildly successful blog, Crystal Paine has walked the road from barely surviving to living with intention. With the warmth and candor of a dear friend, she shares what she's learned along the way, helping you:
  • feel healthier and more energetic by setting priorities and boundaries
  • eliminate stress with savvy management of your time, money, and home
  • get more done by setting realistic goals and embracing discipline
  • rediscover your passions—and the confidence to pursue them
Packed with straightforward solutions you'll use today and inspirational stories you'll remember for years, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode is a must for any woman who's ever longed for the freedom to enjoy life, not just survive it.

I love Crystal Paine's book The Money Saving Mom's Budget so I looked forward to reading this one. I wasn't disappointed. The book starts off giving you advice about time management but it ended up being so much more than that. It was like a time management and self-help book for moms all rolled into one.

The advice Crystal gives about time management read like she knew the best parts of my favorite time management books and put them all in her book. Sometimes she gives these books credit and sometimes she doesn't. I thought that was kind of weird. She even quotes Steven Covey at the beginning of the book but never mentions his book on time management. Many of the ideas are great but can be found in other time management books which aren't listed in the Recommended Resources. 

There were a few times that I wondered if Crystal Paine could actually schedule my life. She explains that she doesn't have a lot of hobbies, any pets, and has a wonderful husband that helps her. She prefers to keep her life simple and has very specific interests. Well it's easy to manage your life when things are that simple! 

In my life I am the single mom of five kids, have a dog and a varying number of cats, no significant other to help me, and I have a lot of interests and hobbies. The variety in my life keeps me interested and happy. Does it make me a little crazy sometimes? Yes but I would be miserable with Crystal's life. Her simple, uncomplicated life seems great for her, but I felt like at times she was trying to tell me to give up some of the things I love just for the sake of simplifying my life. She didn't seem to understand us bohemian free spirits.

Despite that, the advice on choosing only four goals was great. It helped me choose what matters most in my life and figure out how to set mini-goals on a daily and weekly basis to reach those goals. I like the advice about setting goals and routines that is realistic for your particular time and situation in life. That is something I have never seen in a time management book before. It was awesome that Crystal understood that mothers have different time management needs when their kids are younger.

The chapter on managing your bank account was a summary of some of her ideas from The Money Saving Mom's Budget. I like the other book a lot better though. Some of the advice here feels like its more for well off married people and not single mothers living pay check to pay check like me. I laughed out loud at "increasing my emergency fund to cover three to six weeks of expenses." This seems incredibly out of touch with how much money most people are making in this economy. Crystal also talked far too much about herself in this chapter.

The chapter on managing your home has some great advice but it seemed rushed. I wish Crystal would have done far more here. This part would have been better if was expanded to a few chapters not all crammed into one. She could have done so much here. I expected it to be the bulk of the book not one measly chapter. 

And like in the earlier chapters on time management, Crystal uses ideas from other people but doesn't give them any credit. In the part about making a "homemaking binder" she says she gets the idea from "bloggers who are very organized women." Why isn't she naming names? I know exactly who she is talking about and it seems pretty low to use their ideas but not give them proper credit.

The chapter on feeling like a failure was great. While there wasn't anything earth shattering in the advice, just that fact that Crystal included it and even told her own story about how her first financial blog flopped made me feel better as a person. Her encouragement to use failure as a teachable moment and that it often leads to bigger and better things was great.

That is until she included a story about how another blogger she admired wrote a post about how she wanted to be just like another woman...and that woman just happened to be her! Are you freaking kidding me? There are many parts in the book where Crystal toots her own horn about how disciplined and well managed her life is, but this was just too much! 

I loved the idea of the chapter about how to help others and make a difference in others lives through charity or volunteering. Crystal gives some great ideas on how to help other people that doesn't always involve money. But she starts tooting that horn again. Crystal writes about all the charitable things she's done and her family has done and it comes off a little bit like "Look at how giving I am!" I loved the parts where she wrote "Here's some ideas that you can do" but when she says "Here's what I did" it comes off a little like bragging. She then talks about how she was so happy to be writing a financial book that would help so many people. It's pretty ironic that she says how "humbling" it all is. 

The last chapter is about taking care of yourself and has some ideas on how to nurture yourself, relax and find joy. Crystal gives suggestions like finding your spirituality (although she specifcally suggests Christianity), spending time on your marriage, cultivating friendship, eating healthy and exercising. 

Overall this book had some great advice for improving every area of your life. I liked that it covered so many different topics that contribute to living in "survival mode." My complaint is that sometimes the topic was discussed thoroughly while other times some tips were given but it wasn't dealt with too in depth. My biggest complaint is that overall the book included far too much about "how Crystal did it." Those stories are more suited for her blog than for a how to book.

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