I had mixed emotions when I heard that Crystal Paine’s newest book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life, was coming out. I was excited to get my hands on a copy early on, but when I skimmed through the book and table of contents I realized it had much of the same focus as an eBook project a friend and I were working on writing…right down to part of the title and some of the chapter headings. (We’ve since shelved the project for the present!) But that also excited me, because I knew Crystal and I have read a lot of the same authors on time management, productivity, and creating margin, and I was excited to see how she applied many of those principles, along with her own, to her life.
Thankfully, Crystal’s experience lends a better perspective and I learned a lot from her book. I have read Crystal’s blogs since before the era of MoneySavingMom.com, and have enjoyed reading her writing with each book, but am always amazed at the increase in quality. I was also excited to read this book, because I have a brief published quote in it, obviously from a couple years back (page 220):
But, back to the book at large: this book is great for a mom (or non-mom!) in any season of life, but perhaps seems particularly applicable to those in the season of life with younger children because of her personal experience in demonstrating how she learned to benefit from these strategies. In the book, Crystal excels at taking many helpful time and life-saving tips from a broad range of authors, and then cross-pollinating them with particular application toward motherhood.
Even for the individual who already knows that “saying ‘no'” and creating margin will help them feel less frazzled in life, I think the particular application of these strategies will be beneficial. Even for the mom who is tired of hearing “you need to get more sleep,” but goes to bed every night frustrated about her unchangeable circumstances, I think there’s something in here for you!
It’s easy to look at someone who is able to juggle what, on the outside, seems like a lot and confuse their productivity with busyness. Likewise, it’s easy to be busy, and think you are being productive. (And as we’ve learned in the past few years, this is one of the defining characteristics of this generation, along with thinking busyness is essential to our sense of identity and importance.) You can be busy and productive, but you can also be productive without necessarily having the negative aspect of what we are now seeing as “noisy busy.” Crystal herself writes how she was once busy, but how these strategies, life changes, and habit implementations have allowed her to now be productive without being busy.
Crystal also does a great job of sharing experiences of other individuals whose life situations are very different than her own. This creates a much wider audience potential for the book, but also demonstrates that these strategies are a helpful framework that can be applied across a wide spectrum, rather than simply being a set of formulas that work for a very narrow set of people.
At some points the material is redundant, particularly if you’re a blog reader or have read some of the author’s other works. At the same time, the majority of the content is fresh and presented in a way that is helpful to read in the form of this book and its organization. Crystal is also both candid and forthright about her faith and how it affects her implementation of these strategies.