With two businesses, an Instagram following of 1 Million, a degree from the University of Oxford and, now, a book with a spot on The Sunday Times bestseller list, Grace Beverley is clearly dedicated to her work. The book, Working Hard, Hardly Working, promises to give us an insight into her driven attitude to work, and how she balances it with taking care of herself. A blend of advice backed up by her own experiences, the book could help us all with falling back in love with working.
The book begins with an anecdote on one of Grace’s first experiences working as a babysitter. She describes how as soon as she entered the house, all hell broke loose. With the dog running out the door, one child armed with a knife and another, unfortunately, soiling itself, she uses the story as a metaphor on how working life isn’t as rosy as it seems. It’s also used to set the tone, Beverley wants us to know that this is an informal and accessible read, like a friend to a friend. But much like the parents in her initial story, our introduction with Beverley is a little all over the place.
This first chapter leads us onto a unique critique of Instagram’s clash between the over-achievers and the self-carers. At least, that’s what I gathered. I couldn’t quite grasp the point Grace was trying to make in the introduction and would have preferred a clear set up on what to expect of the book. It also actually reads quite similarly to a university essay attempting to hit a word count. Including some rather long sentences, over-complex word choices and references to things I’d never heard of before. The perplexing mixture of academic-like writing and chatty language meant that I struggled to make sense of what Beverley was trying to say. Without sounding like a professor, it needed a stronger argument and a clearer point.
However, I’m pleased to say that once we hit her methods to productivity, her writing is rich in valuable guidance. I’ve followed Beverley for a while and often asked myself “how is she doing all of this at once?”. She graces us with her techniques and her explanations are satisfyingly clear and confidence-boosting. It’s almost like getting the chance to read her secret recipe to success. Grace lets us in on her tips on how to manage time and prioritise, with little boosters and reassurances that are relatable to those of us in the same generation as her. She backs up her points using various studies and proves herself knowledgeable in organisation and motivation. We’re all guilty of needing a kick up the backside when it comes to being a little too kind, or even too harsh, to ourselves, and one eye-opening thing I’ll remember this book for is this quote: ” sometimes productivity can be a form of self-care, and sometimes self-care is the most productive thing we can do.”
Ultimately, Working Hard, Hardly Working is worth purchasing if you’re looking to tackle your work-life balance. Grace’s practical techniques sincerely help with organisation, productivity and improving your relationship with work for the better. Grab your own copy here.