Productivity and GTD
5 Books That Will Help You Be More Productive
I read over twenty books each year; books on productivity, business, programming, design, economics, and fiction novels. Besides being one of the small pleasures of life, reading helps me learn things I would not learn otherwise. It helps me improve many aspects of my life.
So I am going to share with you the books about personal productivity that I find really interesting. I am starting with these five:
Focus, by Daniel Goleman
In a world full of distractions, it is our attention span what determines our level of performance in certain tasks. The day has 24 hours and that cannot be changed. What we can do is to decide where to focus during that time. That is the key, not only of productivity, but of the excellence with which we perform our achievements.
Goleman warns about the enormous importance of this mental asset today, and explains how the three types of focus work. The internal focus helps us connect with our own intuitions and values, the external focus helps us navigate the world around us, and the focus on others helps us in our relationships. He also explains how they can be improved and kept in balance.
The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
Habits are small choices we made one day and ended up becoming routines and exerting a major impact on all aspects of our lives. Surely the reason that many people cannot be as productive as they would like is because thay have failed to develop the necessary habits to get and stay organized.
In this book, Duhigg explains what science says about how habits work, and how we can create new habits, eliminate those we know are harmful and change those that can be improved.
The book is divided into three parts, where the author talks about how habits affect us as individuals, how they affect organizations and how they affect societies.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
More than a book about productivity, it is a comprehensive guide to go through life. Covey talks more about principles than about practices, since principles are deep and fundamental truths that have universal application. When we internalize them into habits, they allow us to deal with any situation.
Covey says we must cultivate some essential habits, approaching them from inside out. To succeed in our relationships with others, we must first work on our personal traits.
So the first three habits (be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and put first things first) have to do with the management of oneself, while the next three ones (think win-win, seek first to understand and then to be understood, and synergize) have to do with our relationship with others. The seventh habit (sharpen the saw) is to constantly renew, learn and grow; it represents a return the previous ones.
The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss
This book is certainly the most transgressive—and somewhat controversial—of all. Although it is more focused on entrepreneurs and employees who dream of living in a different way, you’ll find real productive gems in it. It is very enjoyable to read, incisive and also very practical. Somehow, seeing how the author seeks to find solutions totally out of his comfort zone helps you see life differently.
Tim Ferriss explains how, through a four-stage process—definition, elimination, automation, and liberation—you can get the best results with the less effort. The goal is to have a rich life, that is, a life where you do what you love, enjoy your work and your time, and generate enough income to support that lifestyle.
Getting Things Done, by David Allen
This is the book that gave rise to the GTD methodology, about which I write very often in this blog.
Given the new demands of our society, in which virtually all of us have the stressful feeling of not having enough time to do all we have to do, and in which there are no clear boundaries in our responsibilities, David Allen presents a personal organizing method that allows you to deal with this problem.
Allen ensures that our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Based on simple principles, this method provides a five-step workflow —collect, process, organize, review and do—that will help you manage your day to day.