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8 Inspirational Productivity Books To Change Your Mindset Forever

8 Inspirational Productivity Books To Change Your Mindset Forever

The right book has the potential to change your mindset and significantly improve your productivty. By studying these productivity books and applying their concepts, your life will never look the same.

1. The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

FourHourWorkWeek

    Published in 2007, this book has inspired people around the world. If you have ever wondered how the lifestyle entrepreneur concept became so popular, much of that movement can be attributed to this book’s success. I’ve read the book twice and found it valuable both times. In mindset, this book shows us that time freedom is often more valuable than cash.

    A book sitting on the shelf cannot do anything to help you. One of the best aspects of the book are the challenges that Ferriss lays out for readers. For example, he suggests lying flat on the ground in a public space for 10 seconds. It’s a small unconventional act that demonstrates there is little actual risk from challenging an established norm.

    Favorite tip: propose solutions instead of asking for opinions. It moves conversations and daily life along much faster.

    Buy The 4 Hour Workweek on Amazon

    2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

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    GettingThingsDoneCover

      David Allen’s classic book is the Bible of business and personal productivity. Unlike some business books that simply present a list of tips and other concepts, Allen delivers a full productivity system to the reader. In terms of mindset, “Getting Things Done” shows that we can maintain perspective and control over our ever growing to do lists. Truly, the book delivers on the promise of helping you to achieve stress free productivity.

      Favorite tip: I learned how to do a weekly review after reading Getting Things Done.

      Buy Getting Things Done on Amazon.

      3. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod

      TheMiracleMorning

        They way you start your day has an incredible impact on your productivity. Many of us have read about the morning routines of successful people. The Miracle Morning goes much further. In reading this book and applying the ideas, you can find the time to reinvent yourself through fitness, reading and other personal development activities. When it comes to mindset, this book demonstrates that you can boost your productivity and results through an effective morning routine. It is possible to wake up early!

        Favorite tip: Build a morning routine with several components (e.g. read for 10 minutes, journal for 10 minutes and do 10 minutes of exercise) so you are ready for the rest of the day.

        Buy The Miracle Morning on Amazon

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        4. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

        TheEffectiveExecutive

          Published over 50 years ago, Drucker’s book is an outstanding resource for people in large organizations. For mindset, the early chapter “Know Thy Time” challenges the reader to make a log of how they spend their days. Simply understanding how you spend your time at work can be a shocking revelation. The book also teaches a great

          Favorite tip: The focus on contribution is an outstanding tip. As Drucker writes, “To ask, ‘What can I contribute?’ is to look for the unused potential in the job.”

          Buy The Effective Executive on Amazon.

          5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

          Rich Dad Poor Dad

            Taking command over your money is an important aspect of productivity. With greater financial resources, you can outsource tasks (e.g. use cleaning services or hire a virtual assistant). Of all the financial books I have read, this book had the greatest impact on my view of money. For example, Kiyosaki defines an asset as something that generates cash for you – that means your car and personal home are not assets! For many of us, we are used to looking at our homes as assets. In fact, our homes usually drain cash! The book reminds us of the importance of building new income producing assets (e.g. dividend paying stocks, ownership in companies, royalties etc).

            Favorite tip: Kiyosaki recommends seeking work that gives you learning and growth opportunity, rather than a comfortable job – that’s a great way to grow your productive capability.

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            Buy Rich Dad, Poor Dad on Amazon.

            6. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

            TheEMyth

              Many entrepreneurs cite this book as a key resource in growing their skills and taking control over their lives. Many people get into business because they are tired of working for someone else. Others are interested in focusing on their craft or passion – baking, writing or working on cars. Gerber’s book points out that it is vital to create systems and procedures for the business to grow – otherwise the business will never grow past your personal productivity.

              Favorite tip: Write standard operating procedures for every aspect of your job so that you the business can keep running whether you show up or not.

              Buy The E-Myth Revisited on Amazon.

              7. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

              TheChecklistManifesto

                Making mistakes is frustrating! The typical answer to avoiding mistakes and improving performance is more education and training. However, there are other options. The mindset lesson from The Checklist Manifesto is that a simple checklist can significantly improve performance. For example, Atul Gawande discuses examples where commercial pilots constantly use checklists so that flights run safely. Many medical professionals including surgeons, nurses and others use checklists to avoid mistakes in health care.

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                Favorite tip: Learn how to create a checklist to improve your productivity.

                Buy The Checklist Manifesto on Amazon.

                8. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

                Essentialism

                  Deciding where to focus your limited time and attention is a key choice in productivity. While hacks and tips will improve your results, those are secondary considerations. The mindset lesson from “Essentialism” is to say no to requests, people and tasks that are non-essential. It is a painful skill to master, especially if you have been a people pleaser. The book is an enjoyable read and includes illustrations from McKeown’s life experience.

                  Favorite tip: Follow the “protect the asset” suggestion by getting enough sleep and exercise. A sound body is key to staying productive.

                  Buy Essentialism on Amazon.

                  Featured photo credit: Library/James_Valma via pixabay.com

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                  Bruce Harpham

                  Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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                  Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                  8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                  8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                  You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                  Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                  When you train your brain, you will:

                  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
                  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

                  So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

                  1. Work your memory

                  Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                  When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                  If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                  The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                  Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                  Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                  What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                  For example, say you just met someone new:

                  “Hi, my name is George”

                  Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

                  Got it? Good.

                  2. Do something different repeatedly

                  By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                  Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                  It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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                  And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

                  But how does this apply to your life right now?

                  Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                  Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                  Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                  So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                  You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                  That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                  3. Learn something new

                  It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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                  For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

                  Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                  You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                  4. Follow a brain training program

                  The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                  5. Work your body

                  You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                  Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                  Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                  Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                  6. Spend time with your loved ones

                  If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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                  If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

                  I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                  7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                  Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                  Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                  Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                  8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                  Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                  When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                  So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                  The bottom line

                  Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                  Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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