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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 November 15, 2019

                  How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                  How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                  Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

                  However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

                  Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

                  Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

                  Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

                  What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

                  To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

                  The Biology

                  Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

                  Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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                  The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

                  A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

                  Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

                  So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

                  Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

                  Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

                  Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

                  Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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                  The Psychology

                  Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

                  Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

                  Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

                  Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

                  What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

                  Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

                  Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

                  1. Identify Your Habits

                  As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

                  2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

                  Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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                  It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

                  3. Apply Logic

                  You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

                  Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

                  4. Choose an Alternative

                  As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

                  Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

                  5. Remove Triggers

                  Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

                  Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

                  6. Visualize Change

                  Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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                  For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

                  7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

                  Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

                  Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

                  Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

                  More About Changing Habits

                  Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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