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The Lifehack Productivity Bookshelf

The Lifehack Productivity Bookshelf

Skillings - Escape from Corporate America

    I just received my copy of Lifehack contributor Pamela Skilling’s new book Escape from Corporate America: A Practical Guide to Creating the Career of Your Dreams. Pamela’s book is a guide for people fed up with the corporate lifestyle — the lack of creative expression, the lack of spiritual reward, and ultimately the lack of control over the conditions of your own employment — who are looking to “make a break for it” and follow their dreams. I’ve only managed to read the introduction and a few pages of chapter 1 so far, so I have no real review to offer — I have, however, asked Pamela to come on Lifehack Live next month to talk about the book, so keep your eyes open for that.

    Pamela isn’t the only Lifehack contributor who has published on themes related to personal productivity, organization, creativity, and the other topics Lifehack covers. In fact, you could fill a pretty nice-sized bookshelf with the work our contributors and former contributors have written. Which is just about what you’d expect from a group of such talented writers, all of whom are experts of one kind or another in their fields. 

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    Here, then, is a guide to the work of Lifehack’s contributors. Where an author has written several relevant books, I’ll pick one I think is representative and try to give you links to the rest of their work. With summer upon us, maybe you’ll want to tuck a couple of these into your carry-on bag or into your suitcase as you set out on vacation!

    Aitchison - Making Friends
      Steven Aitchison, Change Your Thoughts Guide to Making Friends

      In this short e-book, Steven discusses the value of true friendship, and how you can attract more true friends to yourself. Also look at the Change Your Thoughts Guide to Lucid Dreaming.

      Babauta - Zen to Done
        Leo Babauta, Zen to Done

        Ex-Lifehack Contributor Leo Babauta offers his take on the popular GTD methodology, combining it with his own take on simplicity to create an easy to adopt and maintain system for anyone.Check out my review of Zen to Done.

        Devalia - Get the Life You Love
          Arvind Devalia, Get the Life You Love and Live It

          Part philosophical guide, part workbook, Arvind walks readers through the process of figuring out their goals and dreams and changing their lives to make those dreams a reality. Check out my interview with Arvind on Lifehack Live.

          Harper - Fattitude
            Craig Harper, Fattitude

            Craig takes on the psychological and emotional blocks to weight loss and healthy living. Check out his other books and DVDs too, including his Little Books for Life such as So you’ve decided to get into shape (again).

            Manahan - Where's My Oasis?
              Rowan Manahan, Where’s My Oasis?

              With wit and humor, Manahan guides job-seekers through the process of “career hunting”, from deciding where to apply though sending resumes, interviewing, and finally negotiating terms. Rowan emphasizes long-term planning throughout, hoping to help you avoid getting yourself stuck on a path that isn’t your own.

              Marrero - 30 Ways to Find Time to Get Organized
                Lorie Marrero, The Clutter Diet

                Not a book per se but an ongoing membership providing regular updates on home organization — with newsletters, tutorials, videos, and all sorts of other content. Download Lorie’s e-book, 20 Ways to Find Time to Get Organized, from her blog. I talked with Lorie about The Clutter Diet on Lifehack Live.

                Roosen and Nakagawa - Overcoming Inventoritis
                  Peter Paul Roosen and Tatsuya Nakagawa, Overcoming Inventoritis: The Silent Killer of Innovation

                  Peter and Tatsuya take on the corporate world’s obsession with it’s own creations, even when there’s no market for their products. Check out my interview with the pair on Lifehack Live.

                  Sabo - Manage Your Email & Paper Mail
                    Susan Sabo, Manage Your Email & Paper Mail

                    In this e-book, Susan tackles the #1 problem for many people: dealing with email overload! I talked with Susan on Lifehack Live about her work.

                    Savage - Slow Leadership
                      Adrian Savage, Slow Leadership: Civilizing The Organization

                      Adrian Savage challenges the macho, take-no-prisoners approach to leadership, what he calls “hamburger management” – all fast food and quick fixes — showing how ineffective it is and ultimately how much it damages companies.

                      Say - Managing with Aloha
                        Rosa Say, Managing with Aloha: Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

                        Former Lifehack Contributor Rosa Say explores ways to bring the values of traditional Hawaiian culture to the modern workplace.

                        Sloane - The Innovative Leader
                          Paul Sloane, The Innovative Leader: How to Inspire Your Team and Drive Creativity

                          Lateral thinking is a model of creativity and innovation that approaches problems “sideways”. Paul has written a number of books of lateral thinking puzzles to help exercise this skill; here, he applies the lessons of lateral thinking to leadership, advocating vision and innovation over control.Check out the entire body of work at Paul Sloan’s website.

                          Young - Learn More, Study Less
                            Scott Young, Learn More, Study Less

                            Former Lifehack writer Scott Young applies his understanding of how the mind works to the question of lifelong learning in this e-book on studying and learning more efficiently.I interviewed Scott on Lifehack Live back in January.

                            That’s a baker’s dozen of good books and e-books right there, and for some of our authors, there are several more as well. If you’ve read any of our contributors’ books, why don’t you let the rest of the Lifehack community know what you thought in the comments?

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                            The Gentle Art of Saying No

                            The Gentle Art of Saying No

                            No!

                            It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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                            But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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                            What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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                            But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

                            1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
                            2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
                            3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
                            4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
                            5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
                            6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
                            7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
                            8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
                            9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
                            10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

                            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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