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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?

                            More by this author

                            Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) Building Relationships: 11 Rules for Self-Promotion

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                            1 How to Master the Art of Prioritization 2 How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life 3 What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time 4 Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) 5 How To Start a Conversation with Anyone

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                            Last Updated on September 10, 2019

                            How to Master the Art of Prioritization

                            How to Master the Art of Prioritization

                            Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

                            By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

                            Effective Prioritization

                            There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

                            Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

                            The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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                            Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

                            Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

                            If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

                            Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

                            My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

                            I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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                            Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

                            But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

                            The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

                            I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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                            That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

                            You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

                            My point is:

                            The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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                            What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

                            And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

                            “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

                            In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

                            If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

                            More About Prioritization & Time Management

                            Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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