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20 Essential Books To Supercharge Your Productivity

20 Essential Books To Supercharge Your Productivity

Perhaps the number one rule that productive people emphasize is the need to have a mentor. But with busy lifestyles today, it is difficult to find time to build that relationship. Thankfully, great mentors and teachers for a productive life are only an arm stretch away in a book. Success and productivity comes first from gaining the knowledge. Here are 20 essential productivity books that will turn you into a productivity machine:

1. The 4-Hour Chef, by Tim Ferriss.

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    Tim Ferriss has fast become the ‘go-to guy’ when it comes to productivity, accelerated learning and life hacks. In this book he gives his 4-step method of speed learning: Deconstruct, Selection, Sequence, Stakes. His latest book is a comprehensive coverage of what he also touches on in his earlier books, The 4 Hour Work Week and The 4 Hour Body.

    2. The War Of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

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      Perhaps one of the greatest books on overcoming obstacles in creative work is this by Steven Pressfield. In it he explains Resistance as being that crippling enemy we face every day and gives great short reflections on how to break through.

      3. Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

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        A classic by David Allen, one of the most successful corporate coaches, his book is described by Time Magazine as, “the definitive business self-help book of the decade.” A great tip from this book is the two-minute rule: if there is any task that takes less than two minutes to finish, then drop whatever it is that you are doing and finish that task.

        4. Your Brain At Work, by David Rock.

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          Understanding how your brain works is crucial for success and being productive. David gives a great metaphor for the mind as a stage performance. Your brain’s functions are like a director trying to manage actors and actresses- you need to find the optimum amount that you can work with in order to be productive.

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          5. The Power Of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.

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            Get an insight into what makes good habit and bad habits with this book. Charles Duhigg breaks down the stages of building habits: cue, routine, reward. Productivity is very much dependent upon what your daily habits are. Create better habits and understand why we do the things we do in work and life.

            6. Made To Stick, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

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              It is one thing to work hard, but it can be futile if you are not working smart also. This book will teach you about what sets a winning brand apart from the rest. Be productive but also stand out from the crowd.

              7. What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter.

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                That voice in your head can make all the difference in terms of how productive you are. Shad Helmstetter teaches you to become mindful of negative thoughts that are holding you back and replace them with with productive and positive self-talk you need.

                8. See You At The Top, by Zig Ziglar.

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                  Another classic by the great Zig Ziglar. Learn how to turn “lemons into lemonade” in this book. If you have gone through some difficulties recently, Zig gives some great advice along with a healthy all-round approach to success and being productive.

                  9. Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal.

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                    Procrastination and lack of self-discipline are the greatest enemies of productivity. Dr. Kelly McGonigal is a professor at Stanford University where she teaches on many subject including self-discipline through a psychological lens. She reveals much of her lessons in this book.

                    10. Thinking Fast And Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

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                      Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahnerman helps you to be more productive through understanding the two different faculties of your thinking: the fast, intuitive, and emotional; and slower, more deliberative, and more logical.

                      11. Invisible Influence, by Kevin Hogan.

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                        There are so many subliminal effects at play that may be holding back your productivity. It may simply be the color of your room that is making you lazy. Uncover what some of these are in this book.

                        12. The First 20 Hours: How To Learn Anything…Fast! by Josh Kaufman.

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                          Josh Kaufman unpacks his 4 step method to rapid learning. He teaches an important point on making pre-commitments of 20 hours to your learning in order to see great results and be productive.

                          13. The Art Of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin.

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                            Josh Waitzkin is a grand master chess player who also became a champion martial artist. He breaks down the secrets to learning and being successful in this book as he shares his own personal experiences of what he found to be productive and what was not.

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                            14. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, by Gary Vaynerchuck.

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                              Gary Vaynerchuck is dominating the online marketing world and he gives the secrets to making huge progress and seeing profitable results. He give an incredible amount of case studies showing what practices are the most productive for online work.

                              15. Your Creative Brain, by Shelley Carson.

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                                Dr Shelley Carson from Harvard gives 7 steps to maximize imagination, productivity, and innovation in your life. She explains that creative brains are developed and trained, and breaks down the creativity process to allow you to be creatively productive.

                                16. The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy.

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                                  Being the publisher of Success Magazine, Darren Hardy ought to know a thing or two about being productive and successful. In this book he discussing the crucial accumulation of the little decisions we make each day and how they can drive us toward our goals.

                                  17. Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.

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                                    Regarded by many as one of the greatest books for writers. Lamotte’s incredibly entertaining book helps not only writers but all artist overcome those demons that keep us from being stagnant and overwhelmed with our work.

                                    18. The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle.

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                                      Journalist Daniel Coyle takes readers through 9 different case studies from sports teams to music academies uncovering the truth behind talent. Rather than a gift, it is a product of hard work and productivity.

                                      19. Train You Brain For Success, Roger Seip.

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                                        This book includes a phenomenal section on developing your memory and speed reading. The ability to read and remember well are crucial for being productive.

                                        20. How To Become A Straight-A Student, Cal Newport.

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                                          Cal Newport teaches some unconventional paths and strategies to getting high grades through some more refined studying strategies. Rather than continually cramming he gives effective methods that can be applied to those outside a school setting also.

                                          Add some of these titles to your growing library and begin to enjoy having a more productive life.

                                          Featured photo credit: reading a book by feedough via stockfresh.com

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                                          Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                                          How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                          How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                          Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                                          Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                                          All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                                          Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                                          How bad really is multitasking?

                                          It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                                          Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                                          This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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                                          We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                                          So what to do about it?

                                          Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                                          Now, forget about how to multitask!

                                          Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                                          1. Get enough rest

                                          When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                                          This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                                          When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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                                          2. Plan your day

                                          When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                                          When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                                          Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                                          3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                                          I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                                          I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                                          Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                                          4. When at your desk, do work

                                          We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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                                          Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                                          5. Learn to say no

                                          Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                                          Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                                          By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                                          6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                                          For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                                          Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                                          7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                                          Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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                                          You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                                          The bottom line

                                          Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                                          Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                                          Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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