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7 Books You Should Read to Increase Your Productivity

7 Books You Should Read to Increase Your Productivity


Learning to be more productive is one of the best things we can do to be more effective and efficient with everything that we do. Being more productive means stuff takes less time, you make fewer mistakes and you make better quality progress towards some desired outcome. That said, it’s amazing they don’t teach basic productivity skills in schools and colleges. So, I’ve put together a short list of some of books that teach the essentials of productivity that everyone can benefit from.

1.The 4-Hour Work Weekby Tim Ferriss

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    The 4-Hour Work Week teaches techniques to increase your time and financial freedom giving you more lifestyle options. By automating a passive income and liberating yourself from unproductive tasks, you can live the lifestyle of the “new rich”—one defined by having, doing and being what you want. Even for those people who have no interest in starting their own business, the principles in The 4-Hour Work Week can be applied to almost any situation or environment you find yourself in. The ideas behind the 80/20 principle, outsourcing, elimination and liberation will help you develop a much more productive mindset.

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    2.
    Getting Things Doneby David Allengtd

      Getting Things Done is arguable the world’s most well known book on productivity. The lessons in this book should be considered essential reading for anyone looking to pursue a more productive lifestyle. Getting Things Done takes you through a workflow which you can use to manage your workload much more effectively. The principles in the book are simple, but are often the things we forget about that we need reminding of. Getting Things Done was recently updated to reflect how this workflow applies to modern technology.

      3.How to Win Friends & Influence Peopleby Dale Carnegie

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        Everyone, and I mean everyone can learn something from How to Win Friends & Influence People. The principles in the book are simple, but something a lot of us fail to use or remember. This book will help you to convince people to your way of thinking, avoid arguments and become more liked. If you’re in a leadership or sales type role, I strongly recommend this book. HTWFIP was one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies world-wide. But what has it got to do with Productivity? Well, by managing people more effectively (particularly in a working environment), you can produce better quality work together. This increased effectiveness goes hand-in-hand with higher productivity.

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        4.I Will Teach You to be Richby Rami Sethi

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          I Will Teach You to be Rich helps you identify where your money is going and gets it working for you so that you can save for the things that will bring you true happiness and lead a rich life. The six week program identifies how to create a system for optimising your bill payments, savings and investments so that your money goes to all the right places with less than an hour of maintenance a month. Now who wouldn’t want to spend less time managing their bank accounts while at the same time knowing that your money is going to the places it needs to be. Automating your finances like this is incredibly rewarding and will save you heaps of time every month.

          5.Manage Your Day to Dayby 99U

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            As the book describes; should you answer that email, or answer your calling? Tune into social media, or tune in to your own voice? Respond to other people’s needs or actively set your own agenda? When it comes to creative work, every decision, every day, matters. 99U brings together the insights of 20 creative experts to produce Manage Your Day to Day. Learn how to build a rock solid routine, find focus and sharpen your creative mind.

            6.Sleep Smarterby Shawn Stevenson

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              Sleep Smarter

              is a quick and easy read packed with facts, studies and scientific insight all about getting better quality sleep. Author, Shawn Stevenson takes you through the essential components of a good nights sleep. The book also contains a few surprises about how much impact sleep has on your day to day health. When you improve the quality of your sleep, almost every aspect of your life improves, including—yes, you guessed it—your productivity. By the end of the book you’ll definitely be settling in for a good nights sleep.

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              7.What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfastby Laura Vanderkam

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                Productivity researcher Laura Vanderkam has combined her three mini e-books into one comprehensive guide. Through Laura’s research and interviews, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast reveals how to plan your mornings, weekends and work time to be achieve greater productivity and happiness. It was after reading Laura’s book that I transformed my morning routine which is now one of my favourite times of day. If you’d like to learn the most common productivity skills among the worlds top performers, then this is the book for you.

                Featured photo credit: PicJumbo via picjumbo.com

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                Last Updated on July 16, 2019

                6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

                Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

                What to have for dinner tonight?

                Which route to take to work?

                How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

                How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

                Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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                No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

                Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

                Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

                Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

                Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

                How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

                Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

                You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

                When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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                1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

                Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

                I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

                2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

                5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

                By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

                For example:

                If the problem is “always late to work”…

                • Why am I late to work?
                  I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
                • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
                  I feel so tired in the morning.
                • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
                  I slept late the night before, that’s why.
                • Why did I sleep late?
                  I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
                • Why did I drink coffee?
                  Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

                So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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                3. Simplify Things

                As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

                Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

                4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

                Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

                Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

                Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

                5. Think Laterally

                Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

                ‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

                Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

                Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

                6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

                Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

                Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

                The Bottom Line

                There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

                Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

                Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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                So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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