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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 January 2, 2019

                Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

                Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

                The end of the year is the time when everyone tries to give you advice on how to live healthier, look better, and earn more money.

                It’s understandable if you find yourself lost among all the tips and opinions. Sometimes you no longer know what you truly want to achieve next year – and what’s just imposed by society.

                To help you out, we’ve made this article about the things you should remove from your new year’s resolution list – instead of adding to it – to make your daily life more harmonious and peaceful.

                So just make sure you cross these off your New Year’s to-do list – your body, mind and soul will be thankful.

                1. Stop Buying Meaningless Gifts

                We all know the sense of obligation – when we have to buy a gift for an event or celebration that’s already tomorrow, but we still have no idea of what to give.

                Take these tips close to heart for all upcoming holidays, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.:

                Stop focusing on the material objects

                Instead of focusing on what material object to give, think about the emotion you want to evoke[1] in the gift recipient, and then pick a symbolic gift that can support or represent that emotion. For example, you can gift coziness by presenting a “comfort set” with warm socks, tea, candles, etc. Or give motivation by presenting a beautiful planner or notebook.

                Plan gifts in advance

                We know this is easier said than done. But if you try to plan which gifts you’ll need in the upcoming months (try making a list three or four times a year), ideas will more likely come to mind and you’ll avoid that last-minute shopping. Not to mention, you’ll be able to keep an eye on sales to get the best prices.

                Suggest a better way

                If you’re tired of exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, initiate a different approach. For example, draw names among family members and agree that each one only buys a present to that one person they got. Alternatively, you can agree not to share gifts among adults, and only give presents to kids of the family. Or, ask friends to donate to charity instead of buying a gift for you.

                Go for common experiences instead of exchanging gifts

                You can agree (with your partner or the extended family) to go on a common trip, dinner or another activity, instead of spending money on gifts.

                Sometimes you’ll have to be the one who initiates breaking the rules that have been accepted in the family for years. But if you suspect that you’re not the only one in the group who’s tired of gift-hunting, you’ll surely find support for your suggestions.

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                2. Don’t Exaggerate with Diets and Fitness Resolutions

                It’s no secret that TV shows, article headlines, and ads (not to mention our healthy diet-obsessed friends) make us feel like we need to look better, slimmer and younger than we actually are. But going on yet another diet or starting a fitness plan with the wrong motivation rarely leads to great results.

                If you are like many people, you have probably signed up for an annual gym membership at least once in your life – only to drop it one month later.

                How do you balance a good resolution for a healthier life without pushing yourself into commitments that won’t last?

                Here’s what you can do:

                Set a healthier pattern

                For example, do meat-free Mondays or reduce meat consumption to three days per week (less saturated fat for you and better for the environment). Or choose to eat only healthy food at least three days a week or only on weekdays (e.g. make sure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and protein). This way you’ll already have a healthier diet while still being able to treat yourself with a snack on weekends or parties.

                Get a fitness watch

                Fitness watches like Fitbit or MiBand are tiny accessories that will count your steps, calories burnt and will serve as an excellent motivator to move – or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

                Find a physical activity that you enjoy

                Even if you are not that fond of doing sports, you can definitely find an activity that you’d do with pleasure. Think about what you’d like – from taking up Nordic walking to pilates or even exercising at home.

                Try intermittent fasting

                This is an alternating cycles of fasting and eating. For example, stop eating at 8 pm and restart not sooner than 12 hours later. This approach has been proven to have numerous health benefits, in addition to weight loss.

                Skip cabs or driving to work and opt for cycling or walking instead

                You’ll burn calories, breathe some fresh air, and save money – win-win!

                3. Put a Cap on Your Daily To-Do List

                In today’s busy world, planning your day in a stress-free way is actually an art in itself. It’s natural to want to be a loving parent, a diligent employee, an active member of the local community and probably several other individual roles.

                But playing all these roles requires energy and meticulous planning. How not to lose yourself amidst all the appointments and responsibilities? And – most importantly – how to still find time for relaxing and recharging yourself?

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                These daily planning tips will help you have more stress-free days:

                Leave bigger intervals between meetings

                If you schedule too many appointments or chores in a day, you’ll probably end up late at some point, and as a result – more stressed. There are many different reasons why people are late, but poor planning is a major factor too.

                Plan time to relax

                As weird as it may sound, you should try and schedule your resting time. For example, if you only have one free evening this week, and a friend tries to squeeze in a meeting, feel free to say no. Don’t feel obliged to specify the reason for your refusal, just say that you are busy.

                Try to be a little pessimistic

                We’re often packed with plans or running late for errands because we tend to be overly optimistic – about the traffic, the time it takes to do things, etc. Instead, try an opposite tactic — assume you’ll hit traffic or the meeting will take longer.

                Try waking up earlier

                Sometimes even waking up 30 minutes earlier can give you the much-needed head start for several errands of the day. But remember to get enough sleep every night, even if it means going to bed earlier.

                Plan your day the day before

                Chances are your day will be much better organized if you pack a lunch and lay out an outfit before going to bed.

                Designate a time for checking emails and social messages

                If you start checking your messages between appointments, you risk getting lost in a sea of messages that need replies. Designate a time for this activity or do it in case you arrived early to a meeting.

                4. Let Go of Unhealthy and Time-Consuming Habits

                If there’s one thing we should get rid of in the new year, it’s the habits that steal our time, provide instant gratification but don’t offer any value in the long term. Or even worse, leave a negative impact on our health.

                Here are some common (and pointless) habits along with tips on how to get rid of them:

                Binge-watching TV series

                Even if most online television platforms offer you lists of “Best TV Shows to Binge Watch”, being addicted to series is a major time-waster.

                You can manage this addiction in several ways, for example, watch one episode per day (or a few per week) as a reward, only after you’ve finished an assignment or done a house chore. Or try replacing this habit with exercise or reading a book – this will be hard at first but should stick after a few weeks. You can also try to track how much time you spend on TV or movies – seeing how much of your life you are wasting might urge you to do something about it.

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                Running on coffee

                Being a coffee addict is kind of a stylish addiction nowadays, but it’s not that innocent as it may initially seem. Besides addiction being a problem in itself, drinking too much coffee (more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day) may lead to nervousness, insomnia, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat, and even muscle tremors.[2]

                As a solution, try switching to tea or edible coffee – a more sustainable, healthy, and productivity-enhancing alternative. For example, Coffee Pixels are solid coffee bars that generate a more even energy kick throughout the day without the coffee-induced abstinence and dehydration.

                Procrastination

                Fighting procrastination requires some serious willpower. If it is a problem in your daily life or work, try ”eating the frog” in the morning – get over your biggest or hardest tasks first, then tackle everything else.

                Alternatively, use time tracking software to monitor exactly how much time you waste on unproductive actions, websites or apps. Once you know exactly how much time you’re spending unproductively, try to limit your time on social media, for example to just 20 minutes per day.

                If nothing else works, try bribing yourself — promise yourself to do something fun or pleasant when you finish your assignment.

                Whichever habit you want to give up, consider using some habits building tools to make a contract with yourself and reward yourself for milestones achieved.

                5. Stop over-consuming

                We live in the age of consumerism – huge manufacturers with their promise of a comfortable life on the one hand, and growing environmental threats – that are the direct result of our modern lifestyle – on the other hand. There’s only one solution – try to consume less whenever and wherever you can.

                Before making additional purchases, ask yourself these questions:

                • Do I really need it? Did I need it yesterday?
                • Can’t I buy it used or borrow it from friends?
                • Can I rent it?
                • Can I make it myself?
                • Am I buying the most sustainable version of this product?

                For example, check if the brand you chose is conscious about the environment, for example, are the products they manufacture energy efficient? Do they try to use less packaging?

                Also, if you often find yourself buying too many groceries, promise to buy only the amount that fits in one shopping bag (that you bring along). If you often forget to take your shopping bag with you, get yourself a 2-in-1 wallet with a built-in shopping bag for more eco-friendly shopping.

                6. Learn to Unplug from Your Phone

                Today’s world is crammed with information, and many people struggle to keep focus on what’s truly important. There’s just too much going on in the world – too much to read, to watch, to know, too many conversations to participate in.

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                But how to refuse the temptation to check the phone and start using social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way?

                Some tips for managing your phone-dependency:

                Spend only a limited amount of battery per day

                For example, start your day with 50% battery life, and manage your phone usage so that you’ll make it till the evening.

                Block distracting apps and notifications on your phone and computer

                Choose one-hour, two-hour or longer blocking sessions and enjoy the positive impact this will have on your mood and productivity.[3]

                Set your phone on flight mode

                When you start doing an important task that requires full focus, set your phone on flight mode so that nobody can disturb you.

                Leave your phone at home or in the office when you go for lunch

                You’ll see that the feeling of being unreachable for a moment is actually very liberating.

                The Bottom Line

                As a new year begins, we’re all excitedly looking forward to what adventures await ahead of us.

                But this year, promise yourself this:

                Instead of having a never-ending list of tasks and commitments, focus on the truly meaningful ones. And cross-out all the rest without feeling guilty.

                Less is more. Make this year count. We’re all rooting for you.

                Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

                Reference

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