Books that will teach you how to get things done without burning out.

Greg McKeown, “Essentialism. The Way to Simplicity.”

Greg McKeown is a psychologist and business coach. He consults with employees at Apple, Google, Facebook and other major corporations and teaches a course on productivity at Stanford University.

McKeown roughly divides people into two categories – essentialists and non-essentialists. The former know exactly what to spend their time on, the latter “drown” in tasks and have no time for anything. What causes the difference? According to the psychologist, the internal settings.

The essentialist is guided by principles:

  • I make choices.
  • There are only a few things that really matter.
  • I have the power to do many things, but not all of them.

The non-essentialist is guided by the following:

  • I owe it to myself.
  • All of these things are important.
  • I will do the first, and the second, and the third.

To move into the ranks of the essentialist by ceasing to wear myself out with useless tasks, McKeown urges:

  • Learn to sweep away the unnecessary.
  • To begin to focus only on what is really important.

But what is important is not always the right thing to do within a stereotypical mindset. For example, going to medical school because it is prestigious and then buying term papers online because you are not interested, or getting married and having children before the age of 30 because it is common, is the right thing to do, but is it always necessary?

Each chapter examines one aspect of absolutely every person’s life. And McKeon provides a comparison of what an essentialist would do. In brief, the author’s thoughts boil down to the following:

  • Multitasking is exhausting, so it is only appropriate if it can be justified;
  • Only specific goals and objectives matter;
  • Secondary and insignificant projects scatter attention and reduce performance;
  • Be sure to find time to recover, rest helps to “reset”;

The main idea of the book: it is better to do less, but qualitatively, than more, but not good.

Laura Vanderkam, “ 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.”

The basic idea of ” 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think “: If work does not get done in its entirety, it is not the volume of tasks to blame, but ineffective time management. Want to get more done?

Try to understand what and with what frequency time is wasted. This list will easily include the hours spent on useless chatting, endless scrolling through your newsfeed, spontaneous online shopping, and so on. To understand where the time goes, make an experiment – every day fix any of your actions in a day in this way:

12:00 – study;

13:00 – lunch;

13:40 – messenger correspondence;

14:15 – reading the news;

15:00 – doing a learning task;

16:20 – coffee break;

After a week or two, make a recap. Count how many hours it took on average to study/work, get around town and store, do household chores, communicate with loved ones, social media, etc. This method will help you analyze what took more time than you would have liked, and what, on the contrary, was unfairly given much less attention.

Think about what you would like to devote yourself to, but don’t have enough time for. For example, finally going to see a therapist, seeing a friend, taking an online course, etc.

Make a schedule of things to do not for a day, but for the whole week. In doing so, it is important to exclude those things that mercilessly kill time, and include those discussed in the second point.

Chris Bailey, “My Productive Year. How I Tested the Most Famous Personal Effectiveness Techniques on Myself.”

Before writing this book, Bailey spent a year studying scholarly articles and interviewing management experts. Then came the most interesting part: numerous experiments to understand which practices really increase productivity and which ones are meaningless.

For example, Bailey got up at 5:30 every morning, worked 90 hours a week, isolated himself from society, and consumed only water for a month. Which experiments were successful and which ones failed will only be known after reading “My Productive Year.”

Chris Bailey encourages daily focus on three important tasks. Each morning, mentally transport yourself into the evening and ask yourself which three things you’d like to see accomplished. Concentrate on these tasks and keep them in your mind throughout the day.

Kelly McGonigal, “Willpower. How to Develop and Strengthen.”

Surely there must have been a time in your life when you knew exactly what you wanted to do, and even after finding the time to do it, you still did not dare to start. The reason for this may be temptation – the internal and external, disrupting mood (should have studied English, but it is better to go with friends on the street). Or the fear of failure (I won’t be able to take the full course, it’s not worth trying).

Kelly McGonigal, operating with research from medicine, neurobiology and psychology, tells how to trick the brain and still achieve the goal.

The fix idea is to use mirror neurons, which make us copy what we see. The most obvious example is involuntary yawning at the sight of the same person yawning. However, this is the most harmless thing mirror neurons can do to us. It is proven that if your partner or a family member has gained weight, you are likely to do the same.

Create an environment around you whose representatives could serve as an example to you.

Mirror neurons also work in a positive way. Make friends with someone who always manages everything, and your brain will do everything for you – your productivity will increase unknowingly and effortlessly.

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