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My Productivity Must Reads

My Productivity Book ListI always have an ongoing book list.  Books I love, books I’d like to read and books that lots of people suggest.  Mostly I keep the list in GoodReads or Evernote. Last week I was a guest at a book club because they were reading my book Listful Thinking.

It was great to hear how people are using lists in their everyday lives because of my book!  It’s really thrilling.  But someone asked me what some of my favorite productivity books are and I realized I’ve never listed it out here on this blog.

So here goes:

Checklist Manifesto (Dr. Atul Gwande) – Dr. Gwande is a surgeon who worked with the World Health Organization to get checklists into operating rooms.  Those checklists helped to cut down on mistakes made by the medical staff during surgeries.

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Laura Vanderkam) – Nobody likes waking up early. But the truth is doing things before work in the morning means there’s a higher chance you’ll actually get those things done and out of the way to feel much more accomplished and productive before you sit down at your desk.  This book gives you some great ideas and examples on how to do it.

Getting Things Done (David Allen) – To me, David Allen is the father of productivity and he always has amazing tricks to save you time.  I was fortunate enough to get his endorsement of my own book.  He just released a brand new version with updates — so be sure to check it out.

Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin) – Have you ever wished you were happier? I think a lot of people think about this but do nothing about it. Author Gretchen Rubin did something about it and spent a year focusing on ways to be happier. If you haven’t read it — you must. It’s funny, cute, insightful and thought provoking. And she loves lists and talks about using them to be happier!

Time Management from the Inside Out (Julie Morgenstern) – Julie’s productivity tips are well known, I regularly reference them on this blog. She wrote the foreword for Listful Thinking and revealed that as a former actress and creative person she really shied away from “being organized.”  She thought she would lose her edge but it turns out getting her act together really paid off in the end.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo) – Transform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with the incredible KonMari Method. Japan’s expert declutterer and professional cleaner Marie Kondo will help you tidy your rooms once and for all with her inspirational step-by-step method.  I’ve become completely obsessed with this book.

Things to Bring, S#!t to Do (Karen Rizzo) – As far as we’re aware we are not related, but since Karen’s first book is a memoir told entirely in lists, we may well be. There’s plenty of stuff for list makers to relate to in this book. From how our needs change over time, to that one thing that never gets done.

What’s on your must read list?

A List Can Save Your Life

Turns out making a list can do a lot more than just help you remember to pick up milk from the grocery store. When I first started this blog I got a comment on one of my posts from a family friend. She mentioned that having a list actually saved her life. Yep – you heard me right. The act of writing something down reminded her to do something crucial, which prolonged her life. Amazing right!

Checklists and Your Health

The comment was from a woman named Kate — who is a mother of three and a full-time teacher. She’s constantly running here and there between her children, husband, work and personal life. But it was a to-do list that stopped her for a moment and reminded her to make her annual doctor’s appointments.

Because of that list – doctors found a precancerous breast condition. She was able to take precautionary measures to reduce her chances of developing advanced breast cancer later in life. She told me that checking off “make doctor’s appointment” from her to-do list – saved her life. The power of a simple list is amazing — it’s no wonder that doctors use them too. Read more

Grey’s Anatomy Docs use Checklists…And so do Real Docs

By now I hope that you’re caught up on your DVR..because I’m going to talk about last Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy episode. Don’t worry – there won’t be any spoilers. But I will tell you that one of the doctors brought attention to one of my favorite things…a checklist!

Over eager Dr. April Kepner bounced through the halls pestering Dr. Christina Yang about using a checklist to make sure all the protocol was met for one of their patient’s care. Dr. Kepner explained that the checklist has been used in aviation for years and helps to cut out human error.

It’s true – I just finished reading “The Checklist Manifesto” by Dr. Atul Gawande and he notes that airline pilots fill out pre-flight checklists and have crisis checklists incase anything goes wrong in flight. Read more