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8 Books to Turn Your Productivity Around

love reading! Not just because I enjoy learning about new things or ideas, but because I find it fascinating how a book can seep into your daily mindset.

If I’m really interested in a book I will often find that the concepts within the book will appear all around me. Friends will bring up a issues that relate to key themes in the book or I’ll face a problem at work similar to issues brought up in the book.

It’s for this reason that productivity books can be so good for you. While you may not implement all the practices suggested it at least gets you thinking about the different approaches to getting things done. You might even think of a way to adapt one of the ideas in the book to be more suitable for your lifestyle. Read more

Marie Kondo Sparks Joy in Person

Paula with Marie

Paula with Marie

Who knew watching someone fold clothes could be so mesmerizing?  

I sat with a packed audience at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on a Friday night as Marie Kondo folded oddly-shaped clothing carefully and slowly.  

She’s the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Her newest book and the reason for this gathering is called, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.”

Watching her fold never got old.  (I didn’t mean to rhyme there but I was just feeling that sentence and it’s true.) The whole room was in a collective trance — Marie had our full attention.

She folded up one side of a shirt and then the other and created a small origami-esque package again and again.

Everyone was fixated on the tiny woman, who was wearing a white top and skirt with black tights, work her magic.  

It was like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.  

A real craftsman at work.   Read more

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.  In this book he explains how lists can be used as an effective strategy for any task whether it be getting more done at a meeting or brain surgery.  

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?