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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.  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?

Getting to Your Forgotten To-Dos

ShineonWe all have that one thing at the bottom of our list. The thing that keeps popping up over and over again and getting copied from list to list. My friend Karen Rizzo, author of “Things to Bring, S#!t to Do.” – an autobiography in lists, had ‘learn Italian’ written on the bottom of her list for years. Other people have different goals like learning a musical instrument or running a marathon.

Well now it’s crunch time.

The first thing you have to think about is – Do I actually want this? It’s fun to dream about learning a new language, but the reality is  — it takes a lot of time and work. Do you have that free time? It’s okay to let it go if you don’t. We can’t do everything.

Read more

Things to Bring, S#!t to Do!

Your List as Your MemoirI recently spoke with Karen Rizzo, author of “Things to Bring, S#!t to Do.” As far as we’re aware we are not related, but since Karen’s first book is a memoir told entirely in lists, we might well be! List making might be in our blood because like me, Karen inherited her list-making tendencies from her father.

Our Lists Reveal Our Personalities 

Our lists are usually very personal.  The lists I write probably say a lot about who I am.  Karen explained to me that this was the idea behind her book. She had been asked to write some words of wisdom for a new mother, and as she sat with the blank paper in front of her, all she could think of were things she needed to do. This spark of inspiration became the central theme of her book. Read more

Lists Can Tell Stories

Your lists can tell so much about you. Where you’re going, what you’re doing, how much you have left to do, if you need milk, etc.

More Than a Grocery List

An artsy guy named Bill Keaggy collected a bunch of grocery lists in his blog and book, “Milk Eggs Vodka: Grocery Lists Lost and Found.” People from all over sent in their lists or ones that they found and the results were pretty telling. There were normal grocery items like milk and eggs.  But some offer strange combinations like the one that includes hair detangler and Prozac. Bill’s commentary always makes me laugh.  Check it out for a chuckle. Read more