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Design Your Day: Be More Productive, Set Better Goals, and Live Life On Purpose Paperback – January 5, 2016
The 30 Best Self Help Books
This list reflects books that have saved lives and have sold millions of copies. Learn more on AbeBooks.com
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"As a busy mom who also works part-time outside the home, I am always on the lookout for any tips that will help with productivity, time management, and focus. As with most books in the genre, I began Claire Diaz-Ortiz’s Design Your Day simultaneously excited for a new “a-aha!” moment, and skeptical that the book would only contain the same old re-hashed ideas. I’m happy to say that the book delivers new concepts, and reinforces why brainstorming and other efforts that can seem like time sinks are necessary.
Diaz-Ortiz spends much time addressing goal setting (including realistic and relevant goals), and an action plan for determining where one should focus his/her efforts based on priorities, core competencies and enjoyment. The book also contains many helpful time tracking, goal setting, and other productivity resources.
Thank to you NetGalley and Moody Publishers for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review."
Reviewed by Jennifer Johnson, Net Galley, Oct 20, 2015
"Rating: 5/5 stars
Before I start, two things about me:
One, I might be the biggest procrastinator in the entire universe.
Two, I am not the biggest fan of self-help books, however, I have found them necessary in the last few months.
While I am still struggling to reach the seventh chapter of Antoni De Melo’s Call To Love (which might be due to a poor translation) and yes, I am still putting Joe Barry’s Panic Away Program to the test, I successfully tackled Design Your Day within a day (pun not intended, if it is, in fact, a pun).
ATTENTION UNIVERSE: Mrs. Diaz-Ortiz deserves all the awards for this book.
When I stumbled onto this book on NetGalley, I KNEW that I had to read it. I felt like it was written for me.
Now, let me tell you a couple of reasons why I needed Design Your Day in my life, and therefore you need it in yours.
First off, the writing. Mrs. Diaz-Ortiz has a one of a kind gift. She has the ability to explain complicated mechanisms with ease and wit which not only makes a usually-slow-moving-genre book interesting, it makes you excited to read the rest. It inspires you to try what it suggests.
I started this book at six in the morning (thanks to my cat) with the intention to power through it, wondering if a rainy Saturday morning is the best timing for a self-help book. But I ended up finishing it in four hours AND I already had my WORD OF THE YEAR, as well as a brainstorming session. That’s how inspiring it is.
Second off, the theories and techniques Mrs. Diaz-Ortiz suggests. While it all sounds complicated and hard to achieve after reading the introduction, once you actually start reading, you’ll see how simple it all is. Some day-to-day things we do can make a difference in your productivity.
Third off, IT WORKS."
Reviewed by Hristina Petrov, NetGalley, Dec 27, 2015
"I received this book just as I was about to start my annual process of setting goals for next year. I have been going about that task somewhat haphazardly in the past, but this book offers some very pragmatic ideas for setting those goals and breaking them down into achievable portions. This is instrumental in actually accomplishing those goals. In addition, the author offered some great insight into organizing a workday in order to be more productive and waste less time. Very practical guide for anyone with busy days or who might want to take a good look at what they want to accomplish."
Reviewed by Kathryn Strain, NetGalley, Nov 19, 2015
From the Back Cover
"There are a lot of books about goal setting. This one is special. It helps you set meaningful goals and gives you simple and effective strategies for achieving them."¿—Scott Warner, CEO, Gigg
When it comes to productivity, hard work is half the battle. The first half—the crucial half—is planning well.
Enter the DO LESS method, a simple way to achieve your goals more often, in less time, and with greater peace of mind. Learn how to:
- Decide the right goals for you
- Create workable strategies for reaching them
- Harness time for maximum efficiency
Whether you want to finish a project, lose weight, or read 200 books a year, Design Your Day is an all-in-one guide to spending time with purpose. Use Claire’s tips and tools, and you’ll be amazed at what you can do in a day, let alone a lifetime.
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She teaches us to Do Less which stands for:
D – Decide
O – Organize
L – Limit
E – Edit
S – Streamline
S – Stop
The LESS is under the Organize umbrella. What I mean is those are the steps to organizing your life.
The author starts off by talking about the seemingly popular habit of picking a word of the year which I also highly recommend.
In the decide section she teaches us to create quality goals by going over the popular SMART method but also including some help with coming up with those goals from her as well. She teaches us to separate our goals into groups such as Family, Personal, Work and God. She then shares some tips for reaching those goals.
In the organize section she helps us look at the things we do each day and figure out if they are important or not and if it HAS to be us that does them or not. She shows us how to make sure we are working only during work times and not wasting time “working” all day and not getting anything done. The Streamline section includes lots of ways to do just that, make you more productive but take up less time. The last part shows you that you need to take breaks in order to really be productive when you ARE working. She shows us how.
This little book is a very good productivity book and actually better than some much longer books I’ve read and ultimately couldn’t finish. It’s always a good sign when a time management book is short.
The Do Less Method
This first section is all about taking your time back. Too many people spend too much of their time being busy, but not necessarily productive. Ortiz spends a lot of time explaining how to rid oneself of the busywork people fill their calendars with and how to put that time to better use. The first step in doing that is deciding what, in fact, is important to you. What goals have you set for yourself this year? What do you want to accomplish? Ortiz suggests getting an idea notebook to get yourself started on your journey to reaching your goals. You will write down every idea that comes to mind in this notebook. Once you have a handful of ideas written, then it’s time to turn those ideas into actionable steps toward a goal, specifically a “S.M.A.R.T. goal.”
I first learned what a S.M.A.R.T. goal was about a year ago when studying for my N.A.S.M. personal trainer’s certificate. A lot of you may already be familiar with what a S.M.A.R.T. goal is. For those that aren’t, the acronym is as follows:
S – Specific. Your goals should be very clear and concise. For example, you can’t just say “I want to be healthier.” That’s too vague. Where do you start? What do you consider “healthier?” Try going with something like “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to be able to run 5 miles without stopping.”
M – Measurable. You need to be able to track your progress along the way to achieving your goal. Just like in my last example, you can’t measure “healthier,” but you can measure the distance you run without stopping.
A – Actionable. This refers to steps you can take one-by-one to accomplish your goal. With the running example, maybe you can run a tenth of a mile further every day until you reach five miles.
R – Relevant. Your goals should make sense and be in alignment with who you are.
T – Timely. Give yourself a timeline. When do you need to have what done?
Who’s read my review on The 4-Hour Workweek? Do you remember the 80/20 principle Tim Ferriss uses in his business and his personal life? Well, Ortiz uses it too. Weird right? Two successful authors are using the same principle to accomplish their own goals. If you haven’t read my review on The 4-Hour Workweek and are not sure what the 80/20 principle is, I’ll give you a quick overview. Ask yourself which 20% of your actions are causing 80% of your anxiety or stress? Figure them out and stop doing those actions. Which 20% of your actions are resulting in 80% of your happiness? Do more of those. That was super oversimplified, but it should get the point across enough for you to understand the idea behind the 80/20 principle.
Ortiz goes over many other topics involved with goal-setting. She talks about activity lists and outsourcing (just like Tim Ferriss did in The 4-Hour Workweek.) She also gives a list of tools to use for tracking how much time you spend on different activities to find out how productive you are actually being. All-in-all, I think Ortiz crafted a great book for any person trying to get themselves on track for whatever they are looking to accomplish.
Her strategy is her Do Less Method. It is a productivity and goal setting model designed to get more done in less time and succeed more often. The book is in two parts. The first part concentrates on deciding what is important and what we really want. The second part is about organizing. It includes productivity strategies to reach SMART goals and includes the four steps of limit, edit, streamline, stop. (Decide, Organize, Limit, Edit, Streamline, Stop – DO LESS)
I liked her idea of brainstorming and free writing to get as many ideas as possible. We are to welcome unusual ones and withhold criticism. Then ideas are combined and improved upon, then structured into SMART goals. She suggests creating goals for the major areas of life: God/Faith, Family, Health, Personal, Work, Money.
But having goals is only half the process. She suggests we limit ourselves to work our best 20 percent. She helps us understand how to identify those activities. Next she suggests we edit the time we spend at work, like establishing specific work hours, and taking time off. She suggests we schedule our day and gives several strategies for doing our best work at our most productive times. She also helps us know when to stop working, that is, when to stop trying.
I really appreciated this book. It is a good book for anyone wanting to get more done in less time. The idea is not to work more but to work smarter. This might take some experimentation to find our best times and places for work. But the reward is getting more done with time left over.
This is a good introductory level book on living life more effectively. People who have read many productivity books may not find much new here. Diaz-Ortiz includes many ideas from other authors too. I've read many productivity books yet I was inspired again to write and review goals and plan my day better. She includes a good bibliography for those who would like to read more.
Diaz-Ortiz says her goal is, “...discovering why God put me on this earth at this particular time and place and then doing that thing He wants me to do.” If you have a similar goal, this book will get you well along the path.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.