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The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy Hardcover – January 5, 2016
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"Chris Bailey has tackled the daunting task of personally experimenting with any and every technique you can imagine that could positively affect your productivity. His dedication to the project and his intelligent conclusions, combined with his candor and articulateness, make this a fun, interesting, and useful read!"
— David Allen, author of Getting Things Done
"Chris Bailey might be the most productive man you’d ever hope to meet."
— TED Blog
"Here's a book that promises, in the title, to pay for itself. And, the truth is, it will, in just a few days. And you'll even enjoy the journey."
— Seth Godin, Author of Linchpin
"Chris has written the ultimate guidebook for setting your life on fire. Read it, and you’ll not only get more done, you’ll feel better about it too."
— Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It
"So often we get stuck just doing what we have always done, even if it's not really working. This book helps you cut through all the productivity advice out there to find and test what really works for you."
— Shawn Achor, positive psychology researcher and New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage
"The Productivity Project is well-written, fun, practical and useful all at the same time. I loved this book. It's practical Buddhism at its best!"
— Marshall Goldsmith, bestselling author of Triggers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
"Chris doesn't just want you to be more productive. He wants you to live a better life. This book is a two-hour ticket to not only becoming more productive, but becoming genuinely happier."
—Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation
About the Author
Chris Bailey, a graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa, wrote over 216,000 words on the subject of productivity on his blog, ayearofproductivity.com, during a year long productivity project where he conducted intensive research, as well as dozens of productivity experiments on himself to discover how to become as productive as possible. To date, he has written hundreds of articles on the subject, and has garnered coverage in media as diverse as The New York Times, The Huffington Post, New York magazine, TED, Fast Company, and Lifehacker.
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For me, the biggest take aways were the Rule of 3 (in which you organize your life to have 3 things on your To-Do list), brain dumping (where you right down all the thoughts that you have at that moment and reference later), and the Collection Box (which is similar to the Brain Dump, except you jot thoughts as they come to you while you're working on a task). I use the "Collection Box" at work to focus more, and I find that it has helped bit by bit in exercising my attention muscle. I also made a note to turn off all notifications during work, so that I don't get distracted by the buzzing and pings on the lock screen.
I've only been practicing the techniques for a couple of weeks, so interested to see how this turns out over the year!
My favorite part of Bailey's narrative was his wisdom on low-return vs. high-return tasks, and focus during optimal periods, as customized to each individual. His emphasis on exercise and nutrition (and his innovative experiments therein, using himself as a guinea pig) are also a fantastic way to see through one's New Year's resolutions.
Concepts that may already seem familiar to you will feel new. Concepts that you haven't heard or thought of before will open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking about productivity. I've read a lot of books that claim to help you to be more productive, but this book feels different from all of them, and it's already proven to be more effective than most.
Because of Chris Bailey's voice, the flow of the book, and the way in which Chris easily illustrates every single idea that he brings to the table, The Productivity Project will be a game changer for both professionals, and students. I highly recommend it with full confidence that you will both enjoy it, and benefit from it greatly. Five stars.
Bailey takes a year out of his young life to do an experiment on productivity. What he finds are some astonishing facts about himself, the human race and research that points to how we, as humans, can effectively make the best use of our time, energy and attention. Within the first section of his work, Bailey stresses the importance of discipline and focus by way of the use of meditation. Take note that this is not a Christian or Spiritual Book. However, Bailey highlights an essential element to not only being a person of character and faith; but being grounded requires a time of being centered and focused on the spiritual reality surrounding who we are. In my faith and the dynamics of spiritual formation, I consider this essential in how we work and serve in Christian ministry. As we set our priorities, we are then poised to work smart, knowing that all tasks are not created equal; and learn to identify what is most important.
Bailey contends that productivity is about working deliberately and not, as he terms it, working on ‘autopilot.’ Working deliberately helps you and I to locate priorities in our work, to define the big picture of our tasks and to discern how best we can take control of the obligations at hand. The central pieces of this kind of drive are focus and discipline. As Bailey says: “…productivity has nothing to do with how much you do, and everything to do with how much you accomplish.” (12) Efficiency in our work is no longer enough; it is all about accomplishment. As a strong proponent of daily meditation, Bailey asserts that productive people not only manage their time, but they also manage their attention and their energy well. To this author, the three ingredients of productivity are time, energy and attention; and doing it deliberately and intentionally.
A very important component in this volume is what Bailey terms our Biological Prime Time (BPT). He argues that, by taking a self-assessment in tracking the fluctuations of our own energy levels throughout any given day, we are then poised to take steps to becoming more productive, committing our high-impact tasks to our BPT. As the author stressed, productive people don't just manage their TIME well; they manage their ENERGY and ATTENTION well. Interestingly, if I may apply this to the arenas of relationships or in ministry, we can typically scale our progress in any given relationship or in our spiritual growth in where we assign our energy and attention, as well as our time. In 2016, it should be a general rule of our proverbial thumb not to assign energy to non-impact influences, low-impact thoughts or mundane things that consume our attention. The key point is to spend your time more intelligently and to make every effort to "punctuate your productivity." Generally, it is good to track our time; and, as Bailey contends, when we are aware of how we are spending our time, we are then prepared to make adjustments. I like that he not only gives us the what of maximizing the use of time (after all, most already know they need to manage their time more efficiently); but he walks the reader through the process of doing as such. As this is important to all persons in every station in life, it also applies to how we plan our study time in devotion/meditation, personal growth and time for sermon preparation. Knowing your strong points throughout the day allows you to appropriate and allocate your creativity, sharpness and even vulnerabilities, all that are needed.
The book consists of eight (8) sections. All of them have a different variable; but all of them are simply and overarching of one theme: controlling your mind; redirecting your attention; choosing what you give priority to; getting started on tasks and choosing where you will procrastinate.
Overall, I think the book of overwhelmingly filled with practical principles and tools to prioritize and maximize our productivity; and thus becoming more effective in what we accomplish, short term and long term. Bailey gives a lot of information. I don't think this book is for the faint of heart. In like manner, it is not an easy-read. However, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give this book a 7.5. Again...it is not your typical book on productivity. Therefore, I'd suggest giving it a read!
Most recent customer reviews
- The author was pretty extensive in his experimentation with all of the productivity tips that are out there.Read more