In The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey shows us how to be more productive in any part of our lives—work, school, meetings, etc. If you’re looking to become more productive, to make any simple changes in your life, this book provides helpful tips.
Chris Bailey talks about how he’d turned down lucrative job offers in order to pursue his lifelong dream: to spend a year performing an experiment into the pursuit of productivity, which has been his area of interest since he was a teenager. After obtaining a business degree, he created a blog that talked about his yearlong productivity project he conducted on himself, including where he continued his research and interviews with some of the world’s foremost experts, from Charles Duhigg to David Allen.
Included in Bailey’s experiments were: getting by on little to no sleep, for several weeks; cutting out caffeine and sugar; living in total isolation for ten days; using his smartphone for just an hour a day, for three months; and, stretching his workweek to 90 hours. Because he was usually a late riser, he forced himself to rise at 5:30 a.m., every day, for three months. He did all this while monitoring the impact of his experiments on the quality and quantity of his work.
Throughout this book, Chris will teach you:
- Slowing down to work more deliberately
- Shrinking or eliminating the unimportant
- The Rule of Three
- Striving for imperfection
- Scheduling less time for important tasks
- The 20-second rule to distract yourself from the inevitable distractions
- The concept of productive procrastination
Somewhere near the middle of this book, I made a goal to start rising, every day, at 7 a.m. Even 7:30, at the latest. I set my alarm every night. I don’t remember when I started the goal—I have a bad habit of not keeping track of certain things—however, it’s been working out. Whether I have to be somewhere early or not, I just like the idea of appreciating a nice morning. Oversleeping got me nowhere; I’d just miss out on a good morning. So far, so good with rising early.
Although I love a good cup of coffee, including soda, Chris Bailey has a relevant point on the constant consumption of caffeine and sugar: it slows you down and ruins your productivity, especially depending on the time of day you consume it. I’m doing my best to cut back. After all, Bailey suggests we consume caffeine strategically, not habitually. I’m glad he mentioned how our health can make a big difference with our productivity.
Here’s one passage I did like from the book: Working deliberately and purposefully throughout the day can make or break how productive you are. But having a purpose is just as important. The intention behind your actions is like the shaft behind an arrowhead—it’s pretty difficult to become more productive day in and day out when you don’t care about what you want to accomplish on a deeper level…Investing countless hours becoming more productive, or taking on new habits or routines, is a waste if you don’t actually care about the changes you’re trying to make. And you won’t have the motivation to sustain these changes in the long term.”
Bailey also points out: Productivity is about how much you accomplish.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to read this book. I still have a long way to go with making some changes in my life. It’s helpful to know that productivity isn’t about having so much to do on a daily basis; it’s about how much you accomplish on a daily basis. I encourage you, readers, to check out this book.
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, A Year of Productivity, during a yearlong productivity project where he conducted intensive research to discover how to become as productive as possible. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject and has garnered coverage in media, such as The New York Times, The Huffington Post, New York magazine, TED, Fast Company, and Lifehacker. For more info, click here.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.