This book, ‘Do it today’ by Darius Foroux popped in the suggestions on my kindle unlimited subscription. Generally, around this time of the year, I am quite on ‘high-resolutions’ mode (a mode where you make all high and mighty resolutions for the forthcoming year) and I lapped this book up. Productivity is a subject that interests me infinitely. As far as I remember, I have always been into ‘to do’ lists and on the constant lookout for ideas, techniques, apps, etc, you name it, to improve productivity. More so, since I became a SAHM where ‘schedule’ largely is self-motivated. How much I was dependent on the security of a ‘structured scheduling environment’ as a working individual, I became aware only when I quit work. The days are so open-ended that you are either unstoppable or unmovable (!) depending on how you handle it. Anyhow, this book seemed ideal for me, therefore. Following is not a review as such, but a short compilation of main ideas that the author has explored.
The book by itself is sort of an anthology of various articles written by the author on the subject of productivity, divided into three sections:
- Overcoming Procrastination
- Improving Productivity
- Achieving More
Not a review per se, but just two cents – the articles resonated with me – especially part 1. Most of the things I read in this entire book are concepts and ideas that I already knew. Such thoughts had occurred to me sometime or the other – since I too like the author am on a lookout to reduce procrastination and improve productivity. Nothing groundbreaking. What this book did for me was to compile all these ideas together in simple language (since these probably are blog articles). The author’s conviction and honest, to the point style of writing is also appealing in that he seems to have understood the dilemmas and thoughts of individuals struggling with productivity. Another advantage of the article style of writing is that one can begin with whatever one is interested in without following a particular order. These are some key ideas discussed in the book:
- Always have a small set of daily tasks/ activities to give you a basic structure. Complete the most important tasks first. Do it today /Eat that frog/the one thing etc etc etc.
- Exercise the brain and body every day without fail.
- Eliminate useless activities/things /possessions which have no purpose in your life and in fact distract you.
- Remember about past good times and success to propel yourself
- Do not rely on willpower to push you. Build a proper system no matter how mundane the task. Build self – imposed deadlines, accountability systems (like friends), be in control of health by eating clean and exercising. Explore ‘WHY do you do what you do’
- Measure the time spent on each activity in your schedule for a few days to establish a pattern, identify non-productive work, eliminate time wasters.
- Some enemies of productivity – Overworking, worrying too much, Being stubborn and not being open to external ideas, constantly checking emails/ social media, trying to escape ‘real-life’ by shying away from issues instead of tackling them head-on, saying yes, not writing things down, being overcritical of oneself, neglecting personal education, hating the rules
- Productivity boosters: reviewing the current day by the end of the day and exploring what needs to be done still / improvements, planning your next day in advance including the outfit, visualize how the next day is going to be and make adjustments to the schedule
- Connecting to the internet only when necessary instead of being ‘always online’ and scheduling time for social media activities.
- Doing things one loves or learning to love what you do will make you more efficient
- Create a self-starting motto/mantra/slogan line and remind yourself of it anytime you feel you are slacking.
- Pausing from time to time to calibrate focus because distractions are a constant companion. Also, take vacations, breaks in between just to enjoy life. Rest reduces stress. Improves productivity. Get bored.
- Know that you can survive without a phone and consume it only when necessary. Cut the noise.
- Perfection is an enemy of productivity in some cases because it may lead to someone never starting a task or keep such high standards for yourself that you always feel you’re failing. In short, the solution for this is what Geeta says – ‘Do your tasks without expectations’ ‘Karm Karo. Phal ki Apeksha mat Karo’.
- Take a 5 mins to break every 35-45 mins since the human attention span is up to 45 mins on average.
- Stop consuming too much information. YOLO doesn’t help productivity at all.
- Don’t multitask. (*I agree. Multitasking is the biggest myth in my experience. Being a woman, I have surprised many by saying this on and off. Except for my husband of course. He has first-hand proof of the fact that not all women can multitask. He feels great that I am not his better half, but his equal.)
- Check email twice a day. There is a hormonal reaction associated with constant checking of emails, messages, etc and we should avoid it because it’s got adverse consequences too.
- No smartphone during the first hour of your day.
- Keep ‘thinking’ to a minimum. (* a struggle for me indeed. I find this is my principal productivity destroyer. )
- Avoid useless meetings.
- Try time blocking. In other words, dedicate a block of time to only a single activity. Again goes back to avoiding multitasking.
- Be open and flexible to the uncertainty in schedules, ideas, and life in general. While you plan your day, be open that some things will always be beyond your control.
- The key is to know your ‘direction’ and not your ‘destination’. Never get fixated on the destination.
- Work on these skills – Self – discipline, personal effectiveness, communication, negotiation, persuasion, physical strength, flexibility
- Leave the workplace on time.
- Consistency is the key. Baby steps at a time. Believe in the power of compounding.
- Rinse and repeat. Stay a beginner. Always, there will be something that you need to learn.
- Measure success by the quality of your energy, your work, and your relationships.
Thought of jotting these down as a synopsis instead of navigating through the kindle notes.