Thursday, March 3

The Productivity Project

Everyone is busy, all the time – or at least so it seems, these days. As a result, maximizing productivity to make the most of our time is, not surprisingly, a huge source of public interest.

Openly obsessive about productivity, author and blogger Chris Bailey turned down several high-paying job offers to spend a year exploring and experimenting with the subject of productivity to find out what really works and what's just hype. Initially, he chronicled his experiences on his blog. When his year-long experiment ended, he culled the best and most valuable findings from his work and turned them into a book: The Productivity Project.

Clearly written by someone who values efficiency, the book walks a neat line, being fluidly easy to read while still concise and extremely well organized. Every chapter starts with an 'estimated reading time' and a clear statement of the key takeaway (which I loved), and ends with a short, highly relevant “exercise” to help readers implement what they've learned. Bailey strikes a valuable balance between research and personal experience, reminding readers that despite some universal truths (we each only get 24 hours a day) every person and situation is unique, so our individual solutions may be too.

I found myself constantly flagging pages to come back to and chew on again, and will definitely be rereading this and recommending it to others. Far and away my favorite part was the author's emphasis on the fact that all productivity improvements come down to manipulating one of three core components: time, attention, and energy. This simple but high-impact framework really (and positively) changed how I looked at a lot of things I've been doing and gave me valuable direction for future choices.