Whether you are a student, an employee, an entrepreneur, a sportsman or an artist, everyone tries to improve his productivity in his field. We try to optimize our organization, by making lists, tables, etc. but it is always insufficient. The notion of productivity is a real mental puzzle, which has stimulated some people enough to be able to write books about it.

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Organizing for Success – David Allen

David Allen is the author of this classic book. His entire book is based on a method he has studied for years: the GTD (Getting Things Done) method. According to him, to be effective, you need to have a crystal clear mind. Your mind can’t afford to be parasitized by distracting thoughts, which is the case all the time. To do this, you have to put all the things you want to do into an automated external system. This system is based on one question “What next concrete action will bring me closer to my goal?“. If today, our brains are pushed to work in multi-tasking, David Allen, proposes to do things step by step, in a carefully prioritized order.

The One Thing – Gary Keller

In this book, we find David Allen’s philosophy: one thing at a time. Gary Keller reappropriates it and rephrases it with his slogan “less is more“. This book is full of interesting metaphors, like the dominoes. Once you have correctly operated the first domino, everything else will follow naturally. It’s all about the first step. Gary Keller encourages you to focus on one task at a time, to define an overarching goal and to focus on the best way to achieve that goal. He also insists on developing a habit, which consists of identifying a task relevant to the achievement of your goal, and repeating it until it becomes part of your unconscious, to become mechanical.

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The Willpower instinct – Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal has carefully studied the willpower instinct to try to understand its mechanisms. According to her, most of the beliefs we have about willpower and self-discipline are erroneous. Physiological experiments allow us to understand the counterintuitive mechanisms of will. Willpower is a muscle that can be worked and perfected in a particular area, and then applied to all areas of life.

This book is quite complete, covering philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. Follow one by one the learning steps proposed by the author and keep an open mind, your strength of will can only grow.

The MAKE TIME Method – Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky

The two authors give us their experience of optimizing energy, concentration and time, in the form of 87 tactics. If you want to do excellent and lasting things, you have to free up time. The two enemies here are: external demands and the obsession to do more and more. One consumes your time unnecessarily, the other, your energy. To fight these enemies, the Make Time method proposes 87 tactics such as the use of a mechanical timer to measure your levels, or the association between a music and an activity to create a habit.

This book is appreciated because, although it is not revolutionary, it clearly and simply states effective methods to become a productivity monster.

Measure What Matters – John Doerr

For the record, John Doerr created a method, which allowed Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to take their company Google to the top. This method was then used by some of the greatest businessmen in the world.

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“Objectives and Key Results”. The OKR method consists of setting ambitious objectives at all levels, and monitoring them on a daily basis through “key results”. What John Doerr calls key results are the concrete, numerical results necessary to achieve the goal.

The ambitious nature of the goal is there to push you out of your comfort zone. When we manage to get out of this mental prison, we surpass ourselves and discover our real potential.

This book is very professional, and oriented for entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, if you want to lead a project, it will provide you with the keys to lead your organization to success.