These are actionable ideas from three of the most popular productivity books today (originally shared on Medium by Louis Tsai). These books are highly recommended for getting work done or how to be effective at what you do.
1. The 4-Hour Workweek (by Tim Ferriss)
1. Aim high so you can create your own reality and write your own rules.
2. Step outside of your comfort zone and take action now.
3. Try to gain the freedom of remote working within your current job.
4. Be effective on the job by working on things with the goal of gaining remote work.
5. The 80/20 rule applies with work: 20% of work will bring 80% of results. So, focus on being productive instead of busy.
6. Time is money. Remove things that reduce your effectiveness at the job.
7. Rate the importance of a task by asking yourself, “If this is the only thing I do today, would I be happy with today?”
8. Finish your high priority items before noon.
9. Address email and voicemail messages after completing the high priority tasks are done. Then bundle tasks to finish them.
10. Have others play by your communication rules.
11. Set up an automatic source of income by outsourcing everything. The key is to use as little of your time as possible.
12. Have open communication and do not let your input be a requirement in the business process.
13. Delegate as much responsibility as possible.
14. Validate and test your products before selling. Set up an online store with out-of-stock items and an A/B testing ad campaign.
15. Establish credibility in your product category.
16. Appear bigger; because people trust larger companies.
17. Be picky about your customers. The 20/80 rule applies. Top 20% of your customers will be responsible for 80% of revenue, so attend to them.
18. Go premium with your product because premium quality brings higher profit and customer quality.
19. Don’t lie to yourself and think that when staying within your comfort zone, things will magically be okay.
20. Don’t start your day by checking emails.
21. A fulfilling life can be achieved by being mobile and flexible. This means that you can do whatever you like, whenever you like.
22. Moderate, automatic income you can manage anywhere around the world allows for the mobility required for the lifestyle you truly want.
23. The worst-case scenario from making a decision is usually not as bad as you think.
24. Five steps to independence: 1) start with a full time 9–5 job; 2) move to a full time remote 9–5 job; 3) gain efficiency to reduce 9–5 tasks to 9–1; 4) use other time to automate alternative income; 5) quit old job and live on alternative income.
2. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (by Stephen Covey)
25. Effectively integrating into the world means aligning personal paradigms with universal principles.
26. “Sharpen the Saw” to stay effective. Stay physically fit by exercising. Stay mentally healthy by learning new things. Stay socially and emotionally engaged by developing positive relationships. Maintain spiritual health by confronting and reflecting on your own values.
27. Be proactive and take control of your own fate.
28. Begin with the end in mind and set long term goals with an understanding of your personal mission statement.
29. Visualize the outcome of every step toward your goal so it will be easier to translate into concrete actions. “Put First Things First” by prioritizing things that bring you toward your goals and are consistent with your values or norms.
31. Practice the Win-Win mentality. It will create good relationships, mutual trust, and long term benefits.
32. Forming stable relationships means listening empathetically to others and understanding their personal paradigms so you can contribute and invest in their goals.
33. Engage in active listening by repeating back people’s own words, mirroring their emotions, and helping structure their thought processes.
34. Synergize with others by cooperating openly and respectfully. Collectives can achieve a result that is impossible for an individual.
35. Don’t say yes to everything.
36. Don’t view the world from a Win-Lose, competitive perspective.
37. To change, you have to address your character, not your behaviour.
38. Our paradigms are our subjective perception of the world that shapes our habits.
39. If you want to be able to influence others, first seek to understand. Only then can you be understood.
3. Getting Things Done (by David Allen)
40. Focus. When other thoughts enter the mind, record them on an external nearby Thought Bucket.
41. Empty the Thought Bucket weekly and organize it.
42. Remove unimportant items, finish 2-minute tasks, and enter deadlines, or appointments in your calendar.
43. Practice outcome thinking by having a project list that tracks steps leading to desired goals. The most urgent step on the project list goes to the Next Action list.
44. The Next Action list should stay with you at all times so you can choose to act on them when time frees up.
45. The Waiting For list can help expedite things.
46. The Tickler File consists of 31 days and 12 months into the future, and is for time sensitive reminders.
47. The Someday/Maybe list is for ideas in the future that are not concrete projects yet.
48. Set up a functional workplace to create a cockpit of control that eases your mind.
49. Review and update all of your lists weekly.
50. Natural planning turns ambiguous ideas into brainstorming sessions that reduce the fog and provide clarity into actionable steps.
51. Don’t multi-task. Focus 100% of your mental capacity on the task at hand.
52. Our brain’s nature is to think. Thus, thoughts might enter our mind that distract us from the current tasks.
53. Daily to-do lists are inefficient because of their warped view of time.