6 Books That Will Make You More Productive And Change Your Life

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Books are the lifeblood of knowledge. Books go deeper than a YouTube video or a blog post and help us to understand a topic in its entirety. This week, I want to share six books I have read over the last six months that have really helped me to grow and develop myself and I hope in turn they do the same for you.

So here goes in no particular order.

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Ready For Anything by David Allen.

Few people realise that the father of GTD, David Allen, has written more than the productivity bible, Getting Things Done. Among those books, Ready For Anything is the follow up to GTD where David Allen explains some of the finer points of how GTD can work for you and some of the more deeper levels of GTD.

The book is a collection of essays David wrote for the GTD Connect community. It is easy to follow and over time can serve as a quick reference guide for those time you feel a little lost or ‘fall off the GTD wagon’

This is a brilliant read and shines a light on some of the more deeper concepts of GTD. If you do consider buying this book, I recommend you read Getting Things Done first as this will give you the context to take your GTD practice to a much higher level.

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Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

While most people know pilots use checklists to ensure the safety of their planes, few know that checklists are also extensively used in the construction industry as well as in surgical operating rooms.

Atul Gawande explains that the humble checklist can also help us to ensure we are doing the right things at the right time and that we don’t skip essential steps when it comes to achieving our goals and successfully completing projects on time.

I learnt the value of not skipping steps years ago when I sold cars for a living. There was a concept called “the six-month salesman” where after receiving training in the art of sales, a salesperson would grow over-confident and start skipping steps in the sales process at around the six-month mark. When that happened, their sales would begin to fall and their performance would suffer.

The Checklist Manifesto will give you the inspiration and know-how to create your own checklists for those important areas of your life.

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5 AM Club by Robin Sharma

This was definitely my book of 2018. Robin Sharma writes these books differently, choosing to impart his wisdom through the format of a novel. In this book, we are taken on a journey through the eyes of an embattled entrepreneur and a struggling, yet a talented artist.

The book takes us to Mauritius, Rome, São Paulo and South Africa and along the way we learn the power of waking up early, exercise and giving ourselves an hour of power every day. Through the power of story, Robin Sharma teaches us some of his greatest wisdom.

If you only read one book from this list, this is the one to read.

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Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

A scientific book that is readable — a rare book indeed in my experience. In this book, Daniel Kahneman shows us how our brains use two types of analysis when presented with a situation. System one and system two.

System one often leads us to form erroneous conclusions and system two adds the all-important context and analysis. Unfortunately, type two is lazy and will often defer to system one — the less intelligent part.

This book gives us a fascinating insight into how our brains work. Understanding why we think and interpret things as we do and goes a long way to helping us to overcome our worst traits when it comes to productivity.

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The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

This is a brilliant book to help you keep things in perspective. There are 366 mini-essays of no more than around 500 words and you read one a day — hence “The Daily” part of the title.

Not only is this book inspiring every day, but it also shows us that we control only two things in life — our thoughts and our feelings. When you get control of those and do not allow anyone or anything takes that control away from you, you begin to really enjoy life and focus on the things that will improve you and the quality of your life.

What I find with this book is that no matter my mood, or how I feel about something, with quotes from Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, this book really helps to set me up for a day of gratitude and philosophical thought and brings me valuable perspective and context when I need it most.

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The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

A second book from Ryan Holiday and again a book on the Stoics. This is one of those exceptional self-help books that motivates and educates at the same time. The basic tenet of Stoicism is that we cannot control what happens to us, all we can control is how we react to what happens to us.

This book shows us how by taking obstacles and bad events that happen to us and turning them around we can gain insights and knowledge that improve us as people. We can use the three disciplines of Stoicism — perception, action and will — to take these negative events and use them to build stronger and better lives.

When I began reading this book, it was a book I couldn’t wait to pick up again the next day as it inspired and energised me.

With around six months to go this year, these six books are worth a read. That’s just one book a month, reading these books will not only improve your productivity but also your perspective and understanding of life.



Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Books On Sale & Bundles

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Over the last few days I’ve been reviewing the books I have on my website (as well as Amazon and iBookstore) and I have placed some of my books and bundles on sale. 

Here’s what you can find:

On Amazon and iBookstore I have reduced the price of Your Digital Life (edition 1) to $4.99. 

And over on my website, where I have much more control, here’s what you can find: 

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Your Digital Life (Edition 1) is now on sale at $4.50 direct from my website. You can buy either the ePub or Kindle versions at this price. 

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Your Digital Life (Edition 1) + Working With Todoist: The Book, can now be bought as a bundle for $12.50 (reduced from $17.00) ePub or Kindle versions

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The Time And Life Mastery 2018 Workbook is now at an incredibly low price of $5.00. This is an investment I belief everyone should make. This is an investment in your future. (PDF)

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The Your Digital Life 2.0 and Working With Todoist: The book  bundle is now available to purchase at the reduced price of $15.00 (saving $4.50) ePub or Kindle versions

[YDL2.0 EXCERPT 2] Learning From NASA's Mission Control

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One of the most productive and effective places on earth is in Houston, Texas. NASA's Mission Control utilised the latest technology to not only put a man on the moon in 1968 but were so well practised and dedicated to their cause they were able to bring back the astronauts of the fated Apollo 13 mission safely. 

Here's an excerpt from my forthcoming book explaining how they could do that. 

For more information on Your Digital Life 2.0, you can visit the page

 


"One of my favourite films of all time is the film, Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks. The film is the story of the Apollo 13 moon landing mission in April 1970. The problems for Apollo 13 began about twelve hours into the mission when a simple procedure caused an explosion in the engine bay of the spaceship, which started a sequence of events that kept the whole world on tender hooks for four days. The question was, would the crew of Apollo 13 survive and make it back to earth safely?
What most people did not know at the time was the amount of planning and preparation the engineers at Mission Control Center in Houston did before every mission. It took months of testing scenarios, contingency planning and then more testing and simulating before a mission launched. The engineers and flight directors tested every conceivable scenario so they were prepared if anything went wrong. Nothing was overlooked. Unfortunately, one of the very few inconceivable events happened and Mission Control went into full crisis management mode. 
The most inspiring part of the whole Apollo 13 mission was the way Mission Control managed the problem. Once they had the spaceship stabilised and the crew safe, they went about planning the next steps. While the film does not show the timeline very well—it makes it look like all this happened over a few hours, in fact, the rescue mission took four days.—Each step was meticulously planned and tested in the flight simulators. Each problem and potential problem was evaluated and steps were planned to manage or mitigate those problems and a full re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere plan and a checklist was developed and tested before being given to the crew around fourteen hours before the re-entry phase began so they had time to check it themselves. 
The crew of Apollo 13 re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and returned to earth safely. The rescue mission and that is exactly what it was, was executed perfectly and it was all because the team and crew had trained for any eventuality and had plans in place to avert any disaster. 
In many ways, the productive person is like Mission Control Center. They have every potential problem covered. If anything goes wrong with any part of their work or day, they have a plan to quickly and efficiently overcome the problem. They have every possible permutation of scenarios covered, leaving them confident in whatever they do and free of stress and worry."

The 2018 Time And Life Mastery Workbook Is Here!

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It’s the time of year for all productive people (and non-productive people too) to start thinking about what they want to achieve in 2018. And as this year has been a very productive year for me. It is going to be very hard to beat that in 2018. I hope you too find yourself with the same dilemma.

Over the many yearsI have been following productivity, I have always started my planning and thinking in late October/November for the following year. This year, I decided I wanted to help other people create a fantastic year for themselves, so I created a course specifically for that purpose. The Time And Life Mastery course does just that and over 150 students have taken that course and they now have the skills and know-how to achieve incredible success in their lives. 

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But I want to help more people. So, I have created the Time And Life Mastery Workbook. This downloadable PDF file has been beautifully designed to not only guide you through the process of creating a life for yourself that leads you towards the success you desire but does so in a logical and sequential order. 

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This Workbook contains full explanations on what you are doing, and why you are doing it and is full of tips and tricks you can use to take control of your time and your life. There is plenty of space to write/type in your plans and ideas as well as begin discovering exactly what it is that motivates you. 

I have published the workbook in the course, so for all you who have enrolled in the Time And Life Mastery course, you can download your free copy from the last lecture resource page. 

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For those who have not enrolled in the course, but would like to get a copy of the workbook, you can buy a copy right here, or you can enrol in the Time And Life Mastery Course and get a copy of the workbook for free. 

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It just remains for me to wish you all a fantastic planning season and whether or not you buy the workbook or do the course, I want you to know I am always here to answer your questions and guide you on your way. 

Thank you for your wonderful support in 2017. Good luck. 

Working With Todoist: The Book. Why I wrote it.

I’ve just published a book. It’s a book about my favourite application and it’s a book I have spent the last ten months writing and I’ve loved every minute of the process.

In this week’s blog post I want to share with you why I wrote the book, and what’s in the book, and hopefully I can covert you to joining the millions of others who have found Todoist and have used it to become better organised and more productive and of course perhaps persuade you to buy a copy.

At the end of 2015, I decided I wanted to tell everyone about the fantastic productivity app, Todoist. Since I got into digital productivity in 2009, I have tried many of the different productivity apps in the App Store, and none of them really managed to keep me organised and on top of my work and life, and at the same time inspire me to get more work done and stay organised. Only Todoist managed to do that. With its beautiful user interface, logical workflow and immense flexibility, to me this app was the stuff dreams were made of. And I wanted to tell the whole world about it.

But how does an English teacher in South Korea tell the world about an app? I decided the best way to do this was to start a YouTube channel to show as many people as possible how to use Todoist and some of the tricks and tips I had learnt from using it for over 18 months. That channel grew, in fact it grew far better and faster than I ever imagined. I never realised there were so many people who were using Todoist and wanted to get more out of it. The comments and fantastic questions left on the channel helped me to improve my use and show people more great ways to get Todoist working for them. I am so grateful to all my subscribers, those guys have really inspired me.

Because I love writing, I decided the next step in my desire to spread the news about Todoist was to write a book. I know not everyone wants to watch YouTube videos, and I know my production skills are not in the same league as Sam Mendes or even many of my fellow YouTubers, so I began writing ten months ago and finally after a hectic three days, during the long Lunar New Year holiday here in Korea editing and formatting, the book was finished and published.

In the book, I have gone through how you can set up Todoist, use all the amazing features and get yourself organised and on top of everything. I am sure I managed to get in almost everything there is to know about Todoist, how it works and how you can organise it so it fits into your way of working.

The book starts with the basics of setting up projects and creating tasks, then it moves on to labelling, flags and filters. And if that isn’t enough, it then delves deeper in the second part of the book and goes though some of the more advanced features that will very quickly turn you in to a fully fledged expert with Todoist.

I have written this book because I want everyone to find, learn and use the fantastic Todoist everyday of their lives. It can help change your life by bringing order out of chaos and by helping you see the way forward to achieving the things you want to achieve in your life.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this book. It has taken me ten months to write and the whole process has taught me a lot about Todoist and myself. Two other writing projects came up last year that had tighter deadlines and involved working with other people. I had to make decisions about what should be done and when. I learnt to better prioritise and still allow myself time each week to write this book. It took longer than I planned (about two months longer), but the effort was worth it.

The biggest takeaway for me from this experience is that priorities are always shifting, and it is important to be flexible enough to allow for those shifts in priorities. You can always put a project on hold while you work on another, higher priority project, but you should always come back to the original project. Doing a little bit each week. Perseverance and a determination to get a project finished is always going to be the key ingredients for a completed project like writing a book or filming a short film. Far too many great ideas and projects fail to complete because they are not returned to when something else becomes a priority. Don’t give up a great idea just because something else temporarily become the priority.

Throughout the whole process, Todoist was always there to keep nudging me every Friday to write a little more of the book. I didn’t have to do anything special, all I needed was to create a weekly repeating task telling me to “continue writing Todoist book”. I never failed to write something. Sometimes is was as much as 1,000 words, other times it was only 100. But I kept going and Todoist gently reminded me every week. It was a nice break from the pressure of working towards other people’s deadlines too. I made sure I had no other writing to do on a Friday except the Todoist book and it was a wonderful experience.

So, whether you are an occasional user of Todoist, a seasoned user, or if you feel a bit lost and not sure what you need to do and want something to point you in the right direction, then this book, and Todoist, is for you. You can buy a copy either from Apple’s iBooksAmazon Kindle or directly through my website. Go on, treat yourself.

Carl Pullein is the author of Your Digital Life: Everything you need to know to get your life organised and put technology to work for you, a book about how to get yourself organised in the twenty-first century, as well as Working With Todoist: The Book. Get started with Todoist so you can get better organised and achieve greater productivity.