Monday, 8 February 2016

Review: The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention and Energy by Chris Bailey

Publishing Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Random House Canada
Pages: 304

The Premise: I decided to copy the premise from the publisher here because it best explains the reason for the book and how this project was developed by Chris Bailey: (Taken from the Publisher) "A fresh, personal, and entertaining exploration of a topic that concerns all of us: how to be more productive at work and in every facet of our lives. Chris Bailey turned down lucrative job offers to pursue a lifelong dream—to spend a year performing a deep dive experiment into the pursuit of productivity, a subject he had been enamored with since he was a teenager. After obtaining his business degree, he created a blog to chronicle a year-long series of productivity experiments he conducted on himself, where he also continued his research and interviews with some of the world’s foremost experts, from Charles Duhigg to David Allen. Among the experiments that he tackled: Bailey went several weeks with getting by on little to no sleep; he cut out caffeine and sugar; he lived in total isolation for 10 days; he used his smartphone for just an hour a day for three months; he gained ten pounds of muscle mass; he stretched his work week to 90 hours; a late riser, he got up at 5:30 every morning for three months—all the while monitoring the impact of his experiments on the quality and quantity of his work. 
The Productivity Project—and the lessons Chris learned—are the result of that year-long journey. Among the counterintuitive insights Chris Bailey will teach you: 
·         slowing down to work more deliberately;
·         shrinking or eliminating the unimportant; 
·         the rule of three; 
·         striving for imperfection; 
·         scheduling less time for important tasks; 
·         the 20 second rule to distract yourself from the inevitable distractions; 
·         and the concept of productive procrastination.
In an eye-opening and thoroughly engaging read, Bailey offers a treasure trove of insights and over 25 best practices that will help you accomplish more" (RHC). 

My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise to this book, I was instantly intrigued. As a graduate student, I am always "time-poor" and it really still stands even when I try to manage my time the best that I can. I always use an agenda (on my phone and a handwritten one), I always try and set alarms, I always try to designate time to work and time not to work, but still, I always find myself panicking when Sunday arrives realizing I have so much to do and no time to do it. I also find myself feeling tired constantly, and sometimes, my schedule gets a bit messed up because I end up taking these mid-day naps. So to say that I needed help was an understatement. I'm so glad that I picked up Chris Bailey's book because he has shown many tips and tricks that I didn't think about before and have really improved my time in the past few weeks.

To begin with, Bailey begins every chapter with a "Takeaway" statement" what you will take away from the chapter and also an estimated reading time! I really appreciate this little section because in between downtime at work, I was able to see if I could read a chapter or two at my desk. Each chapter also includes a challenge at the end with an estimated time and goal. Those are super interesting and although, I was only able to complete a few so far, I'm finding myself wanting to incorporate it daily. I especially enjoyed the "Impact Challenge" which is great when working on research as a graduate student. Some other tips that I particularly enjoyed were things that "hog your time" and how to cut down on that. He also had great tips regarding caffeine, which I really needed to hear and learn to incorporate since I'm a caffeine addict. Lastly, Bailey approaches the concept of "mindfulness" in a really easy and accessible way. I've read so many mindfulness books in the past year and my therapist even encourages mindfulness practice, but time to time, I find myself still struggling with it. I really liked how Bailey defined it: "Mindfulness is simply the art of deliberately doing on thing at a time" (201) and I think that line really encompasses the whole book. Becoming more aware of our actions and how we are doing it to make sure that we are making the most of our time effectively. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to kickstart their schedule and find more effective ways to be productive! It is such a great read and I'm sure it will be one I return to time and time again.

My rating of the book:  (5/5 stars) 

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

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