I set a list of goals in the beginning of 2020, and not quite all of them were met due to the unknown circumstances that 2020 brought on. However, I was able to complete my goal regarding reading. I wanted to read at least one book per month, just as I did in 2019, and I again was able to surpass that goal. Here is a list of all the books I made my way through in 2020:
As one of my personal goals for my job, I tasked myself with reading a book for my own professional growth. I reached out to my friend who has often given me good professional advice, and she recommended a few different books to me. The one that stuck out to me the most was called When by Daniel H. Pink, and explored the use of our personality types to use timing to our advantage. Since I was often struggling to get lesser-priority projects done, this concept appealed to me. How can I utilize the ebbs and flows of my day to get the most done? I was pleasantly surprised by how useful and informative I found the book’s information. I took over 10 pages of notes in a notebook, and turned this into a presentation for my co-workers.
Here’s all the information that was included in my Powerpoint presentation to my teammates on how to get the most productivity out of your day:
There are 3 typical parts to your day: Peak (highest level of productivity), Trough (break or lull in the day), Rebound (small boost of productivity).
CHRONOTYPE: a personal pattern of circadian rhythms that influences our physiology and psychology
How to figure out your type: Advanced: track your day for 2 weeks to see peak/trough/rebound patterns; Simple: Ask yourself, What time do you go to sleep? What time do you wake up? And what is the mid-point? 12AM – 3 AM: Lark 4AM – 5 AM: Third Birds 6AM – 12PM: Owl
Larks, Owls, and Third Birds: Larks (most active in the morning: PEAK, TROUGH, REBOUND), Owls (most active at night: REBOUND, TROUGH, PEAK), Third Birds (somewhere in the middle).
Finding where you lean can help to make the rebound productivity easier. Essentially, you should figure out your type, understand your tasks, and select the appropriate time to get things done. Do your most important work during your peak and less priority items during your rebound.
Fun Fact: Thomas Edison spent more time in the lab at night rather than during the day.
Inspiration Paradox: when innovation and creativity are greatest when we are not at our best
Coffee Tips: Don’t drink coffee or other forms of caffeine until at least an hour after you’ve been awake, so as to activate natural chemicals in your brain that make you feel awake. Also, for a proper boost, you should drink some coffee right before taking a 10-20 minute nap, and you will wake up feeling rested just as the caffeine kicks in.
Tips for a better morning: 1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up 2. Don’t drink coffee immediately 3. Soak up the morning sun 4. Schedule talk therapy appointments for the morning
RESTORATIVE BREAKS: Breaks help to maintain focus and reactivate our commitment.
Breaks can help to mitigate your trough of the day, can reduce errors, reduce turnover, reduce stress, and improve overall mood. This can often make lunch the most important meal of the day, not breakfast.
Tip: DO NOT EAT LUNCH AT YOUR WORKSPACE: lunchtime is an important recovery setting.
Tips for Breaks: Something is better than nothing (even a quick breaks is good); Moving beats stationary (walk around); Social beats solo (socializing helps to replenish); Outside beats inside (get into nature!); Fully detached beats semi-detached (unplug! stop talking about work!
Best recommendation for a restorative break: consider a short walk outside with a friend during which you discuss non-work related things.
What to do if you don’t have control over your daily schedule: 1. Be aware: take precautions, like prepping the night before an early meeting 2. Work the margins: use downtime to your advantage
I hope this is able to help inspire some productivity! For more information on timing, processes, and more, you can find this book wherever fine books are sold.
I was given this book to read as an assignment with my team at work. We were paired up with a partner, and teach pair took a different chapter. Considering the entirety of the book was only a little over 100 pages, I just decided to read the whole thing. And to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it.
While I’m sure the author has had wild success with his books, as he has persistently made clear and evident in his writing, it seemed like half of this book was just marketing material for his other books. He clearly thinks very highly of himself and all of his published works (I mean seriously, I got it the first time..and the second.. and the third.. ), I believe I would have enjoyed this dish more if it was served with a big side of humility.
I don’t much enjoy self-improvement books that convince you over and over why their principles will absolutely change your life in all areas. I’d rather get inspired by words and feel the change rather than have it forcibly drilled into the writing again and again. I also don’t care much for arbitrary stories of successful rookies who succeeded as a result of these ideas. Again, I want to obtain that feeling naturally instead of having it force fed to me. The stories and examples he used were kind of arbirary and random, and didn’t always back up the point he was trying to make.
Almost all of the example stories star what are presumably male names: Bill, David, Bob, Michael.. the male executive on the plane.. There was a few stories that involved women, but they were still performing stereotypical female roles (like a doctor who delivers children, or women working in pharmaceuticals ). Oh, and he mentions his wife, Karen (but not her profession – only to advertise for his book on parenting).
Those are my biggest critiques for the book. Anyway, the actual principles are simple: cut through the bullshit to get to the true question behind the question, and take personal accountability to get the right answers.