I’m lucky. I know that. Most people don’t get to be their own boss, immerse themselves in a field they love and are interested in, or work with their friends. So I know that working as an independent publisher and a cofounder of Libro.fm is unlike most careers.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t find myself stuck, unmotivated, and, on occasion, more likely to go for a run or plan my next vacation than to answer emails or set up business meetings. And in that, I know I’m not alone. Like most people, I ask my friends and colleagues what they do when they get into a rut. The following are some of my and the rest of the Libro.fm team’s favorite books to help us get more done.
We are, after all, going to die someday, as Todd Henry points out in the first few pages of Die Empty. Henry then proceeds to take that stomach-churning, animal anxiety that we have at hearing those words and turn it into a positive, a powerful motivator. To die empty, Henry says, is to die with your best work out there in the world, rather than unrealized.
After feeling the need to create, do, or share, many people are still stuck, feeling exposed, asking, “but can I?” That’s where You Are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney comes into play. McRaney shares tips to beat your own brain, circumventing your own logical fallacies and building up happiness.
Drive and confidence are only part of the equation. If you really want to maximize time, sloughing off hours of labor, take advice from Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week. Ferriss offers solid advice for delegating tasks, negotiating with confidence and authority, and minimizing actual work. Ferriss is not a psychologist or an economist. He’s a real person, who has managed to turn his life around, going from, as he says “14-hour days and $40,000 per year to 4-hour weeks and $40,000 per month.” Four hours of work may be too extreme for some people. After all, there is more to work than just money, and some of us, myself included, love what we do. But there’s no denying that Ferriss’s techniques are worth exploring.
Speaking of efficiency, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande demonstrates the power of putting pen to paper and getting more done through simple checklists. The Economist described it as “both a meditation on the growing complexity of the world and a how-to book on coping with that complexity.” Drawing from his background as an endocrine and general surgeon, Gawande shows how something as simple as a checklist can break down any intensive and overwhelming task. In compelling prose, he shares stories of pilots, doctors, chefs and more, using these tricks to deconstruct what would otherwise be tasks too intricate for the human brain to tackle. Checklists are even more important in many of these stories because so often people in these situations are working in vast teams.
I don’t know about you, but I’m actually excited to get back to work already. I’m going to make a list in Simplenote right now.
What books help you fight procrastination? Let us know in the comments or link to your own review. Sign up for our newsletter to hear more about these great authors.