Quick! While they’re not looking! There’s still time to make a fresh start, now all you need is the inspiration to give you there. Whether you’re under the gun from three layers of management or running a home office, getting a handle on how you work can give you the sense of control necessary to get your own tasks done and not get caught up doing the busywork. Before other people dump their stuff on you, consider rebooting the system.
Getting Things Done, by David Allen
A practical guide to managing not just your work but possibly, your entire life. Allen’s system is one of trimming out clutter; managing all the things that you might do as a list of potential ‘projects’, whether it’s following up on sales calls or painting your living room. But even having a list of projects can still be daunting. One of Allen’s key insights is how breaking down tasks into their component parts actually gets you to complete them. So the first step to painting your living room, is you got to choose a colour; the next step, go buy paint. A journey of a thousand paces really does begin with a single step, and through Allen’s advice you’re able to make that first one a giant.
The War of Art, by Steven Pressman
A philosophical handbook to waging war against procrastination. Steven Pressman frames each person’s struggle for creativity, which could encompass any activity truly expressive of your own desires, to be nothing less than a struggle for life or death itself. Anyone who has faced the agony of the blank page knows what he’s talking about, and the tenacity of the opponent within you, that he terms ‘resistance’ that will do anything rather than the task at hand. Pressman’s book starts by helping you identify your own resistance, then gives you the game plan for taking it down. But don’t expect it to be easy—it’s not called war for nothing.
Back to Work, by Merlin Mann & Dan Benjamin
Not a book, but a productivity podcast by hosts Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin. While their talk can sometimes lean tech-heavy, the advantages of various email protocols say, the majority of their advice covers topics like communication, habit and the various barriers we put up in our lives when trying to get things done. Solid, conversational advice that draws on everything from Star Wars to Zen Buddhism. Plus since it’s audio you can multitask and take it in while commuting—Score!
Image courtesy of Marcin Wichary.