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HBR Guide to Being More Productive (HBR Guide Series)

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Every day begins with the same challenge: too many tasks on your to-do list and not enough time to accomplish them. Perhaps you tell yourself to just buckle down and get it all done—skip lunch, work a longer day. Maybe you throw your hands up, recognize you can’t do it all, and just begin fighting the biggest fire or greasing the squeakiest wheel. And yet you know how good Every day begins with the same challenge: too many tasks on your to-do list and not enough time to accomplish them. Perhaps you tell yourself to just buckle down and get it all done—skip lunch, work a longer day. Maybe you throw your hands up, recognize you can’t do it all, and just begin fighting the biggest fire or greasing the squeakiest wheel. And yet you know how good it feels on those days when you’re working at peak productivity, taking care of difficult and meaty projects while also knocking off the smaller tasks that have been hanging over your head forever. Those are the times when your day didn’t run you—you ran your day. To have more of those days more often, you need to discover what works for you given your strengths, your preferences, and the things you must accomplish. Whether you’re an assistant or the CEO, whether you’ve been in the workforce for 40 years or are just starting out, this guide will help you be more productive. You’ll discover different ways to: • Motivate yourself to work when you really don’t want to • Take on less, but get more done • Preserve time for your most important work • Improve your focus • Make the most of small pockets of time between meetings • Set boundaries with colleagues—without alienating them • Take time off without tearing your hair out Arm yourself with the advice you need to succeed on the job, with the most trusted brand in business. Packed with how-to essentials from leading experts, the HBR Guides provide smart answers to your most pressing work challenges.


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Every day begins with the same challenge: too many tasks on your to-do list and not enough time to accomplish them. Perhaps you tell yourself to just buckle down and get it all done—skip lunch, work a longer day. Maybe you throw your hands up, recognize you can’t do it all, and just begin fighting the biggest fire or greasing the squeakiest wheel. And yet you know how good Every day begins with the same challenge: too many tasks on your to-do list and not enough time to accomplish them. Perhaps you tell yourself to just buckle down and get it all done—skip lunch, work a longer day. Maybe you throw your hands up, recognize you can’t do it all, and just begin fighting the biggest fire or greasing the squeakiest wheel. And yet you know how good it feels on those days when you’re working at peak productivity, taking care of difficult and meaty projects while also knocking off the smaller tasks that have been hanging over your head forever. Those are the times when your day didn’t run you—you ran your day. To have more of those days more often, you need to discover what works for you given your strengths, your preferences, and the things you must accomplish. Whether you’re an assistant or the CEO, whether you’ve been in the workforce for 40 years or are just starting out, this guide will help you be more productive. You’ll discover different ways to: • Motivate yourself to work when you really don’t want to • Take on less, but get more done • Preserve time for your most important work • Improve your focus • Make the most of small pockets of time between meetings • Set boundaries with colleagues—without alienating them • Take time off without tearing your hair out Arm yourself with the advice you need to succeed on the job, with the most trusted brand in business. Packed with how-to essentials from leading experts, the HBR Guides provide smart answers to your most pressing work challenges.

30 review for HBR Guide to Being More Productive (HBR Guide Series)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Henry Barry

    Not earth shattering but this book has some useful insights and is a quick read. Worth the time to check out.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ms_prue

    Another book of former blog posts. The size of this book is weird; this series is formatted into a small tablet-sized paperback, which makes it pretty much impossible to read one-handed and you have to open both sides quite firmly to see inside the book because there's so much spine and so little page width. That's right - a paperback with usability issues. The mind boggles. Another book of former blog posts. The size of this book is weird; this series is formatted into a small tablet-sized paperback, which makes it pretty much impossible to read one-handed and you have to open both sides quite firmly to see inside the book because there's so much spine and so little page width. That's right - a paperback with usability issues. The mind boggles.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Ellis

    First few chapters were great and very helpful exercises. The rest of the book was just small chapters with summaries of various studies and lacked actual practical advice.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Some good takeaways here, fast reads. "Planning your week typically takes 30-60 minutes, and project planning takes much longer." From Elizabeth Grace Saunders, "You May Hate Planning, But You Should Do It Anyway." In HBR Guide to Being More Productive, p. 37. "...keeping an eye on the plan and making adjustments is just as important as delivering a complete product—it maintains process stability." Ibid p. 39 Some good takeaways here, fast reads. "Planning your week typically takes 30-60 minutes, and project planning takes much longer." From Elizabeth Grace Saunders, "You May Hate Planning, But You Should Do It Anyway." In HBR Guide to Being More Productive, p. 37. "...keeping an eye on the plan and making adjustments is just as important as delivering a complete product—it maintains process stability." Ibid p. 39

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ian Burrell

    Life most of the HBR series these short articles vary greatly - some are insightful, some less so and some contradict each other. Nevertheless, there is enough here of value to make this a worthwhile read. Not all the advice will tick your box but you'll find something here if you are looking to improve your productivity toolkit. Life most of the HBR series these short articles vary greatly - some are insightful, some less so and some contradict each other. Nevertheless, there is enough here of value to make this a worthwhile read. Not all the advice will tick your box but you'll find something here if you are looking to improve your productivity toolkit.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    To be honest, many chapters didn't resonate with me, but still here and there I could read great advice and probably I wouldn't have discovered many things on procrastination, as chapter 25 from Heidi Grant, or on the problem of focussing. Also finding out that problems like "the nagging colleague" or "how to make travelling productive" are taken into account was relieving for me. To be honest, many chapters didn't resonate with me, but still here and there I could read great advice and probably I wouldn't have discovered many things on procrastination, as chapter 25 from Heidi Grant, or on the problem of focussing. Also finding out that problems like "the nagging colleague" or "how to make travelling productive" are taken into account was relieving for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mason Marcobello

    A compilation of Interesting and useful insights from industry experts. Although it felt like something was missing throughout this book to make it truly transformative. The articles seemed like a compilation of “how-to” blog posts rather than a standard reflective of what I initially presumed Harvard would put together. Overall still worth a read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shivai

    Great elucidation of ideas. There isn't anything in the book per se that you haven't heard of or don't know. But, perhaps text being written gives clearer perspectives. If nothing else, it gives you insights to other literature of the authors that can give an in-depth insight to a specific segment. Great elucidation of ideas. There isn't anything in the book per se that you haven't heard of or don't know. But, perhaps text being written gives clearer perspectives. If nothing else, it gives you insights to other literature of the authors that can give an in-depth insight to a specific segment.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dee Foster

    This book has given me a broader overview of myself. While I do not have my own organization yet, it still provides a better understanding of what to do with time and oneself. Overall a its a good read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Great information but got repetitive near the end. I wasn't bothered by the fact that it's a collection of articles as opposed to an actual book. As far as I see it, I'm gaining quality information, presented in concise & effective explanations, with writing that isn't stale. Great information but got repetitive near the end. I wasn't bothered by the fact that it's a collection of articles as opposed to an actual book. As far as I see it, I'm gaining quality information, presented in concise & effective explanations, with writing that isn't stale.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Full of different ideas. I wish I wrote down what I felt was the culprit of my lack of productivity before reading the book to help filter out some of the ideas (and become more productive at reading the productivity book :) )

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt Austin

    A good book with multiple articles from being more productive, how to take breaks, how to motivate yourself, work at home and take vacations. Many good authors and articles sourced mostly from hbr.org.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Claire Berry

    I’d give it 3.5 if I could. Some parts had great nuggets of info / tips, other parts not so much. I also found some chapter headings a bit misleading in regard to the content that was actually in them.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dexter Wilson

    Great read on the plane. Applicable tips and tricks to make the most of your time, focusing on completing tasks and getting more real work done.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fadl

    Nice practical ideas on how to get more productive . Some of these ideas are trivial and well known , but yet good to read them in quick organized way .

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Solid book! Some chapters were hit or miss but since it is a review of the literature in productivity, if you find yourself in a chapter that is not doing it for you then you are always just 4-5 pages away from something totally different. Here are a few of the nuggets I found: - Ch. 19: Mindfulness - Mindfulness at work means you are focused and concentrated on the task at hand as well as aware of distractions. It is the ability to have a sharp and clear head as you focus on one thing at a time. Solid book! Some chapters were hit or miss but since it is a review of the literature in productivity, if you find yourself in a chapter that is not doing it for you then you are always just 4-5 pages away from something totally different. Here are a few of the nuggets I found: - Ch. 19: Mindfulness - Mindfulness at work means you are focused and concentrated on the task at hand as well as aware of distractions. It is the ability to have a sharp and clear head as you focus on one thing at a time. This is like a superpower as we live in a world where so many people lack the ability to focus their attention. The author recommends building into your day times to stop and be mindful until this becomes a habit and a part of how you operate. - Ch. 25: Procrastination - This chapter covers procrastination and states that, in short, we procrastinate because we're afraid we'll screw up the task, we don't "feel" like doing it, or because the task is unpleasant. To remedy the procrastination caused by fear of failure, focus on what you will lose if you do not act quickly. Focus on the stick, not the carrot. To remedy procrastination caused by not acting because you don't feel like it, remember that there is nothing stopping you and feelings cannot stop you from doing anything. Ignore those stupid feelings! Lastly, if you are procrastinating because the work is unpleasant than create a detailed plan of action for when you will complete the task. - Ch. 29: Self-Talk - Thinking in the second or third person when you silently talk to yourself can improve performance and help you make more objective, rational decisions. Replace "I should go do XYZ today" with "He should go do XYZ" of "(Insert your name) should go do XYZ." Mentally adopting a "fly on the wall" perspective on your work and problems before you can cause you to be more reflective and cool when faced with difficult situations.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jayesh Pillai

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ben Kates

  20. 5 out of 5

    Esther

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ward Johnson

  22. 5 out of 5

    Asia

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Silva

  24. 5 out of 5

    Valeriu Vodnicear

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hugh Ip

  26. 5 out of 5

    Devin Ambron

  27. 4 out of 5

    Henk Bouman

  28. 5 out of 5

    Valeriya

  29. 4 out of 5

    Evita Briģe

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bipin

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