Productivity isn’t a talent. It is a skill. Similarly, to borrow from Hemmingway, movement isn’t action. You can be on the move 24/7/366, but if you aren’t getting results, you aren’t meeting your deadlines, and/or you aren’t hitting your quota, you are probably focusing on the wrong actions. Jill Konrath gives great insight into how to get the right things done.
If you read Mike Weinberg’s book, Sales Management Simplified, you will remember he basically recommended cutting out all activity that doesn’t lead directly to a sale. In this book, whether she knows it or not, Konrath expands on Weinberg’s advice through personal accounts and research focused on maximizing time and productivity. It is written in an easy to read style that moves quickly. There is a great deal of information in here. You will probably want to keep this book around for reference.
There are many techniques in the book that you may have already heard of or have tried. The real insight comes from experimenting and finding the combination of tools, processes, and behaviors that work for you. If you are like me, you don’t need to read this book (wink), you are always trying to find better ways to do more with less. Less time. Less cost. Less effort. This book will help. Although, if you are easily distracted, you may be overwhelmed with the various methods. Start simple, by changing one thing. See if it helps. If not, stop and try something else. To push a lean concept, try-storm it.
This book isn’t just for sales. While it is specifically targeted at sales and sales output, the advice can be easily modified for any professional. It touches on concepts that are often overlooked in the modern workforce and workspace. She talks about distractions and the stress they create. This is the exact reason I like to work while people are asleep. It allows me to focus. To get in the zone. During the day, with the open door, there are so many distractions. It is not easy to get in and stay in the zone. The “zone” is extremely important for creative individuals such as artists, programmers, writers, and strategists. While not mentioned in this book, you may have seen the Linkedin video with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet discussing how important it is to success to have good time management as well as just having time to think. These are the things Konrath touches on in this book.
She includes a bunch of stats that inform the reader that productivity crashes after 55 hours even though most sales folks work 72 hours a week (slackers). My lean trained brain screams waste. She also mentioned that people are “optimally productive” about 2 hours a day. This is the zone. It is finnicky beast. One point I found quite interesting is that she talks about finishing your day strong which covers starting with the most difficult/annoying task first. I do subscribe to this thought processes. Do the hard stuff while you are in the zone. However, if you find yourself having trouble starting any task, consider starting with a more traditional approach of tackling the easiest thing first. This could be dangerous advice, as for most, responding to emails is the easiest, they can end up taking all day.
I could write my own book on time management. This review is starting to head that direction. Let me finish up with the following thought. You will not regret taking the time to read this book and use the techniques within. You will win back your own productivity while also gaining the knowledge on how to recognize people who are just busy because they can’t focus.