Book Review: The Productivity Project

Title: The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy

Author: Chris Bailey

Format: Hardcover

Published: 2017

It’s almost time for New Year’s resolutions. I make the same resolution every year: to not make any resolutions. Am I successful or not? Someone ask Schrödinger, because I have no idea. Normal people, however, make New Year’s resolutions, so let’s talk about a book that will help you make some good ones and maybe even stick to them: Chris Bailey’s The Productivity Project. Bailey did something I find fascinating: he took an entire year off after college to study and write about productivity. He tried all sorts of productivity hacks and life changes, from meditating 8 hours a day to getting up at 5:30 AM for several months. In The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy, he shares the methods that worked along with a few of his misadventures along the way.

I’m a bit of a productivity nerd, and I’ve read quite a few books on time management, personal development, and other techniques to squeeze more meaningful activity out of a 24-hour day–and The Productivity Project is the best book I’ve read on the topic in years and the second-best one ever (after David Allen’s classic Getting Things Done). The Productivity Project is chock-full of great ideas on a variety of topics: setting priorities (this one alone may revolutionize how you plan your days), reclaiming your attention, delegating tasks, meditating to increase focus, changing how you consume food and caffeine to ensure you have energy when you need it most, how to schedule different kinds of tasks based on your level of energy and focus, and much more. Even better: Bailey writes with lots of humor and no judgment. This is a book you’ll read for fun. Yes, really.

As someone who works full-time at a demanding job while caring for a family and writing a novel, I need every productivity hack I can find. Based on the last three months of trying some of Bailey’s recommendations, I can tell you that they work. You’ll still only have 24 hours in your day, but The Productivity Project can help you find ways to make the most of them while staying healthy and sane. That sounds like a good foundation for a happier and more productive new year. 5 stars.

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