Posts Tagged ‘self help’

Another self help book. This one claims to help you overcome procrastination and become more productive. I don’t know about you, but I can always use a productivity boost. There are just so many things to do and never enough time to do them in.

Writing, crafting stories, various writing courses, editing, publishing, learning spanish, a full time job, chores, exercise, eating, sleep. And that doesn’t include all the extra commitments that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Not to mention all those times your brain crashes and refuses to do anything that so much as smells of effort.

This book is a little short of four stars on goodreads. A good rating but not overwhelmingly brilliant. I however loved it, so I gave it five stars.

It gives some simple techniques to help increase productivity, some which I hadn’t heard of before. Now I just need to remember to use them. I won’t give them all away but one of the really useful things I picked up was not to be so hard on myself.

Instead of saying ‘I must do this’ or ‘I have to do this’ (which I still find myself doing even now) say ‘I want to do this.’ The book goes further into explaining why this helps motivate you more, but what I took from this was to view the fun in tasks. Don’t build it up in your brain as this big scary thing that is nothing but work, work, work. Concentrate on the good parts and chances are you’ll enjoy it more and find it easier to start whatever task it is.

And for tasks that you really can’t see anything good in: break them down into little parts. Doing something horrible for an hour seems impossible. Doing something for a few minutes feels a lot more possible.

If you’re an increasing productivity obsessive like me, then I definitely recommend this book. It’s not the most life changing productivity book I’ve ever read (that title still belongs to ‘how to be an A star student’ which despite its title has useful tactics for all, not just students) but it has some interesting ideas that I hope will give my productivity that extra boost.

For more reviews on this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/95708.The_Now_Habit

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Not the most useful self-help book I’ve ever read (I’ve read a lot of them), but there’s some practical stuff here. It’s an easy read, and has a lot of neat exercises that can help you figure out what you want to get out of life,  and what steps you need to do to get there.

I think my major problem with it was there were a lot of little things they recommended you do every day. By the time I reached the end of the seven days I’d lost track of most of them. Maybe a checklist at the end might’ve helped?

Anyways, I found the assessment questions at the start the most helpful. They helped me assess my priorities. One of the things I find most difficult to grasp is we only have one life. I want to do everything. I want to write a million books, master several genres, master drawing, learn dozens of languages, travel the world (and while we’re at it, space looks a neat place to go), be brilliant at parkour, martial arts, and a bazillion other things.

I’ll be able to do some of those things, but until longevity research does its thing and makes us immortal, I’m left with only so much time. So that first section was an eye-opener when I listed all the things I wanted to achieve in an ideal life.  (I want superpowers by the way. Telekinesis and invulnerability are at the top of my list.) Seeing all those things helped me pare things down (I left cryogenics as my lottery ticket to immortality and hopefully cool superpowers).

The vision boards idea was interesting. I think it has to be done in moderation. You can spend so long on making a pretty vision board that you take away from time on your project.

I’m not quite syncing with meditation, but I’ve heard from other sources this is a good thing to do, so I keep trying.

The book talks about positive thinking quite a bit. For those not in the know this is where you act like you have something, then it comes to you. That might be a bad definition, but that’s how I understand it. The author talks about how he modified one of his bank statements to have a huge amount of money, then a short time later through a series of circumstances did manage to receive that amount of money.

I’m not sure how I feel about positive thinking. It seems a little new agey. Then again, there are factors like confidence that suggest there may be something to it. There are enough examples of people who win the lottery, then through self sabotaging acts lose all that money. You could argue that they didn’t change their mindset to their new amount, and so unconsciously sabotaged themselves to get back to where they were.

Still it seems a little odd to imagine yourself a millionaire then have that opportunity to become one land on your doorstep. Maybe it’s just that if you’re thinking about it, you’re more confident and able to recognize and take on those opportunities when they come?

Ok, getting back to the point. If you’re a bit of a self-help book junkie like me, then this book is worth a read. If however you’re looking for one self-help book to turn your life around and make you one million times more productive I don’t recommend this one. It’s a hard choice, but I think the most useful and practical self-help book I’ve ever come across is ‘how to become a straight A student’ by Cal Newport. Don’t be put off by the title, that one has so many productivity hacks for work, school, hobbies, whatever. And the suggestions are so easy to put into practice. Love, love, love that book.

For more reviews on ‘change your life in 7 days’ go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/377682.Change_Your_Life_in_Seven_Days

This one surprised me. I wasn’t expecting much. Maybe some advice on how to study better, reminders to knuckle down and put the work in.

Instead I found the best organisational system I’ve come across in all the self help books I’ve read – and I’ve read a lot. I won’t detail what it is. That would be cheating, you have to read the book. I will say that my productivity has been falling since May of last year due to depression. I’m still struggling with feeling depressed and tired all the time, but my productivity has taken an upward turn due to this system.

It. Is. Awesome.

I’m still not at pre-May levels, but this system helps me better use the couple hours productive time I have left. I’m excited to see what I’ll be capable of using this system when I get my energy back.

In a nutshell, this book gives you hacks from real A star students of how to get the best results while expending the least possible energy. Studying is covered, as is essay writing, note taking, and all those typical college things. These were interesting to me, but not invaluable since I’m not a college student. I do read non fiction though, and I’m always enrolled in some kind of writing course, so I’m sure I’ll get some use out of those bits.

The invaluable part for me, which I think everyone will get use out of is the organisational system. It’s so simple, but it works so well. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, and it’s been great to help keep up with the hefty goals I set for 2015. I don’t think it’d be possible to do all I have planned for this year without it.

If you’re a productivity system junkie like me you will love this book. Or even if you’d just like to get some more stuff done in your day. Some of the later chapters are more college focused, so unless you are in education (in which case you’ll also love this book) you might not get as much use out of them.

That doesn’t matter because the foundation of the book – the organisational chapters – are brilliant. One hundred percent five stars. This is one of those books I’m never going to stop gushing about, so I’ll stop there.

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/253203.How_to_Become_a_Straight_A_Student

Non fiction book this time. I’m a little addicted to self help books, mostly any that can improve my word counts. There are people on the nanowrimo forums who can write one million words in a month. One million! Meanwhile my best is still around 70k in a month, and I haven’t matched that for a while.

Now, I don’t think this book will get me to a million in a month, but it’s one of the more useful books I’ve read.

Basically it is as it says on the cover: all about willpower. Do you want to resist that chocolate cake? Start exercising more? Or like me, put more hours and focus into something? This will help you. Each chapter talks through a useful piece of psychology, and ends with practical exercises showing you how you can put it into place.

This is where this book stands out from others I’ve read. Some other self help books talk the talk, but they don’t show you how to walk the walk. This one does. I picked up some useful things from my first read through, and I’m going through it a second time (which is almost unheard of for me since I hate repeating things) slower, paying more attention to all the exercises.

The great thing about this book is you can use it multiple times, going through it with a different goal you want to work on, or taking your last goal a step further.

Here’s the blurb:

Willpower – the ability to control your attention, emotions, appetites and behaviour – influences your physical health, financial security, the quality of your relationships and your professional success. We all know this. But why is it so hard to control and why, sometimes, do we have so little of it? Maximum Willpower brings together the newest insights about self-control from psychology, economics, neuroscience and medicine, explaining how we can break old habits and create healthy habits, conquer procrastination and manage stress and emotions. Discover why we give in to temptation and how we can find the strength to resist. By understanding the limits of willpower you can prioritize goals, make conscious choices, change old habits and give up the pursuit of perfection. This book focuses on strategies that can help you transcend limitations, strengthen self-control and escape the grip of chronic stress and procrastination. Whether you are trying to break a habit, improve your health, or find your focus, this book will change the way you think about willpower and help you make real and lasting changes in your life.

The writing style is easy to read, and the examples the author uses made this a enjoyable read for me. It’s not a dry self help book. This one is interesting and in my opinion as fun to read as any fiction books. In fact, I rushed through this the first time because I enjoyed it so much.

Five stars. No question. This is one of the few books I can think of nothing negative to say about. It’s that good.

And in case you want to read more reviews on this book, follow the link:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13365991-maximum-willpower