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10 Things You Can Do Tomorrow To Increase Your Productivity

10 books about Productivity & Effectiveness in 14 weeks, that’s a lot. Too much for me to be able to apply as much as I would like to after reading them. This is the main hurdle of my crazy Personal MBA Challenge, and I knew this from the beginning. Fortunately, one of the things that motivated me to try this adventure anyway was that every book has ideas and tricks that are immediately applicable, without having to wait a while before putting them to work or going more in depth with them.

Here, I am giving you 10 from among those that seemed to me the most relevant, with a link to a summary of the book in which I found them:

1. If something requires less than two minutes to do, do it immediately. This will increase your productivity considerably without much effort because if something takes less than two minutes 1) it takes almost as long put it into a to-do list than to complete it, 2) given that it is small, these things can quickly add up to a number that is hard to manage, 3) bog your mind down uselessly when they are not on a to-do list and 4) not doing them can have consequences that are disproportionate with regard to the time it takes to complete them. Be careful all the same, sometimes you must map out large spans of time to focus on a project, time which cannot afford to suffer interruptions.

2. Try this trick when you can’t sleep at night. Lack of sleep is a terrible way to lose productivity, as well as the reason for being out of sorts, in a mad mood, lack of focus and other maladies which can have even more dramatic consequences on our relationships with others. To fight against occasional insomnia – for chronic insomnia, it is better to seek medical treatment – try this trick to free your mind and stem the continuous flow of thoughts which begin to invade it:


10 Pearls of wisdom taken from my reading and my experience as an entrepreneur

Perles d'eau - Crédit photo killermart

7 weeks and 8 books after the start of my crazy Personal MBA Challenge, I am enjoying my first week without a book – I devoted it especially to implementing the GTD Method – in order to recommend to you 10 pearls of wisdom that I have chosen from these books. These are the ones that, from my experience as the founder and leader of a company, seemed to me the most useful and the most likely to lead to changes in our lives. Here they are:


Lead the Field


Lead the field - Earl Nightingale

One-Sentence Summary : To succeed in life you can’t just count on luck and circumstances; you must find hidden nuggets inside yourself rather than trapsing around the world in vain looking for them, have goals and desires and define them clearly, have an attitude that sets you up for success and love yourself, use your brain as a resource for reflection every day, understand that our rewards in life always correspond to the services we deliver, learn without ceasing and continue to grow, develop your vocabulary and mastery of language, leave the flock to act on your own, understand your value and the value of several tens of millions of euros, clearly define the amount of money you want to earn, economize or invest and save for your retirement, have a personal library that is rich and relevant, do your best every day and, one by one, accomplish the tasks that will lead you to be successful in your goals, specialize in something; then you will be in the top 5% of humanity who find themselves at the top of the success pyramid — whatever that is.

By Earl Nightingale, 102 pages, published in 2007 (book) and in 1986 (audio cassette)

Summary and Book Report:

I am not going to write a biography – even a short one – for all the authors in my PMBA challenge, but Earl Nightingale seems to be a rather interesting personality, and atypical enough to warrant an exception:

Earl Nightingale is a famous orator in the United States, and an example of what self education can do for someone who starts out with plenty of things going against him. Born in 1921, raised by his mother who was left alone with his two brothers, he grew up in a poor Los Angeles suburb in the middle of the depression. Wishing to understand why some people are poor and miserable and others are not, and not finding anyone in his acquaintance who could answer, he began his quest for answers and knowledge in the local library, which would lead him particularly to a study of philosophy, psychology and the great religions for decades. After the war, during which he survived, with 12 marines, an attack on the battleship USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor (1103 dead out of 1511 crew members), he worked in radio and created one of the first audio books, The Strangest Secret, which is a best seller and sold more than a million copies. He went on to found, with Lloyd Conant, the Nightingale-Conant Corporation, the first company to offer audio cassettes about personal development. He died in 1989.

Lead the field is a collection of advice about personal development, originally only offered in audio format. Fortunately, a book offering an exact transcription was recently published, which allowed me to read it and to offer you a review of it today – it is a lot harder for me to understand spoken English than written, and while audio books have undeniable advantages, such as being able to do other things while you read them, and use the time in transit or traveling for self improvement, I much prefer a good book when it comes to soaking up knowledge, reflecting and taking notes. I love to write post-it notes which I stick on the paragraphs that speak to me – difficult to do that with an audio CD.

In this book, which is enthusiastic and brimming with energy, Earl Nightingale insists on the fact that success in life is not due to luck and circumstances, but to principles based on good sense and habits that are easy to acquire on the condition that you practice them every day. I will paint you a panoramic, chapter by chapter: