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Great Productivity Lessons For Bloggers From Self-Help Books – Lessons From Five Self-Help Books In Five Minutes

2013 March 18
by Annie Wallace

I have a great self-help book called How to Save an Hour Every Day. It has lots of little productivity tips and a ton of great advice, but there’s one amusing irony – reading the book itself takes a few hours meaning that a simple way to save time would be to skip reading it entirely.

The same can be said for many self-help books, and useful though many of them are, they do tend to be a bit self-indulgent and ramble on. What makes this dangerous is that many people seem to be under the illusion that reading them is the same as actually improving themselves. It’s not: if you really want to improve yourself then it’s no good to just read self-improvement – you need to live it.

Thus, to help you benefit from the lessons in those self-help books that apply directly to productivity for bloggers, while saving you the time spent actually reading them, I have assembled some of the best lessons from a number of such books here for your convenience. The essence of these ideas can often be summarised in a few lines, so rather than spend hours reading about self-help without making any concrete changes, try taking these messages on board and implementing them now. Your productivity will benefit, and so too will your blog.

How to Save an Hour Every Day by Michael Heppell

Starting with the book that inspired this article, a great way to save an hour every day is to be more efficient and that means avoiding distracting tasks. You might not realise it, but little things like making a cup of tea take you right out of your flow and really slow down your work. Rather than doing this at the start of your working day then, Heppell recommends seeing each little task as a reward. Anything that varies from your work is a ‘reward’ that you get for doing an hour’s work. Instead of sitting down, making tea, checking your e-mail then looking over Facebook before you start working then, you’ll now work for an hour, make tea, work for an hour, check Facebook, work for an hour and check your e-mail. Rather than procrastinating for an hour before you even begin you’ll have three hours of work under your belt by the time you’re looking at e-mail.

The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman was the founder of LinkedIn which makes him worth listening to. A great piece of advice he gives in this book is to think of the five people you’d reach out to if you were out of work – if your blog suffered a major hit in the SERPs or if your day job fired you. Instead of waiting until that point though, he suggests reaching out to them now before you want anything so that the groundwork is set ready for when you do get in touch and need something.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

There are a few good tips in this tome on making your habits work for you, but my favourite was the most simple (often the simple ones are the best): just start making your bed every morning when you get up. You’ll find that sticking to one easy positive habit means more are likely to follow (and having tested the theory I can attest to this being the case).

59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman

Wiseman’s tips are designed to be quick and easy to implement which makes them a perfect fit for this article. One of the most interesting is based around something called the ‘Zeigarnik effect’. Basically, once we have started something we feel a powerful urge to see it through to completion, even if we weren’t previously particularly motivated to work on it. This can again be used to help with our productivity if we just commit to doing two minutes’ worth of work at the start of the day. Once we’ve done that we’ll feel a pull to complete our task until it’s finally done.

The Personal MBA By Josh Kaufman

While this book is mostly about business, there are some sage productivity tips in there too. One example explains how we accept our situation based on our ‘reference levels’ – if we are basically comfortable and happy and our life is comparable to others’ around us, then we won’t strive too much to change things because we’re naturally inclined to conserve energy. On the other hand though, if we were to spend more time in the presence of highly successful bloggers, or reading the blogs of people we admire then our reference level would be set higher and we’d be willing to expend more energy on trying to match that. Live the life you want, and you’ll start working to catch up…

Image: Goals

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