Kickstart your New Year productivity [Book Review]

The Productivity Habits Book Review
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January wishes

With a new year come new resolutions, what’s yours? One of mine is to read more, and it’s one of the reasons why I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited (spoiler: more book reviews to come). Still, leafing through a new book is always a pleasure, even more so when you enjoy the read.

In Italy, green is linked with hope. In this case, we could say that the bright green of The Productivity Habits by Ben Elijah speaks of the hope of being more productive. Actually, it’s more than a hope: it’s a method. Which is definitely better when you’re trying to form good habits!

A plain approach to productivity

Simplifying to the extreme, the proposed system is made of three core steps:

  • collect
  • process
  • act on it.

I hear you, easier said than done, that’s why the author came up with eight chapters where each habit is broken down into problem-solution-benefits, aka ‘triggers’, ‘what to do’, ‘what you get’.

Merits of The Productivity Habits

One of the things I liked the most is that Elijah stresses the need to implement only one or two habits at a time:

[…]I read all the books I could find about becoming more effective, but made the mistake of assuming that because they seemed logical – and I understood them – I could click my fingers and turn them into a lifestyle. This didn’t work.

This is something many of us are guilty of, especially at this time of the year. Making changes takes time, and if you set the bar too high your willpower may wither away. Choose your battles wisely and allow your habits to take roots.

growing your habits

There’s clearly some research behind the book and I found many interesting ideas. Given my linguistic studies, it comes as no surprise that I particularly appreciated chapter five, which is about working memory and the use of grammar to establish the optimal size of tasks.

What could be improved

I’m a big fan of sketches and visuals. I believe they help a lot in simplifying complex ideas. However, this is not always the case with the illustrations in this book. Some of them are quite difficult to decipher and a couple of times I found myself going back and forth between the sketches and the text. I have the feeling that putting them after the explanations would have helped.

Another minor annoyance was a stylistic one: it might be a pet peeve of mine and I understand the desire to get closer to the reader, but I would have kept the ‘perhaps it’s the same for you’ (and variations of it) to a minimum.

Conclusions

As you should know by now, I’m keen on productivity strategies. I enjoyed reading The Productivity Habits and would recommend it to anyone who is struggling with procrastination and information overload.

The series is the same of the last book I reviewed and a distinctive feature — besides the classy detail that the ink of each book is the same colour of the cover — is a summary (in this case an illustrated one) of the key points at the end of each chapter. I find it really useful to digest the material and it’s a shame that is something hardly used outside textbooks. I am grateful to LID Publishing for giving me the chance to appreciate this smart series even more.

Stay tuned for more book reviews!

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