Challenging the status quo may be exactly what your business needs right now. If you're interested in changing things up a bit then Rework, the bestselling book by authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, is for you.
In Rework you'll find concise and interesting explanations on how to succeed on your own terms. It's is a beautifully-made book with black and white illustrations to drive home the point of each topic. While it didn't really feel like I was reading a book but more of perusing a string of aptly and strategically concise blog posts, I suggest you take your time with it. Most of the concepts explained by the authors deviate from the status quo, so much so that mind shifts may be required depending on your background. That said, allow it to really sink in and don't read it all in one sitting like I did.
Each chapter in the book discusses a different business topic to rethink or rework — progress, productivity, competitors, hiring, culture, and more. For the purpose of this post and obviously due to the focus of this blog, I'll be highlighting the chapter on productivity.
Here are my 3 Takeaways:
01. "Interruption is the enemy of productivity."
It's said to take as long as 20 minutes for your brain to refocus after it has been interrupted. Imagine how many hours that adds up to when you're being constantly interrupted by calls, requests, emails, and chitchats.
That said, it's no surprise that people tend to get a lot more done when they are alone. Whether early in the morning, late at night, or on a long plane ride, having no one and nothing to distract you can significantly increase your productivity.
For this reason, the authors suggest blocking a specific timeframe within your day to get into the "alone zone." This can mean turning off notifications, avoiding checking your emails, saying "no" to meetings, and even hanging up a "do not disturb" sign on your door.
Bottomline: "Your day is under siege by interruptions. It's on you to fight back."
02. "Momentum fuels motivation."
In this section of productivity, the authors highlight the benefits of quick wins. When you get something done, even and most especially the small tasks, you become motivated to keep going. It just doesn't help anyone when they work on long projects that drain their enthusiasm. Instead, focus on small wins and celebrate those accomplishments regularly.
03. "Long lists don't get done."
When I read this part, I caught myself smirking. This topic is one of the things I cover in the free 5-day Optimize Your To-do List Challenge and it was a nice surprise to see my exact same point of view so expertly explained in this book.
The authors argue that long lists are practically useless. They simply don't get done and by the end of the day, you're left with guilt, shame, and a whole lot more stress than when you first started. Instead, they suggest breaking down your list or tasks into smaller steps so you can stay motivated and build on the momentum (related to Takeaway #2).
Most importantly (and freakishly similar to what I teach in OYTDL), the authors recommend prioritizing visually instead of rating your tasks as high priority or low priority. Instead,
"Put the most important thing at the top. When you're done with that, the next thing on the list becomes the next most important thing. This way you'll only have a single next most important thing to do at a time. And that's enough."
Want to put these takeaways into action?
Share in the comments below: What areas of your business or life are you willing to rework? If you've read this book, what are your takeaways?
Since one of the best ways to improve ourselves is to commit to continuous learning, this post is part of the blog mini-series called 3 Takeaways where I discuss three insights from thought-provoking leaders, books, and podcasts.
My purpose initially was to simply read more books, but the learnings were too valuable to keep to myself. My goal has since been to share the vital lessons that will help you be productive and free.