The Book List: Get it Done! A Round-up of Resources

Last week I posted about some of the books I recommend to clients looking for resources on communication and relationships. This week, I’m providing a few recommendations for books about getting things done, procrastination, motivation, and avoiding burnout.

Time, Productivity, Procrastination, and more

First, a round up of resources I’ve pulled together from productivity books, blogs, and techniques:


Do You Have Time, or Does Time Have You?7 ways to experiment with your experience of time, and 5 book recommendations.

I Can’t Manage Time – inspired by David Allen’s words in Getting Things Doneyou can’t manage time, but you can manage your actions.

The Action Management Swordknowing your purpose can guide your time strategy. With shout-outs to Zen to Done, Getting Things Done, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Purposeful Big Rocksunderstanding how to put the important things first.

Truth in Datagetting curious about how you actually spend your day.

Final Words on Timetips for doing less, getting started, focusing, avoiding distractions, and attending to the big picture.


And now, a few new resources:

The Power of Full Engagement

One of my favourite recommendations this year:

The Power of Full Engagement – Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

Two things grabbed my attention within the first chapter or so of this book:

1 – The authors point out that high performing athletes spend about 90% of their time preparing and training and resting up for the 10% of time when they perform at peak levels.

So, hey, it’s kind of silly to think that we can perform at peak levels at our jobs for 40-60 hours a week day in and day out, week after week, right?

2 – The idea that many of us think of life as one long marathon, when it can be helpful instead to consider it as a series of sprints. And in between the sprints are opportunities for rest, renewal and recovery.

Throughout the book, the authors explore four areas of energy expenditure and energy renewal: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. They point out that we can strengthen our energy muscles in each of these areas by pushing ourselves just past our comfort zone, and then building in recovery time. And they’re generous with examples, case studies, and exercises to try on your own.

If you’d like to get a glimpse at their methodology, you can answer 20 questions online to complete their “Energy Audit” and see your results. You can find the Energy Audit here.

The Tiny Habits Program

Recently I heard about the Tiny Habits program, a free online program in which you take a week to set up a workable habit. Click here for my experience with the program.

The Now Habit

Awhile back I read The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play. I liked the way the book examined procrastination as a symptom, not just a cause, and the step-by-step guide it provides for building guilt-free play into one’s schedule first. Another part of it that I’ve been loving is the suggestion to take two minutes at the start of any activity to relax, centre myself, consciously let go of the past and the future, drop into the present, and then set an intention for the activity I’m about to begin.


What would you add?

What books — or other resources — have you found most helpful for your learning about communication and relationships? I’d love to hear your replies in the comments.


Getting Through School

In this blog post, I answer a question about getting through the final stretch of university.

Here’s the question I received:

I am in my last year of my undergraduate degree in engineering.  My perspective on engineering and my analysis of my own strengths has changed over the four years since I’ve started–I’ve found that my interests and strengths lie in the social sciences as opposed to the applied sciences.  My interest in my courses has being waning all year, and it’s been tough to keep up my motivation to work hard and do well in my technical classes.  How can I keep my motivation and interest up in the home stretch?

And my response:

Congratulations on having so much completed! An undergraduate degree in engineering is nothing to sneeze at. . . it’s a huge accomplishment. And as someone who works with many people who started out studying engineering, I can assure you that there are lots of opportunities that will allow you to combine your problem-solving, analytical engineering training with your strengths and interests in the social sciences. You’re graduating with a special blend of skills, interests, and training.

I hear some determination in your question — you are aiming to finish, to work hard, and to do well. And I’m imagining that four years of engineering has encouraged you to develop planning skills, studying strategies, time-management habits, and discipline.

So, I’m going to assume that you know how to work hard and how to do well, but right now you don’t really want to. How can you crank up your motivation for the home stretch? Below is a mix of exercises for you to try to tap into your motivation.

Imagine Completion

I invite you to close your eyes and imagine what it will be like two months after you have completed your engineering degree. It’s done, and it’s two months behind you!

  • How are you feeling?
  • What are you celebrating?
  • What are you proud of?

Now, imagine yourself six months after completing your degree.

From this six-months-out place:

  • How does it feel to be done?
  • What do you remember about getting through the last few months of the degree?
  • What was easy?
  • What was hard?

Now, fast forward yourself ten years into the future.

  • Was it worth it?
  • What did it take for you to finish?
  • What words of encouragement can your ten-years-into-the-future-self offer you?

Write it Down

Take out a blank page and write at the top, “Finishing my degree is important to me because. . . ” and then fill the page with your reasons.

What’s important to you about crossing the finish line? Not important to parents or friends or professors or future employers. What makes it matter to you? What values do you have that you are honouring by finishing?

When you’re clear on the reasons that really ring true for you, I encourage you to post this page somewhere where you’ll see it regularly, and where it will remind you of why you’re going to finish.

Spread the Motivation Around

What else do you do, outside of school, that gets your juices flowing?

What lights you up, gives you energy, and generally makes you feel more interested in the world around you?

Got your answers? Great–those are things that motivate you!

Just because you’re feeling a dip in motivation at school doesn’t mean you need to live a life without motivation. Keep doing things that spark your interest and make you feel involved, because keeping that level of motivation and enthusiasm in your life–no matter what it’s about–will keep your energy and engagement levels up, and that will help you keep your head in the game just a little bit longer.

I know you can do it! Let me know how it goes.