Book review: Get Productive!

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Magdalena Bak-Maier

Get Productive!
Get Productive!

The title of this book hardly makes you want to leap out of bed in the morning, but its author, the neuroscientist Magdalena Bak-Maier, knows how to give you a kick up the backside to get things done.

One chapter is particularly valuable: it lists 13 strategies to boost your productivity. The first - complete tasks - seems obvious, but how much of your time do you spend inching forward on one thing, then moving on to another one before the first is finished? It looms over you like a black cloud. Another strategy can help when approaching seemingly massive tasks. Bak-Maier calls it "big elephant" - breaking big problems down into small pieces (it's how you'd tackle eating an elephant).

A problem that many over-keen and inexperienced managers face is that of being a perfectionist. Getting hung up on doing your absolute best for every detail of a project will slow you down like concrete boots. Wise workers know what is good enough and will pull out all the stops only if the task demands it. "A good definition of what you aim to achieve at each point, combined with always aiming to do your best within those limits, helps to stop perfectionism from being a paralyser that can hamper your potential," writes the author.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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