The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
Forget the old concepts of retirement and a deferred life plan. There is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. For living more and working less, this book is the blueprint. A really new kind of thinking about where you invest your time and what is the most effective way to do it.
“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”
Man’s search for meaning by Viktor E Frankl
This book is at once a memoir, a self-help book, and a psychology manual that tells the story of a psychologist (the author) imprisoned at Auschwitz during the Second World War.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
One of the best productivity books. It is a complete system for using your time most efficiently and especially there where it matters most for you. The GTD method rests on the idea of moving planned tasks and projects out of the mind by recording them externally and then breaking them into actionable work items. This allows one to focus attention on taking action on tasks, instead of on recalling them.
“You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it “done.”
The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama
A great and complete guide to happiness in life by The Dalai Lama. It focusses on worldly factors like wealth and satisfaction as well as spiritual parts. Through meditations, stories and the meeting of Buddhism and psychology, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, or just an ordinary bad mood.
He discusses relationships, health, family, work, and spirituality to show us how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep abiding source of inner peace.
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
This is about ‘a new psychology of love, traditional values, and spiritual growth’. Written in a voice that is timeless in its message of understanding, the book continues to help us explore the very nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new serenity and fullness of life. It helps us learn how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self.
Recognising that, as in the famous opening line of his book, “Life is difficult” and that the journey to spiritual growth is a long one, Dr Peck never bullies his readers, but rather guides them gently through the hard and often painful process of change toward a higher level of self-understanding.
“Human beings are poor examiners, subject to superstition, bias, prejudice, and a PROFOUND tendency to see what they want to see rather than what is really there.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. Advice offered includes:
The six ways to make people like you
The twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
The nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
“Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.”
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This book aims to help you build positive habits that really improve your life. It provides a framework for success and for building character and integrity, with Stephen Covey being the exceptional personality who really walked his talk. Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.
“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
This is one of those life-changing books that can turn your world upside down. In his book, the author describes his transition from despair to self-realisation soon after his 29th birthday. Tolle took another ten years to understand this transformation, during which time he evolved a philosophy that has parallels in Buddhism, relaxation techniques, and meditation theory but is also eminently practical.
He shows readers how to recognise themselves as the creators of their own pain, and how to have a pain-free existence by living fully in the present. Accessing the deepest self, the true self, can be learned, he says, by freeing ourselves from the conflicting, unreasonable demands of the mind and living present, fully, and intensely, in the Now.
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
For people who are overwhelmed by tasks of all sizes, this book provides methods for conquering procrastination and accomplishing more. By identifying, then tackling, their biggest, most unpleasant task first – the philosophy of “eating a frog” – readers learn to plan and organise each day, set priorities, get started right away, and complete jobs faster.
“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1 000 percent return on energy!”
Who Moved my Cheese? By Spencer Johnson
This is a motivational book about change management written in the style of a parable or business fable. It describes change in one’s work and life. It is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a ‘Maze’ and look for ‘Cheese’ to nourish them and make them happy.
‘Cheese’ is a metaphor for what you want to have in life – whether it is a good job, a loving relationship, money, a possession, health, or spiritual peace of mind. The ‘Maze’ is where you look for what you want – the organisation you work in, or the family or community you live in.
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
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4 Ways to Stop Worrying in 2019
If you’re a bit of a worry-wart, you have to acknowledge this and get proactive about managing your stress, anxiety and worrying levels. Here’s how.
What if I can’t complete that piece of work in time? What if my home gets burgled while I’m on holiday? We all worry – some people more than others. A few of these worries are genuine concerns, but most are completely out of our control and are most likely never to materialise.
But still, they occupy our minds. And with the digital world now occupying even more of our time, we’ve been given even more material to worry about. Famines in far-away countries, children orphaned by a flood, if we simply turn on our TVs or look to social media, we can become completely overwhelmed by what we see. And it’s making us all desperately unhappy.
So, what do we do? If you’re a bit of a worry-wart, you have to acknowledge this and get proactive about managing your stress, anxiety and worrying levels. Here’s how:
Monitor and limit social media
We all know our phones are an addiction. And scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, you can compare your life to everyone else’s and add another huge worry to your ever-growing list: I’m not good enough/my life sucks. Which is why there’s a growing trend among Generation X-ers (and even some Millennials), to quit social media altogether.
“It was like breaking an addiction for the first few days, where I felt I was missing out, but after a few weeks I realised that the world carries on, and I was still in touch with those people I actually wanted to connect with. I felt lighter and happier,” says Caryn White*, a mother-of-two and small business owner. If you can’t quit social media for work reasons, then take it off your phone, and only access it on your desktop at specific times of the day.
We’re not advocating sticking your head in the sand: just limit which channels you absorb news from, and how often you do it. The last thing you need is to open up your phone on waking up and read about the latest catastrophe, which you are powerless to do anything about.
Pick a few trusted news sources and check them at specific times. Avoid the news on the radio in your car; rather listen to fascinating audio books or podcasts that lift your mood instead of making you worry.
Assumption or fact?
This simple concept is incredibly helpful when faced with a worrying situation. Your child has a strange rash, you’ve Googled it and you’re pretty sure it’s chickenpox. Now the whole family is going to get it, you’ll miss work, your boss will be angry, and you may lose your job. Is the fact that your child has chicken pox an assumption or a fact?
Is losing your job a fact or an assumption? They’re both assumptions. So, take your child to the doctor, get a proper diagnosis and then take the next steps from there (a good medical aid can also help ease the stress of the financial cost of doctors’ visits). This approach is a simple way to deal with worries that start to spiral out of control in your mind.
Write them down
Worrying can seem insurmountable if it’s all in your head. Instead, try this strategy from Qualified FAMSA Counsellor Lynette Blomfield:
- Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, until you calm down.
- Once you’re calm, write down the five most stressful things on your list. It could be increasing expenses, like a huge jump in medical aid costs per month.
- Brainstorm what you could do to change or eliminate the worry/problem (maybe you can move to a medical aid company that charges less each month?). If necessary, ask a good friend or colleague for advice.
- Focus on making progress, not ticking all your worries off and striving for ‘perfection’.
- Stay on course and come back to your list regularly.
Dealing with worrying is about being proactive. You’re the only one that can begin the process of reducing anxiety, so now’s the time to take some steps. If you don’t know how to begin doing this on your own, it may be best to see a qualified counsellor or therapist to get you started.
*name has been changed
These 6 Types of Music Are Known To Dramatically Improve Productivity
Just another example of how much you gain by listening.
Music isn’t just a means of entertaining ourselves: it can also encourage creativity and help us become more productive. Listening to music can also be therapeutic, relieving feelings of stress so you can concentrate better.
Research has found that certain types of music can be beneficial to us while we work. Some types of music seem to help with learning and improve our ability to process information. Other types help block out distracting background noise. Still other types sync with our brain waves to induce “eureka moments.”
So, if you’re struggling with productivity and want to know what you should be listening to, read on. These are the six types of music that will give you a major boost in productivity.
1. Classical Music
Researchers have long claimed that listening to classical music can help people perform tasks more efficiently. This theory, which has been dubbed “the Mozart Effect,” suggests that listening to classical composers can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving health and well-being. Various studies have confirmed that listening to classical music enhances one’s ability to manipulate shapes and solve spatial puzzles.
The absence of words in the music may be one factor, as songs that contain lyrics have been found to be a distraction when you’re trying to focus. And classical music is known for being calming, relaxing and helping reduce stress. This genre of music has been found to help students perform 12 percent better on their exams. Some selections, like Beethoven’s “Für Elise,” seem to help students study longer and retain more information.
Here are other few classical selections you can use to boost productivity while working:
- Bach Classical Study Playlist
- Classical Music for Studying: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach Study Music Playlist for Better Concentration
- 6-Hour Mozart Piano Classical Music Studying Playlist: Great Beautiful Long Pieces
- Vivaldi’s quick-tempo “Four Seasons”
2. Nature Music
Listening to the sounds of nature, like waves crashing or a babbling brook, has been shown to enhance cognitive function and concentration. Nature sounds work best when they’re soothing sounds, such as flowing water or rainfall, while more jarring noises such as bird calls and animal noises can be distracting.
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered that natural sounds boost moods and focus. The study found employees were more productive and had more positive feelings when nature sounds were playing in the background while they worked.
This may be because nature sounds helped mask harsher, more distracting noises, such as people talking or typing. Researchers found that workers not only performed better on tasks, but calming nature sounds also had a restorative effect on cognitive abilities.
Here are some selections to try:
3. Cinematic Music
An intense film score can make you feel like you’re doing something inspiring or important, even if you’re just chipping away at your to-do list. A grandiose, epic soundtrack playing in the background may make even the most mundane tasks feel like you’re changing the world, thus heightening your concentration and productivity.
Cinematic music scores can be empowering, lifting your spirits and brightening your mood. So, if you’re feeling tired and drained, try listening to some epic-style cinematic music to give you that extra boost of motivation.
Some great movie scores to try include:
- “The Social Network”
- “Lawrence of Arabia”
- “Cloud Atlas”
- “The Bourne Identity”
4. Video Game Music
It might seem strange, but listening to music composed for video games can be a great tool to help you focus. Every element of a video game is designed to create an enhanced gaming experience for all your senses, and the music has been composed specifically to help you focus on your task without being distracted by a cacophony of sounds.
This music generally has no lyrics or human voices and is fairly fast-paced to keep you moving forward. Many of these video games involve solving puzzles and dealing with intense situations, so you’re subjecting yourself to simulated stressful challenges. Video games have invested a lot of resources in figuring out the perfect balance to the music they use.
Video game music is composed in a way that keeps you engaged as you evaluate, navigate and often fight your way through these make-believe worlds. These musical compositions may be just the thing to propel you onward and keep you zooming through your tasks and daily to-do list.
Here are some excellent video game music selections to check out:
- Battlefield One
- Final Fantasy 7
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Assassin’s Creed 2
- The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
5. Music between 50 and 80 beats per minute
Some research suggests that it’s not the type of music that’s important in helping you stay focused and productive, but the tempo of that music. Studies have found that music with 50 to 80 beats per minute can enhance and stimulate creativity and learning.
Dr. Emma Gray, a cognitive behavioural therapist, worked with Spotify to research the benefits of certain types of music. She found that listening to music set in the 50- to 80-beat range puts the brain into an alpha state.
When we’re awake, we’re typically in a state of mind known as beta, a heightened state of alertness where our brain-wave activity is between 14 and 30 HZ. When our brain slows to between 7 and 14 HZ, we’re in a more relaxed alpha state of mind that allows us to be more receptive and open, and less critical. This state of mind is what scientists associate with activities that involve our imagination, memory and intuition, including our “eureka moments.”
If you have ever listened to music that you’re familiar with, only to find yourself deep in thought and not really hearing the music at all, this is an alpha state induced by music. You’re tuning out while being tuned in.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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