“What the Most Successful People Do at Work”

Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours, has written a series of short books focusing on “what the most successful people do.” This week, I’ve written about the first book (What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast) and the second book (What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend). The final book in the series is What the Most Successful People Do at Work.

The book is built on the premise that, “If you make certain choices in your work … if you develop certain disciplines and invest your time instead of squandering it, you can do more with the time you have.”

Vanderkam suggests keeping a time log, at least for a week or two. She says, “writing down how you spend your time keeps you accountable for the hours that pass, whether or not you’re conscious of them.” She compares it to the benefits you receive from writing down what you eat.

To-do lists play an essential role. Vanderkam writes …

Successful people tend to view their primary to-do lists a bit differently than others do. They aren’t just lists. They’re more like contracts. Whatever is on the list will get done, often as a matter of pride. This is true even if your deadlines turn out to be squishy.

To see what I use, see my post on the 2do app.

Vanderkam also advises focusing on fewer tasks. She says, “Successful people know that small things done repeatedly have great power.”

Taking breaks is an important part of one’s workday. She writes, “plenty of people who’ve tried scheduling regular breaks have found that the time ‘lost’ is more than made up for with renewed focus.”

Personal growth is also important in making you more productive at work. Vanderkam writes …

And you … would take your career to a new level if you spent time every day trying to improve at the tasks associated with your job. Practice is, simply, performing or working at something repeatedly to become proficient.

At the end of the book, Vanderkam discusses the role of joy in one’s work. She says, “Productivty … is a function of joy.” She continues, “The daily discipline of seeking joy makes astonishing productivity possible, because then work no longer feels like work.”

So, if you’re interested in how successful people use their time at work, check out What the Most Successful People Do at Work!

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