We live in an era of information overload. It’s easy to get bogged down chasing the latest productivity trend or software. But, the fundamentals are what really matter. It’s important to have the right mentors to effectively learn the productivity fundamentals. Below is a list of my top eight productivity mentors and the number one thing you can learn from each to build a strong and productive foundation.
Michael Hyatt – Win At Work & Succeed At Life
I’ve been following Michael Hyatt’s work since 2008 and his impact is second to none on my list of productivity mentors.
After attending his Free to Focus Live event, I was thrilled when he released the book. He’s continued to release books at an incredible pace over the past several years. All his books pack so much information into quick and easy reads.
The biggest lesson Michael taught me is something his company calls “The Double Win,” meaning that you can “Win At Work And Succeed At Life.”
Here’s what it comes down to:
- There’s no need to kill yourself by overworking.
- You don’t have to decide between supporting your family and spending quality time with them.
- There’s no reason to wait for someday to come and then finally relax.
Michael and his team help you get clarity in your personal life and business life so you can truly excel in both spheres.
His book Win At Work & Succeed At Life captures the essence of his teachings.
Greg McKeown – Essentialism
Michael Hyatt is more of a productivity and business generalist, and Greg McKeown is a highly skilled productivity specialist.
His #1 book, Essentialism, helps you define what’s most important and completely reshape how you think about work & life.
He takes you step-by-step through a process of identifying what’s most important and creating a plan to focus on what matters most.
The biggest takeaway in this book is his notion that “Every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else.”
Jay Papasan & Gary Keller- The ONE Thing
Similar to Greg McKeown’s Essentialism, The ONE Thing has a very straightforward premise that is so easily forgotten in our busy everyday lives.
This book asks you to answer one question in order to be productive:
“What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”
Your goal should be to laser focus on doing fewer things that have greater impact than dispersing your energy doing more things with smaller impact. Use the domino effect to tackle bigger and bigger goals.
Here’s what that looks like in motion. Just look at how one tiny domino can knock down something the size of a skyscraper.
It’s not about checking a lot of things off your task list…
It’s about checking the RIGHT things off your task list.
James Clear – 1% Better Every Day
James Clear recently released Atomic Habits. It instantly became a best seller and is dang near required reading in the productivity space.
He teaches you exactly how to eliminate bad habits and easily build the habits that will help you become a better version of yourself just one day at a time.
James has conducted extensive research into the idea of 1% improvements and the huge impact these improvements have over the long-term.
In this Keynote, he discusses his habit philosophy:
One of the things I love about his writing besides how it’s backed by science, is how practical and actionable his habit creation methods are.
He has a way of putting things in down to Earth language and makes the next steps seem obvious.
Jeff Sanders – Morning Routines
Morning routines are the backbone of building strong habits, and nobody has a more actionable model than my friend Jeff Sanders.
Jeff is the author of The Free-Time Formula and The 5 AM Miracle, as well as host of The 5 AM Miracle podcast.
If you’re thinking that 5am sounds crazy, you might be right.
Whatever time you wake up, you can learn to build habits with your morning routine using Jeff’s methods.
He does an amazing job taking you through a step-by-step process to help you reach your grandest goals.
Not only are his lessons immediately practical, he also keeps them fun.
Jeff’s books have actionable worksheets and templates to help you take action right away. No more procrastination or not knowing what action to take.
He also offers an incredible Productivity Membership I’m a part of . Inside he shares step-by-step videos of real productive strategies, in-depth interviews, and custom coaching.
Jeff has opened his membership for all my readers at a steep discount that’s over $100 off (that’s 40%). Click the button below to learn more.
Cal Newport – Deep Work
Do you ever get to the end of the day feeling burned out and like you couldn’t focus at all?
It can be a daily struggle.
He discusses how deep work is a skill that lets us quickly master new information and produce better results in less time (the skill that helps you focus on (the ONE Thing).
He explains that all the distractions in our life keep us from living a life of meaning and accomplishing amazing results.
Focus impacts our ability to complete meaningful work, and that’s why deep work matters.
Cal Newport not only shares the why, but the how of doing deep work.
Alex Soujung-Kim Pang – Rest
As important as hard work is, rest is more important.
Most of us struggle to actually rest. I’m not talking about lounging in front of the TV, but instead using active rest to help you improve in all areas of your life.
When thinking of active rest, reflect on the non-work activities that give you energy.
Do you love hiking outdoors, woodworking, creating music, photography, etc.
Having an active hobby that fuels your life gives you the energy you need to focus on work when the time comes.
What can you do to create more rest in your life?
David Allen – Mind Like Water
I’ll admit right out of the gate that David Allen’s Getting Things Done book is long-winded. But…the ideas that David Allen shares can have a dramatic impact on your overall productivity.
That’s why I recommend his Getting Things Workbook or Getting Things Done for Teens instead.
Not only are they easier and quicker to read, but they are so much more practical in everyday life. It’s also easier to share what you learn with your kids to help them have peace of mind with all the tasks that get thrown at them constantly.
David’s GTD methodology is designed to help you have a “mind like water.”
If you’ve ever practiced martial arts or studied eastern philosophy, this is a familiar term. However, if it’s new to you that’s okay.
Water flows naturally, sometimes moving slow and other times fast. No matter where the water goes it does so effortlessly.
Using the GTD methodology, you collect everything that life throws at you, put them in their proper place, they they show up just when you need them.
Nozbe is the tool I use collect tasks in an inbox, create projects, add due dates, and even batch similar tasks together to complete them more quickly.
The two best pieces of advice in this book are the GTD flowchart and the weekly review.
This book is more of a desk resource instead of being a page turner.
So there you have it, the fundamentals to build a strong productivity foundation.
No need to suffer from information overload. And no need to chases the next productivity trend.
Just focus on the one thing that’s essential to get things done, rest, build productive habits, and win at work and succeed at life.
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