Book Review: The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy, by Chris Bailey

The Productivity ProjectChris Bailey spent a year experimenting with and blogging on productivity, and has now released a subsequent work entitled The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy offering advice and methods he still uses (noted in a concluding chapter a year after completing the formal manuscript) to be more productive—not to be confused with busy. Chris lays down his initial foundation by defining productivity as “how much you accomplish” (13), not how much you do, thereby pointing out that being busy is not necessarily being productive. Thereafter, Chris begins by asking his reader to determine what he or she truly values—think about it and write them down—because that’s where one should invest time, attention, and energy in being productive. This is key because it will determine the way in which the rest of the book is used.

With a slight Buddhist influence, which itself is very inward and self-focused, Chris’s motivation for being productive is to be able to do more for himself and eliminates things that get in the way of that or simply do not make him happy (e.g., he notes the number of hours per week he intentionally spends on various aspects of life in order to be productive, and little priority is given to relationships, but he continues to eat foods and drink alcohol that reduce productivity because he enjoys them and will not give up certain pleasures for the sake of 100% efficiency—perfectly okay, but indicative of his value system). I imagine most of my readers will not share Chris’s worldview nor use his methods in the same way, but that does not mean they are unhelpful and cannot be applied. Again, he begins with values for a reason, and we’re all going to differ there from the start.

I appreciate much of what Chris has to offer, especially his points on energy management versus time management—no one can control or manage time any more or less than anyone else! I will certainly be paying more attention to my energy cycles and adjusting when (if) I use caffeine for best effect, whether to be energized or prepare for a crash to get better sleep.

Whether one measures productivity in achieving a daily word count (Chris) or developing relationships some may perceive as counterproductive encouraging a decrease in happiness, Chris’s insights can be helpful in making better use of one’s time and energy toward those ends. This book will likely be most helpful to those who have flexible control over their lives (young, single, childless, and self-employed, like Chris), but anyone can use it. I think it would actually benefit employers an entrepreneurs in better understanding their employees and molding business around people’s strengths rather than a traditional 9–5 push (or whatever the case may be).


*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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