Productive Habits and Organization by Lisa Gladwell

The initial chapter indicates an overview of the themes discussed within the book, detailing various aspects that have made individuals productive and organized in contemporary times. Lisa Banks asserts that planning is the starting point of truly productive people, where people who plan their days have a better sense of direction. Further, elimination of distractions is another way of boosting productivity as well as choosing the proper tools of working that help to optimize the effort given by people. Banks also points to time management as an important way to become productive and sharing such strategies with other people who are concerned with the outcomes. The end of the chapter provides a short synopsis of the organization of the book, with the four key case studies that were incorporated in the generation of the book being highlighted. These cases represent different societal concerns and are learning lessons for productivity and organization.

The second chapter delves on the first principle of productivity and organization which is planning. Lisa Banks notes that good plans are formulated on the basis of long-term and short-term goals. Such goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant as well as Time bound. Further, the components of success are given as the influencers that make an individual pursue some goals, the dependent people that are contingent to the success of the goals and the delegates who are entrusted with accomplishing different tasks in order to realize set goals. These categories of people ought to understand the goals that the individual aspires to achieve and provide support so that one can accomplish complicated or difficult tasks in reaching the goals. The author stresses on taking time during the planning process, as well as planning for contingencies to improve the quality of goals. Various case studies are given such as that of the Carla call centre which incorporates the idea of SMART goal-setting.

Chapter three offers guidance on eliminating distractions that hinder productivity and organization for many people in the world. Banks starts by noting that fellow people are the most daunting distractions that are difficult to deal with, because they cannot be eliminated. However, the book indicates that there are several means to manage distractions emanating from people including distancing yourself for a period of time. Further individuals can set time limits on which they interact with others and isolating themselves from less meaningful conversations. There are also media distractions such as phone calls, e-mails and social media that suck time from individuals and make them unproductive. Overall, Banks postulates that the management of such means could help people reduce the effects of such distractions. She notes the case study of the Denny Dad who is able to manage distractions from his family and remain productive.

The fourth chapter discusses the incorporation of the right tools as a prudent way to time management and increasing productivity. One of the tools elaborated is a timer, which individuals should keep in order to allocate prudent proportions of time to constructive activities. The approach is more of a prioritization strategy to do activities that are relevant in the time given. The next tools are the planners, which are in many forms as well as calendars that are chosen based on the individual’s situation. In this context, there are paper planners like calendars which can make planning easier. Further, there are email tools like forwarding and using flags or social media tools that can be personalized to boost personal and planning. The author then provides case studies including that of the Carla call centre, and how she manages her emails.

Chapter five illustrates the aspect of time management, which is noted to be the driving force behind productivity and . Banks notes that scheduling time is one of the vital ways that time can be managed. She posits that individuals should select their vital tasks that have to be done within the day, the important tasks that should be done but are not very critical and the unimportant tasks that can be done after some time. The book advocates for breaking down of tasks as a way to reduce overwhelming of tasks. Another area addressed is that individuals should be able to set time limits for activities to be done as well as meetings in order to make the best use of time available. Case studies are given in the final part of the chapter including that of Amy Author, who incorporates prudent time management skills that have boosted her writing career. The case of Peter Programmer also illustrates the boosted productivity that he realized through time management.

The sixth chapter is concerned with coordination, which involves finding synergy between different activities in order to seek efficiency maximization. Banks notes that individuals who are aligned to their goals are better placed to realize success within their operations. The first aspect discussed concerns coordinating dependents, by ensuring that such people buy into the set organizational strategy. They should further be incorporated in the planning and goal-setting processes and educated on the hindrances of productivity and organization. Another aspect elaborated is coordinating the influencers, where support is sought from such people in order to realize success. This is an important group that may determine the success of the strategy and therefore effort should be made for them to comprehend the strategies, goals and undertakings of the entity. The final aspect is coordination of delegates, who can be called upon for assistance in extreme situations. Such individuals should be given insights on possible distractions and can be depended to undertake minor tasks in the organization that are beyond the capacity of dependents and influencers.

The conclusion chapter gives a sum of the ideas presented in the book. Banks indicates that optimizing productivity and organization is achievable by any individual. However, individuals ought to use the ideas presented within the book including planning of activities, reducing distractions, incorporation of the right tools and managing time. The book provides the outcomes of the four case studies used after incorporation of the principles discussed by the author including improved operations, better output and overall productivity within their organizations.