Productivity Skills: Caroline Webb teaches you how to set up a productive day


If you’re stuck having an unproductive day, then this might be the most most practical book for solutions. It covers the most impactful areas of your day: setting goals, productivity, creativity, influencing people, energy…to name a few. The author managed to write a book with overwhelmingly large amount of information without being overwhelming.

After reading this book:

  • You will know how to get people to do things you need
  • You will know how to structure your day and end aimlessness 
  • You will know how to overcome problems that seem unsolvable at first

Something specific I really like

The whole chapter about Influence is full of gems, because I started using most of them. I thought that getting people to do things is hard, but the trick is to request something the right way, which works on most sane people. My favourite example involves people juming in a photocopier line. They used 3 sentences: first gave no reason for jumping the line; the second gave a genuine reason for jumping the line; the third gave a nonsense reason, like “because I have to make some copies”. The results where as expected. No reason worked 60% of times, genuine reason worked 94% times, but…nonsense reason worked 93% of times. Aha! Note to myself, if I don’t have good reason for a request, even a nonsense one will work.

Another thing I really like

The whole book is about spending your day in discovery mode, where you’re enthusiastically solving problems, instead of feeling desperate and angry. Even mild negative stress can reduce your brain’s activity when you need it the most. With the help of this book, it becomes easier to recognize and escape defensive mode. With a simple checklist, you can design a day that will leave you feeling good.

Quotes I want to remember

People are far more likely to achieve their goals if they think hard about both the outcome they want and the obstacles they’re facing, and plan for both.

This short-term/long-term trade-off is at the root of our tendency to procrastinate. It’s easier for ouur brains to assess the known present than to consider the unknown future, so our automatic system, always looking for shortcuts, will tend to give more weight to what’s happening now rather then what might happen in the future.