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January 31, 2014

6 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Want to improve your productivity this year? Want to boost your performance at home and at work? Check out these 6 free audio & video learning resources on ways to help you manage your time and boost your productivity. These videos, podcasts, and audio books contain a wealth of information for productivity improvement from productivity experts.

1. Time Management

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch is best known for his talk "The Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" which he gave while he had terminal cancer about a year before he passed away on July 25, 2008. After that lecture he gave another great lecture at the University of Virginia in November 2007 on "Time Management". Pausch clearly learned from the best when it came to time management and in this hour long talk he packs in advice on time management for almost every area of your life such as prioritizing tasks, managing meetings & phone calls, delegating assignments, dealing with email, and also taking time to say thank you. He ends the lecture with a poignant reminder that the more efficient you are the more you can spend time with the ones you love because some day you might wake up and find out you don't have much time left.

2. How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Make an effort to more effectively manage your time! Listen to this short motivational audio book by British author Arnold Bennett. Written in 1910 this manual for managing your time contains ways to not only increase your productivity but also improve the quality of your daily life. Bennett addresses white-collar workers who begrudgingly work the standard 40 hours per week and see little time for anything else.

He points to ways people can take advantage of the extra time they have away from work to improve the quality of their lives. He suggests waking up earlier, reading or reflecting on the train to work (or in today's case listening to audio books during your commute!), and taking advantage of the evenings and weekend time to improve yourself through reflection, the arts, and literature. It is a great examination on how we use our time and it's only 1 Hr. 30 Min. long. It is well narrated by Mark F. Smith at LibriVox.org.

3. Daniel Goleman on Focus: The Secret to High Performance and Fulfillment

Daniel Goleman is the author of the bestselling books Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, and he now has a new book out: Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. He recently gave a talk on this book at Intelligence Squared in London. In this talk Goleman speaks about our digital age and the ability of technology to continually distract us and steal our attention. He goes into the psychology of paying attention to ourselves and others, and how the ability to focus and pay attention is essential to success in our personal and professional lives. He speaks briefly on mindfulness and the importance of practicing paying attention, particularly among the technologically-obsessed youth. After his talk Goleman fields tough questions from the British audience. This talk is available on the Intelligence Squared YouTube channel.

4. David Allen: Getting Things Done

In this Google Talk David Allen introduces some of the ideas in his bestselling book and time management system Getting Things Done. He provides advice on dealing with email, creating to-do lists, and getting into the right quadrant in order to get the most done. He includes many nuggets of wisdom from the decades he has spent studying and perfecting his system of time management. This 45-minute talk is available on streaming video on YouTube.

5. Get-It-Done Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More Podcast

The Get-It-Done Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less Podcast offers weekly ideas on how to enhance productivity. Whether you are trying to organize your desk, want help prioritizing your workload, or need advice on how to fit in exercise time, these podcasts offer clever solutions to everyday obstacles. The host delivers his valuable insight with a snappy sense of humor and a knack for finding clear solutions that you can begin applying immediately to your work and life.

6. Authors@Google: Marci Alboher & Tim Ferriss

Work Less & Do More! In this @Google Talk Author Tim Ferriss discusses his bestselling book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. Also featured on the talk is Marci Alboher, author of One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success. Both authors discuss the ways in which individuals can stop being overloaded with work and start doing the things they're really passionate about.

Ferriss tells his story about how he went from working 70 hour weeks to traveling the world and becoming a world champion kickboxer and tango dancer all while keeping his job and learning to delegate his workload. Alboher talks about how she went from being an overworked lawyer to becoming a part time lawyer and part time writer while living in different parts of the world. They give tips about how they accomplished their multifaceted lives and encourage listeners to not delay pursuing their passions until retirement.