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Lean Productivity

Learn how to become productive by doing less. Improve your happiness, get focused, achieve your goals. It's the definitive guide to getting the right things done.

Mitt TarasowskiMitt Tarasowski

Table of Contents

Introduction – Chapter 1
What is Lean Productivity?
A simpler, faster, better way to become productive
Our small team writes about productivity, creates simple software
Responses to some complaints we’ll hear

First off, get unclenched. Start to listen to your body, slow down, and chill out. – Gary Keller (from The One Thing)

The Starting Line – Chapter 2
Feeling Alone
You are not alone dude, we all have the same problems
Delete your todo app
Do Less
Slow down, and chill out
Take out the complexity of your life
Magic Bullets
The truth is: do the work, do it everyday
Limit Yourself
Get a single focus, limit yourself, less is more
Don’t fight procastination, accept and change
What’s your Problem?
Solve your problems first
Create a map of your future
The One Thing
The most important thing you want
Have an enemy
Pick a fight

One reason why people postpone doing things is that they want to start in the middle and not at the beginning. – John, Dr Tibane (from Advance your life)

Stay Lean – Chapter 3
Less Tools
The leaner you are, the better it feels
Stop worrying
Do whatever you are doing but do it slower
Think in Iterations
Start at the beginning not at the end
Feedback Loops
Get constant feedback from your mind
The first draft of anything is shit
Done is better than perfect
Eliminate Waste
Waste reduction is an effective way to increase productivity
Write emails like a CEO

A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force. Isaac Newton – (from Newton’s first law)

Priority – Chapter 4
Priority, not Priorities
There is no such a word as priorities
Start With No
Tell people to „fuck off“, but do it kindly
First Things First
Important things only
Forget To-Do’s
Let your life remind you what’s important
Hidden Costs
What is the price of doing things?
Just Think
Take lot of time to think
Visual Prioritization
Don’t prioritize with numbers or labels, put important task at the top
Full Inbox
Don’t let others dictate your life, auto-reply back

In the end, limited resources don’t have to hold you back. Instead, they can be an opportunity to build a healthy business model that’s based on simplicity. – Blake Mycoskie (from Start Something That Matters)

Process – Chapter 5
The Productivity Approach
All roads lead to rome
Start with small changes, don’t try to solve the big problem
They usually don’t work, but a plan is better than no plan
Stick to It
Eat broccoli motherf***er
Productivity Dilemma
It doesn’t matter as long you know what you goal is
Flexibility over Processes
Stop overthingking everything
Make it for fun, don’t be rigid
Fucking Idiot
You already know how to do it, simply do it
The never ending story, fight them but don’t become frustrated

Many people live their lives with the illusion of control, and not realizing what it is that makes them unhappy – Leo Babauta (from The Illusion of Control)

Tool Selection – Chapter 6
Pen & Paper
Lets go back to the old school
Todo Apps
Flexible solution for everyone, but not for you
Project Management Apps
Even more flexible solution for everyone, but still not for you
This is why successful people don’t use todo apps
Note-Taking Apps
One-stop shop for everything, lost in chaos
Whiteboards and Stickers
Who loves to visualise things
Cool stuff you haven’t heard about
So what?
The surprisingly simple tool behind extraordinary productivity

Tools (software and processes) don’t solve problems. People solve problems. Tools merely speed up the change. An idiot with a tool is still an idiot! – Christopher Daily (from The Daily Standup Blog)

Focus – Chapter 7
Focus, Not Focuses
There is no plural form for focus
For some people good, for you not good
Radical Focus
Keep work at work
Go Offline
Disconnect from your environment
Take a Break
Go outside of the building
Avoid meetings in person, do it remotely

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. – Steve Jobs, Apple

Setting Goals – Chapter 8
Goal Commitment
Committing to a goal can help improve performance
Three Horizons
Simple planing approach based on time
Most Important Task (MIT)
Do what matters most
Measure Progress
Regular check-ins make you satisfied
Think Big
Bigger is better
Act Small
Break your big goals into manageable chunks
Small wins
Celebrate small wins

If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things. – Larry Page, Google

Manage Time – Chapter 9
The Effective Executive
Your are an executive of yourself, become an effective one
Humans are bad at planning, we don’t know how long it really takes
Schedule your priorities not your to-dos
Don’t Track
Know where your time goes, don’t use time tracking
Outsource what doesn’t matter
Immediately cancel things you should not be doing
Don’t try to block it’s meaningless, understand the why!
Stop on Time
Stop at the right time to avoid stress situations
Once priority changed, everything else follows
Decide what matters and reserve your willpower
Leave at 6pm
Learn to switch off your brain by filling the time
The price of checking facebook is quite high

Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else. Effective executives know where their time goes. – Peter Drucker (from The Effective Executive)

Motivation – Chapter 10
Cognitive Discipline
Prioritized plan is the start, but it takes a commitment and focus to stick to it
Sometimes it happens, don’t worry go back again
Do less
Keep Calm
Listen to your body and mind
The Flow
If you’re inspired, do it
Do things that don’t scale
Missed Deadline
Don’t avoid coming back, you need to tackle it first
Simple Habit
The most important habit for your productivity
Fight Anxiety
It holds you back, do anti-anxiety exercise and boost your productivity

Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up. – Elon Musk, Tesla

Health – Chapter 11
Prioritize to avoid your next burnout
45m Standups
Move your ass (on the floor)
Don’t run away from everything
Eat well, get energy for your brain
Get up early, but sleep enough
Move your ass on the floor
Mental Training
There is no health without mental fitness
Less Stress
Relax, chill down, get to know your body better
Aritificial Stress
If a task doesn’t get done, nobody’s going to lose their job
Life Balance
Bring balance into your life with this framework

If you don’t take time for your health today, you will have to make time for illness tomorrow. – Joseph Piscatella, Catawba Valley Medical Center

The Happiness Paradox – Chapter 12
Not Happy?
There is no reason to be unhappy
Your Journey
Enjoy the journey to your destination
Be Happy
Learn here how to become happy

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. – Jim Ron (from My Philosophy For Successful Living)

Achieve Your Goals – Chapter 13
Start It Up
A few closing thoughts
Productivity Checklist
Your daily checklist to super productivity

Resources & Books – Chapter 14
Best books about productivity
Best links about productivity

Photo by Craig Garner

Executive Growth Hacker at Libertex. Co-Founder of