5 Must Read Books to Boost Your Productivity and Performance

best place to work dan pink daniel levitin emma seppala happiness kelly mcgonigal productivity self control self development self improvement wellness willpower

Getting to grips with your mind to boost your productivity and well being is our theme for the month here at Potential Psychology.

I had a ball running my webinar What Psychologists Know About Creating a Powerfully Productive Mind (catch the replay here), we’ve posted tips from the science of productivity and wellbeing on Facebook and Instagram throughout the month and I have face-to-face workshop coming up in Ballarat exploring Expert Insights into Your Mind & Productivity.

To make sure I was up-to-date on the latest research on how our mind affects our productivity - and happiness - I turned to the experts.

Here are the latest books in my reading pile.



The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

By: Daniel H. Pink

Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don’t know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of ‘when’ decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.

Timing, it’s often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Dan Pink demonstrates that timing is really a science.

Watch Pink talk about the hidden pattern of the day and how it affects our mood and performance.


The Best Place

to Work

The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

By: Ron Friedman

In The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, psychologist Ron Friedman, Ph.D. uses the latest research from the fields of motivation, creativity, behavioural economics, neuroscience, and management to reveal what really makes us successful at work.

Among the many surprising insights, Friedman explains why placing a fish bowl near your desk can elevate your thinking and how incorporating strategic distractions into your schedule can help you reach smarter decisions.

Along the way, the book introduces the inventor of the workplace cubicle, the president who brought down the world's most dangerous criminal, and the teenager who single-handedly transformed professional tennis.

This is a great video in which Friedman explains why he wrote the book and how our psychological needs are met at work.


The Happiness


How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success

By: Emma Seppala

In The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success Emma Seppala explains how success doesn't have to come at our personal expense.

Drawing on the latest research into resilience, willpower, growth mindset, stress, creativity, compassion, mindfulness, gratitude training and optimism, Seppala shows how nurturing ourselves is the most productive thing we can do to thrive professionally and personally. 

This book is filled with practical advice on how to apply the findings from the science of happiness your daily life, fuelling success and reducing anxiety.

You can hear Seppala introduce the concepts of the book in this short audio clip. 


The Organized


Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

By: Daniel J. Levitin

In the digital age we’re overwhelmed by information. When we can’t make sense of it all, our creativity plummets and decision-making suffers. In The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of the Information Overload, Daniel Levitin shows us how we got here and why getting organised the smart way improves our memory, our attention span and even our imagination.

He explains why:
• Your brain has a daily processing limit - why waste it on cat photos?
• Daydreaming is your brain at its most productive 
• Multitasking is a bad way to do nearly everything

Watch Levitin talk to Google staff about the concepts in the book.


The Willpower Instinct

How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

By: Kelly McGonigal

Want to know more about willpower?

In The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters and What You Can Do to Get More of It, McGonigal explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters. She explains that self control is not a virtue. It is a biological function that we can improve through mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and sleep.

This book advice and exercises to help us with goals ranging from a healthier life to more patient parenting, from greater productivity at work to finally finishing the basement.

Watch Kelly McGonigal talk about willpower and ‘won’t power’ and ‘I want power’

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