Only a few books but dozens of ideas

Mariusz Smenżyk
Mariusz Smenżyk Founder & CEO

Read time: 5 min

Nov 09, 2018

When I read books I always highlight important ideas, cities, keywords and sentences. Last six books which I’ve read were particularly rich with words such as: focus, routine, procrastination, visualisation, courage, consciousness, etc. Of course those books contain a lot of brilliant thoughts but how can we remember everything and which of them could helps us to understand the world and make the difference?

One day I decided that I would read Bill Gates’ list of the most important books which I’ve found on LinkedIn. We know that Bill Gates reads tons of books every year so it was easier for me to start reading with pre-selected knowledge; knowledge about different ideas such as communication, leading, self-development, business, management, etc. Please don’t assume that I’m Bill Gates fanatic. I’m only a humble Linux fan but Bill Gates gives us examples of what is truly important when it comes to nowadays world’s problems.

My first goal (during reading) was catching and implementing some interesting ideas into my real life (family, work, self-development). Now, when I’m reading next book I’ve decided that I’ll be writing down my conclusions . It won’t be another review of the books. It will be more about how much effort I make to “get these ideas done”. I want to find out if my results reflect theories from books.

Book 1: Getting Things Done by David Allen

In my case one of the most important things when it comes to time-management is how to avoid multitasking and Believe me, it’s not easy to implement. Dozens of task management systems, hundreds of tools (from paper calendar to specialized online tools) not necessarily help to solve this problem. Additionally, as a CEO I have a dozen of things with different levels of importance (I know how to delegate tasks but there are still a lot of things to do). During the searching for the best time-management solution, I’ve found a book Gettings Things Done. This is one of the most important books which I’ve discovered. David Allen gives us a few simple rules and shows a different perspective about time and planning. In a few words: linear planning doesn’t work! Focus on the most important things and put them into named boxes:

  • Inbox - everything that requires more than 2 minutes of work
  • Today - what should be done today (important for today!)
  • Later - things which are not necessarily important (and can wait some time)
  • Someday - ideas not to be forgotten
  • Completed - every completed task
  • Waiting - things which we don’t have influence on or we’re waiting for someone or something

That’s all! Simple as can be. Everything which requires less than two minutes of work needs to be already done.

After one year of using this schema I completed more than 2 500 task/goals - from phone calls to flat renovating (I know that because I use Trello board). Finally ideas from GTD methodology allow me to focus on today and what I need (want) to do today. The future is quite unpredictable (the further, the more unpredictable it gets) so that’s why today is very important. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to develop self-time management skills. Of course it’s not perfect but I treat this as an entry point for all incoming tasks. I can decide why, what and when I want to do it. This is a powerful tool for better self-organisation.

See you soon!

  • Book 2: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Covey
  • Book 3: Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • Book 4: Tribes by Seth Godin
  • Book 5: Managing the Mental Game by Jeff Boss
  • Book 6: The Dip by Seth Godin
  • Book 7: Start With Why by Simon Sinek
  • Book 8: The Go-Giver Leader by Bob Burg and John David Mann
  • Book 9: Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • Book 10: Drive by Daniel H. Pink
  • Book 11: Give and Take by Adam Grant
  • Book 12: What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack
  • Book 13: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Book 14: Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
  • Book 15: The War of Art by Steve Pressfield
  • Book 16: Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
Mariusz Smenżyk
Mariusz Smenżyk Mariusz started his career as a Full-stack developer at Digital Marketing Agency. With over 14 years of development and project management experience, he now runs Bravelab.io, a software development company specializing in web apps build with Python & JavaScript.

Read time: 5 min

Nov 09, 2018

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