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Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life

ISBN: 978-1-118-17967-3
312 pages
April 2012
Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life (1118179676) cover image


Learn tried-and-tested methods for optimal personal productivity!

Ever find yourself more than a bit overwhelmed by the constant influx of e-mail and reminders as well as the ever-present calendars, to-do lists, miscellaneous paper, and sticky notes? Add to that, myriad devices that were originally intended to make us more efficient, but in reality, only end up forcing us to juggle even more. Our brains aren't wired for all this, but we can learn to be productive. Personal Productivity Secrets gives you everything you need to know to be organized, in control, and to get things done:

  • Understand how your brain absorbs, organizes, and filters the daily deluge of information, and learn to trick your brain into being more productive
  • Appreciate the difference between "Time Management" and "Attention Management" and create workflow processes that help you defend your attention
  • Create a plan for navigating endless technology options, and implement tools that will keep you productive, focused and in control

Personal Productivity Secrets reveals updated and vital information for achieving your significant results, and being as productive as you can be in a fast-paced, technology-driven society.

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Table of Contents

Read This First xxi

Part I Managing Your Attention 1

Chapter 1 Stop Trying to Manage Your Time 3

Chapter 2 Changing Your Mind: Attention Management 21

Part II The Empowered Productivity System 39

Chapter 3 Empowering Your Productivity 41

Chapter 4 Controlling the Constant Chatter 55

Chapter 5 Supplementing Brainpower with Technology 71

Chapter 6 Clearing Your Mind Now 85

Chapter 7 Capture, Store, Act 95

Chapter 8 Clearing Your Space 115

Chapter 9 Emerging Concepts in Information Management 139

Chapter 10 The T.E.S.S.T. Process 147

Chapter 11 Controlling Your Email 159

Chapter 12 Defending Your Attention Using Technology 179

Part III Tools for Success 197

Chapter 13 Mastering Your Technology 199

Chapter 14 Managing New Communication—Social Media 223

Chapter 15 Implications for Groups and Teams 231

Chapter 16 Modern Conveniences—Reviews and Recommendations 241

Part IV Appendices 251

Appendix A Recommended Book List 253

Appendix B Resources 257

Glossary 263

Index 271

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Author Information

Maura Nevel Thomas is a speaker, trainer, writer, and consultant in the areas of productivity, attention, and effectiveness. She founded RegainYourTime.com in 2003 and has worked for nearly 20 years in the productivity training industry. She developed a process for managing life and work details called the Empowered Productivity System, and its success brings regular invitations to speak and lead workshops on the topic.

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"This book is a reference guide for changing your life to being sane and peaceful and I find myself picking it up time and time again to bring another area back into alignment. I have by no means accomplished everything that I know this book will help me to do but I am thrilled with the results so far..."—Dani Meyer, The Adventure Bite blog

"In Personal Productivity Secrets, topics range from how to use an online calendar, address book and e-mail, to how to best use an online storage tool, to-do lists and a capture tool, all assisting you with regaining that focus and control, bringing you peace of mind, success and fulfillment. Whether you feel you need to make a drastic change in your life or you feel you have it together for the most part, Thomas can help."—Molly McManus, Austin Woman Magazine

"Thomas' book goes far beyond the 'how' of being productive and provides a whole lot of 'why,' delving into the nature of modern gadgets, media, software, social networks, and more. Highly recommended for those who feel they and their brains aren't on the same page."
Kevin Purdy, Writer and former Contributing Editor at Lifehacker

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Do you think you've discovered an error in this book? Please check the list of errata below to see if we've already addressed the error. If not, please submit the error via our Errata Form. We will attempt to verify your error; if you're right, we will post a correction below.

ChapterPageDetailsDatePrint Run
279 Error in Text
Under Next Actions:

Currently reads: "62, 73-74, 266-133."
Should read: "62, 73-74, 266-267."
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Press Release

May 15, 2012
PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY SECRETS Puts You in Control of Technology and Tools, From Smartphones to Social Media

Nearly half of American adults (46%) are smartphone owners in 2012, according to Pew Internet. With a world of information and entertainment in the palms of our hands, attention management is the most desirable skill to tame the tide of distractions in our 21st century lives.  Maura Nevel Thomas’ PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY SECRETS (Wiley, ISBN: 978-1-1181-7967-3, May 2012), published this month from John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is a powerful how-to manual for taming your attention and reaping the most productivity from smartphones, email, social media and the newest downloadable apps.

PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY SECRETS draws on Thomas’ 20 years of experience in the productivity training industry to share the most universally useful process for managing the details of a busy life. Thomas kicks to the curb the concept of “time management” and makes a powerful argument that when you control your attention, you control your life.

“Maura understands why we struggle with productivity when the tools designed to help us can also be a source of distraction,” Steven List, Agile Coach. “Anyone who’s ever felt overwhelmed by email or wondered if social media is a networking tool or a total time-waster will become more productive and in control after reading PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY SECRETS.”

Whether you use Windows or Mac products or carry an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry phone, PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY SECRETS shows how the most popular technologies can help you support your attention, not sabotage it. With Thomas’ process, the Empowered Productivity™ System, you learn to:

  • Capture, store and act on your commitments and communications
  • Organize your life by category, not simply time
  • Apply a simple process to tame email overflow
  • Choose the tools that enhance attention management
  • Master tips and tricks for Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and Google tools
  • Stop multitasking and choose to apply your attention to your highest priorities.

Maura Nevel Thomas’ method and process for capturing the details of a busy life complements our 21st century culture’s growing preference for smartphones and software instead of pencil and paper for personal information management. PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY SECRETS: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention…and regain control of your life (ISBN: 978-1-1181-7967-3, $29.99) is available in stores and online beginning May 7, 2012 from Wiley in both print and all e-book formats. For a full list of retailers, visit www.wiley.com/buy/9781118179673.

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Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life (US $29.99)

-and- Mindhacker: 60 Tips, Tricks, and Games to Take Your Mind to the Next Level (US $24.99)

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