Are you the type of person who is known for getting things done? Is yours the first name that comes to mind when someone in the organization needs a report written or a light bulb replaced? Is “no” a seldom used part of your vocabulary?

In other words, do you always feel busy yet not accomplishing the work that would most boost your career or inner peace?

When you feel the need to focus on the things that really matter needing a way to say “no” more—or better stop being the name everyone thinks of first—then you need to dive into Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout by Cal Newport (author of Deep Work, A World Without Email, Digital Minimalism, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, and more).

We know what productivity is relating to our production and manufacturing plants. But knowledge-worker productivity cannot be readily defined. 

Influenced through reading about the Slow Food movement in Italy, Newport thought about how our decades long obsession with productivity has led to what he calls pseudo-productivity—busy-ness just for the sake of appearing to be, well, busy.

He will show you a few calendar tricks to help you say “no” or at least something like “I’d be glad to help if you see where on my calendar I could get to it.” 

How do I get to Slow Productivity?

  • Do Fewer Things. 
  • Work at a Natural Pace. 
  • Obsess over Quality.

If you do what you’re supposed to do and do it well, how can anyone complain?

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