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5 productivity & self-help reads for 2021

With the world opening up again and the chaos of summer out to sabotage any carefully crafted 2021 resolutions, is anyone else feeling like it’s time for an intervention?

Even if self-help isn’t normally your genre of choice, here are five books that include something for everyone, whether you fancy picking up a new project, working more effectively or just getting more sleep (*raises hand*).

Equally, if you’re out to enjoy your summer and can think of nothing worse, that’s completely valid. Save this post to return to (or ignore it completely – no hard feelings!).

1. The Motivation Myth – Jeff Haden

Quote: “Motivation isn’t something you have. It’s something you get, from yourself, automatically, from feeling good about achieving small successes.”

The gist: We’re all guilty of waiting for “the right time” to start something or make a change. News flash: it almost definitely doesn’t exist. In fact, to feel motivated/successful/accomplished, Haden argues that you have to simply… start.

Read if: If your natural reaction to the above is along the lines of “No way! I need at least six months to think about it do precisely nothing!”, then this book is probably for you.

2. How to Think More Effectively – The School of Life

Quote: “The world is painfully dishonest or at least edited, so it requires a leap of faith to imagine that the stranger will be like ourselves.”

The gist: Our minds are capable of great things, but are also prone to self-sabotage (anxiety, fear, envy, boredom, comparison… the list goes on). This series of short essays is an insight into how to “better operate” the human mind, make better decisions, think more creatively and – most importantly – think for yourself.

Read if: You’re human! Everything by The School of Life is essential, insightful reading.

3. Atomic Habits – James Clear

Quote: “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”

The gist: Whilst there’s no harm in setting big goals, it’s easy to feel deflated when accomplishment feels abstract. James Clear argues that real change comes from the compound effect of small decisions we make every day. It’s one of the most practical, easy to follow habit change books out there.

Read if: You’re in the right mindset to pick up something new or drop an unwanted habit, but don’t really know where to begin.

4. Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker

Quote: “Humans are not sleeping the way nature intended. The number of sleep bouts, the duration of sleep, and when sleep occurs has all been comprehensively distorted by modernity.”

The gist: If you’re looking for the motivation to get to bed earlier, this book might just scare you into it. The first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker shares 20 years of cutting-edge sleep research and explores the link between deficient sleep and major diseases.

Read if: You’re guilty of pushing back bedtime in favour of just one more Netflix episode.

5. Daring Greatly – Brené Brown

Quote: “There’s no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness.”

The gist: Every time we’re faced with change, we’re simultaneously faced with the prospect of risk and vulnerability; a seemingly unappealing cocktail that most people tend to avoid. Best known for her viral TED Talk, Dr Brené Brown shares years of social research and personal stories as she dispels the widely accepted myth that vulnerability = weakness.

Read if: You’re in need of a pep talk. No one does it quite like Brené.

Get in touch

Whether you’ve read any of the above or have more recommendations to add to our team’s reading list, we’d love to hear from you. Perhaps one of your goals for the second half of the year is to get organised when it comes to marketing? Either way, you know where to find us: email or call 0115 8965 300.

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