For Christmas a few years ago, I got the productivity book “Your Best Just Got Better” by Jason Womack. Super happy of course, as I love self-development and business books and I almost always ask for new books for any event involving presents :)
In this review, I will share my personal highlights from each chapter of this book, so can feel inspired to get more our of your own work and life as well. While you’ll get some great quotes and take-aways from this review, I can HIGHLY recommend picking up a copy from Amazon (only $13!) to read his entire inspiring story and get access to all the great tasks he’s made for you.
Let’s get into it:
YOUR BEST JUST GOT BETTER BOOK REVIEW
About the Writer
Jason W. Womack is the CEO and founder of the Jason Womack Company, which provides customized training on workplace performance. As an executive coach, he shows clients (managers, employees and entrepreneurs) how to work smart, think big, and make more. Coaching hundreds of individuals and traveling extensively, Jason has facilitated more than 1200 Workplace Performance workshops.
I first heard about Jason W. Womack through one of my favourite places for online learning, Creative Live. He gave a course called “Think Bigger, Make More” and it’s all about how to stop wasting time and doing more of what you love, something that I’ve really been working on myself lately. In this course, he gave a lot of tips coming from his book Your Best Just Got Better, so I was excited to read it entirely after the course. And I can only say that it helped me, A LOT.
The Content of the Book
PART 1 – Work Smarter
CHAPTER 1 – Improvement and You: Identifying Your Role in Making Your Best Better
“Would you know a great day if you saw it?”
“See yourself in your goals – You get what you expect”
“Be the architect of your experience”
“Productivity is doing what I said I would, within the time that I promised”
“There are only 96 15-minute blocks of time in a 24 hour day. That is 1440 minutes per day, 168 hours per week. 15 Minutes is 1% of our day. Our time is limited.”
I love how Jason Womack bases his entire ‘strategy’ around the exercise of defining what An Ideal Day would look like to you. When you start focusing on what it is you want in your work, but also your entire lifestyle, your community, with your habits and your family and friends, you don’t only KNOW what you want to be better at, but also start to LIVE these thoughts.
In the book, Jason often gives you practical actions to take to measure the amount of time you use for every single task and to look at distractions and (unnecessary) tools you often use. Boy, do you realize how much time is wasted each day by silly things that can easily be avoided!
One great eye-opener for me was when Jason talked about the difference to NOUN and VERB people. Just have a peek at your last to-do list. What are you? I’m definitely a VERB person. I manage my productivity in terms of action & progress, I really feel the need to write down tasks for upcoming days and need specific action steps to even just get started… (and yes, I’m one of those people writing down things on my to-do list after I’ve finished them just so I can cross things off *slap*)
When working with NOUN people, I now realize that I also need to value their need to talk visionary and about big-picture things, to make sure they understand where they’re going, what’s going to happen, who will be involved and how great it will be when done, rather than just going on about the details.
CHAPTER 2 – Improvement and Pacing: Building and Sustaining Habits That Lead to Productivity
“What does working smarter mean to me?”
“Get in the mindset to slow down, before you can speed up”
“What could you do to relax, rejuvenate and reinvent yourself?”
BIG EYEOPENER by now: In general, it is really not so much about managing time better, but more about knowing what you want and focusing on what is important. I realize I’m stuck in details to often and need to open myself up to more big-picture thinking like mentioned in the first chapter.
A great exercise in the book is to make a list of every single thing you do from the moment you wake up until it’s 10 AM during one week. Also list all the tools, systems, technologies and gear that you use to get your work (personal and professional) started and done. Then decide to (1) keep doing/using it (2) delete/remove it or (3) delegate it to something or someone else.
Doing this, I realized that I spend to much time ordering my thoughts in the morning. Not only wasting time, but also making it harder for me to fall asleep at night, because there are still so many things on my mind. Now at the end of the day, I make a list of what I’ll be working on the next day. And by tracking the time I need to finish different tasks, I know much better now what I can realistically achieve in one day.
CHAPTER 3 – Improvement and Time: Get the Most from 1 Percent of Your Day!
“The only way to manage your time is to maximize what you do in that time”
“Completion increases your energy level and sets the standard for consistent forward motion on projects at all levels of importance”
“If you stay in a comfortable state of homeostasis, you’ll never take the risks and introduce the improvements you need to make your best better”
“The bigger the changes you want to make, the more important it is that you immediately change who you spend time with”
I LOVED the suggestion by Jason to write down a list of 20-30 things you could do in 15 minutes spare time, so you’re always READY to do something. Now, whenever I’m waiting on a bus, sitting in the tube, cooking dinner, waiting on someone or just need a break from a longer task, I have something small I can do – and tick off my list (empty RSS feed, listen to audio book, add people to my group boards on Pinterest, read a book chapter, daily Instagram, etc.).
What I found interesting was the simple suggestion to gain some ground early in the day by beginning with something you can quickly finish, this works so motivating!
PART 2 – Think Bigger
CHAPTER 4 – Improvement and Self-Efficacy: If You Think You Can, You Probably Can
“You will know what you are thinking, when you see what you are saying”
“There is a fine line between taking on a lot of work and (taking on) too much”
“When you direct your attention toward new possibilities, you’ll immediately begin to notice new opportunities”
I’m already a firm believer in the Law of Attraction (check this clear video or another one of my favourite books), and Jason Womack strengthens this by explaining that you’ve got to believe – visualize something before it happens!”. True. True. True. It has worked for me so many times already. Think about what you want to be known for, what you want to do and what could be possible.
Another great quote from the book is: “The work you’re doing and the life you’re living right now is the sum of all the parts of your thinking, your beliefs, and your explanations of what is, why it is and how it came to be.” Yeah. let that settle in for a bit!
CHAPTER 5 – Improvement and the Social Network: If You Want to Go Far, Fast, Go Together
“A major factor influencing what you do and what you think about will be to surround yourself with people who encourage, support and challenge you to think bigger”
“You can keep feeding the hunger you’ve developed for wanting to discover what’s possible by seeking out who’s doing the impossible”
“By expanding your social network, you create new opportunities for both your life and your work”
Passion. I believe this is one of the single most important things needed for running a successful business -and life. You have to LOVE what you do, otherwise it’s going to be so hard to keep doing it in the long run. That’s why this is one of my favourite quotes by author Paulo Coelho: “You know that you are close to the meaning of life when you are full of enthusiasm, when you do things with love“.
I get to attend many blogging conferences throughout the year, which I always find very inspiring. Not so much because of the topics of the talks (after a while you’ve pretty much heard it all), but way more to hear from people doing the exact same thing as me: working hard to be able to live the life they love. Just being around these people is very motivating.
I found it a great exercise to write down the people that inspire you and the little things they did or said that helped you to get where you are now. Then see where you can meet more of these people or reach out to people you already know in your network!
CHAPTER 6 – Improvement and Tracking: What Is in the Way, What Is Along the Way?
“The best way I know to change habits is to first identify those that are already in place”
“How do you use your 1440 minutes a day?”
“Bring awareness and focus to each task as you work on it, adopt a focus-to-finish mind-set”
Ah, habits, we all love them, right? If only they were a bit easier to recognize and change!
You really can’t change anything if you don’t know what you are already doing, so grab a notepad or make a spreadsheet and start writing down everything you notice about how you work. From distractions to interruptions, when and how you take breaks, actual time working on a specific task, total time of meetings, tasks that drain you or bring you energy, what times you start and stop working, how long you sleep, everything.
Find out where you really waste time and fill it with a more productive habit (remember that you can’t get rid of a habit, you can only replace it with something else, something that works better for you).
CHAPTER 7 – Improvement and Purpose: Clarify and Promote Your Own “So That…”
“When you say yes to the interruption, you’re saying no to everything else”
“What we do and do again and again becomes our normal”
One of the hardest questions is being asked in this chapter, but it’s probably also one of the most important: “Why do you do what you do?“.
During a workshop on a creative festival callec “Blogstock” some years ago, our friend and coach Karen Sargent told us that every time we reach a ‘because’, we need to keep asking yourself this question again: ‘but WHY’? Then you keep digging further into that because, until you reach the final answer. Very powerful to do!
I’ve been working on my own ‘so that’ for years now and although I’m getting closer every time I sit down and think about it (mindmaps, journalling, collages, moodboards, I do everything really), it’s an answer to an idea that keep changing and growing, which I’ve learned to accept is totally fine. But it’s giving me direction and that’s a great feeling. As Jason says “Practice does not make perfect, it does make comfortable”. Exactly.
Jason Womack encourages you to write down your daily “MIT’s”, or your “Most Important Tasks” for the next day and always to thinking about your “So That” in the back of your mind when writing these down, so you stay on track.
PART 3 – Make More
CHAPTER 8 – Improvement and Feedback: Knowing How to Ask for It and What to Do with It
“Feedback can be critical, but is there only to improve you(r work), don’t always try to do it alone, as others might have good, practical advice you can implement pro-actively”
“It’s only valuable to receive feedback if the person offering you feedback has some sense of what you were trying to accomplish in the first place”
“Are the results I’m achieving moving the mission forward?”
“You know it’s time for feedback when you are experiencing a significant difference between what you want and what you are getting”
Now, I’m an introvert, so I always rather do things on my own than with other people. Same goes for asking help, I always… well, I just don’t, really :) But this chapter in the book made me realize that it is important to find support and let people with expertise help you and inspire you. I am luckily part of a mastermind group together with 3 other bloggers and every month, we get together to talk about our businesses and how we can help each other reach our goals. Makes a huge difference being around supportive people!
Another important point raised in this chapter is that being successful is not just about actually achieving what you set out to complete, but also about staying aware of the experiences along the way. So think about what else you MAKE beside money… what is your MISSION and how did those accomplishments move your mission forward?
CHAPTER 9 – Improvement and Focus: The Resource That Affects All Others
“The moment you ask yourself “What should I do now?”, you come up with answers – many of them”
“Being productive and getting things done is not really about managing time. It’s not even what you do in that time. It’s what you’re thinking about in the time you have between now and the next thing you think about.”
“It can be extremely helpful to discern exactly what it is that gets in the way of your focus”
“Your point of view – the assumptions, beliefs and attitudes you bring to your goals – can radically affect the odds of your achieving these goals”
One of my main goals is to create time to start focusing and working on bigger projects. And it’s soooo hard to do! I’m so stuck in the action, I don’t see how I can set time apart to work on for example a book or video course, which I really want to do. I’m, so to say, “IN the Business”, not “ON the business”.
One of the tips from this chapter is to block off a certain amount of time (like 30 minutes or 1 hour) each day to focus on bigger projects. It’s important to also write down beforehand what you want to have done by the exact time. Ask yourself always “Can I finish what I start?”
Jason Womack suggests using a 3-6 month time frame, because it’s near enough that you can anticipate the work you will need to do and far enough that you will be able to make noticeable progress, chipping away, working a little bit each week to achieve something big. It’s exactly how I’m now going to start writing my Pinterest course. Wish me luck!
CHAPTER 10 – Improvement and Practice: Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, It Makes Comfortable
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears”
“What does different look like?”
What I’ve learned about being more productive from this chapter, is that everything you do has to be sustainable. By eliminating the things/people/habits that are in the way of even just getting started on an important task, you open up space to venture toward a new practice.
I also learned how important it is to say NO. I’ve had to turn down some amazing new Pinterest clients this year, that I would have killed for when I just started out, but I have to be true to what my MORE is and that isn’t social media management at this point. It’s creating lasting products and courses that will not only bring me passive income, but establishes my expertise and will bring way more people value than just the few people I have time to work for. And that’s what my focus will be on for now.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed reading Jason Womack’s book “Your Best Just Got Better” as I got so much out of it! Even after reading it once, I return to it often to go over the exercises again and stay on the right track. I can definitely recommend picking up a copy, it might -who knows- change your life!
GET THIS BOOK YOURSELF!
Title: Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More
Author: Jason W. Womack
Curious to find out more about productivity and finding a good work-life balance? Here are some other suggested reads:
- Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur – Pamela Slim
- What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful – Marshall Goldsmith
- Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time – Keith Ferrazzi
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel H. Pink
- Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment – George Leonard
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