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Extreme Productivity: Introduction

Extreme Productivity: Introduction

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Published by Harper Books
Robert C. Pozen is a business professor who teaches a full course load at Harvard Business School while serving as the full-time chairman of a global financial services firm. He’s written six books and hundreds of articles, raised a family with his wife of more than four decades, and served on many boards of local charities and public companies. Pozen is a prince of productivity, a man who has worked smarter and faster than almost anyone around him for over forty years.

In Extreme Productivity, Pozen reveals the secrets to workplace productivity and high performance. His book is for everyone feeling overwhelmed by their existing workload and faced with a myriad of competing demands and multiple time-sensitive projects. The antidote to a calendar full of boring meetings and a backlog of emails, Extreme Productivity provides busy professionals with an analytical framework aimed at prioritizing their time for high-impact results and refining their career goals for long-term success.

Pozen shows that in order to be truly productive, professionals must make a critical shift in mindset: from hours worked to results produced. He explains how to determine your highest priorities and match these priorities with how you actually spend your time. He also provides a toolkit of practical tips and techniques to help professionals at all stages of their careers maximize their time at work—while leading full and productive personal lives as well.
Robert C. Pozen is a business professor who teaches a full course load at Harvard Business School while serving as the full-time chairman of a global financial services firm. He’s written six books and hundreds of articles, raised a family with his wife of more than four decades, and served on many boards of local charities and public companies. Pozen is a prince of productivity, a man who has worked smarter and faster than almost anyone around him for over forty years.

In Extreme Productivity, Pozen reveals the secrets to workplace productivity and high performance. His book is for everyone feeling overwhelmed by their existing workload and faced with a myriad of competing demands and multiple time-sensitive projects. The antidote to a calendar full of boring meetings and a backlog of emails, Extreme Productivity provides busy professionals with an analytical framework aimed at prioritizing their time for high-impact results and refining their career goals for long-term success.

Pozen shows that in order to be truly productive, professionals must make a critical shift in mindset: from hours worked to results produced. He explains how to determine your highest priorities and match these priorities with how you actually spend your time. He also provides a toolkit of practical tips and techniques to help professionals at all stages of their careers maximize their time at work—while leading full and productive personal lives as well.

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Published by: Harper Books on Aug 14, 2012
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10/01/2013

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introduction
 P
eople oten ask me how I get so much done. During most o thelast ve years, I’ve held two ull-time jobs—serving as ull-time chairman o MFS Investment Management and carrying a ull teachingload at Harvard Business School. I’ve also served on the governing boardso two publicly traded companies (Medtronic and Nielsen), a health careoundation (the Commonwealth Fund), and a medical research center(the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center). At the same time, I’ve managedto write three books (including this one) and publish roughly a hundredarticles in newspapers and magazines. Through all this, I’ve maintained astrong relationship with my wie o thirty-ve years and our two children,as well as a wide network o riends and relatives.Though these multiple roles did not seem unusual to me, the editorso the
 Harvard Business Review
(
 HBR
) were intrigued and asked i theycould interview me about the secret recipe or my productivity sauce.When these interviews elicited a large positive response in the blogo-sphere, the
 HBR
editors asked me to write a short article distilling myprinciples o productivity. I got even more enthusiastic reactions to thatarticle. Strangers stopped me in airports to talk about productivity, andan MIT proessor thanked me or improving his reading habits.However, because the article only skimmed the surace o what can besaid about personal productivity, I decided to write this book. In refect-
 
xiiintroduction
ing upon productivity over my career, I can point to a number o habitsand methods that have helped me become successul. But even more criti-cal was the realization early in my career that success comes not just romhard work and careul planning—though those are both important. Suc-cess depends in large part on a proper mind-set: ocusing on the resultsyou plan to achieve, rather than the number o hours you work. The re-sults are what matter most to your employer, clients, and colleagues.
whAt is PErsonAL Productivity?
Let’s begin with what I mean by “personal productivity.” I mean
 the quantity and quality of your results in achieving your own objectives
. I won’tattempt to dictate what those objectives should be, only that you shouldclearly articulate them and their relative priority. You may be looking toclimb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible or seeking a better bal-ance between your proessional and personal lives. In either case, you willbenet by getting more done in the hours you work.This book does not ask you to embrace a new philosophy o lie inorder to be successul. It does not even require you to adopt a totally inte-grated system or personal productivity. It contains specic and practicalsuggestions on how to increase your productivity at work. You can pickand choose whichever suggested techniques seem most helpul to you.The suggestions in this book are much broader than those in the typi-cal manual on time management, with its emphasis on mundane taskssuch as organizing your les. Although time management is a signicantcomponent o productivity, it is not the only one. A useul set o recom-mendations on productivity should cover a wider range o topics, as thisbook does—or example, on setting goals or your career and developingskills such as eective writing.Most undamentally, the book urges you to adopt a dierent mind-setas well as to ollow concrete techniques. As I previously noted, in orderto be productive, you have to ocus on the results you want to achieve, notthe time you spend at work. Unortunately, this mind-set is directly at
 
introductionxiii
odds with the system o billable hours in accounting or law rms and theemphasis on hours logged at the oce in most occupations.Last, this book is not selling snake oil. In the 1830s, some authors sug-gested that one could succeed only by ollowing a special diet, sleepingon a hard bed, or abstaining rom masturbation!
1
More recently, othershave urged quick xes like holding many short meetings or working onlya ew hours per week. There are no miracle cures in this book. Most o my recommendations call or rigorous thinking and disciplined behaviorsustained over long time periods.
sPEcific And PrActicAL AdvicE
This book is organized into ve main parts, each with two or three chap-ters. The end o each chapter includes specic and practical “takeaways”—lessons to be learned.
•PartItellsyouthethreebigideasunderlyingtherestof
the book—setting goals with explicit priorities, ocus-ing on the nal results, and not sweating the small stu.
PartIIhelpsyouimplementyourshort-termpriorities
in a disciplined manner. It contains chapters on orga-nizing your daily routine, managing your travel sched-ule, and running ecient meetings.
PartIIIhelpsyoudevelopthreekeypersonalskills
that are critical to becoming a successul proessional.It contains chapters on improving your reading com-prehension, writing abilities, and eectiveness in publicspeaking.

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