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Book Review – Productivity Hacks

Last updated on maart 25, 2020

Time to read 3 minutes

500+ productivity hacks crammed in one book. That is basically what Emily Price wrote. In her book Productivity Hacks, the tech journalist writes about all things productivity. How to get productive, how to stay productive and so on. It’s actually not so much a book, as it feels more like a big, ordered list of productivity tips. Quite a few were helpful.

Book specs

Productivity Hacks BookTitle: Productivity Hacks – 500+ ways to accomplish more at work… that actually work!
Author: Emily Price
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Year of release: 2018
Pages: 152

About the author

Emily Price is a young freelance journalist. I couldn’t find much info on her actually. She writes about technology and business. And she’s an avid tweeter!

The general idea of Productivity Hacks

First of all, Productivity Hacks is a giant list of productivity tips in several area’s of life. The goal is to enable you, the reader, to get more done at work. Price divides her tips in the following sections:

  • General tips for every day. These are tips like: start your day with water (she explains why), tips for staying organized, following the two-minute rule and setting up routines for parts of the day.
  • Be productive at work. This chapter features tips on how to best go about your day at the office. Tips for getting promoted, curbing coffee, getting your calendar to be your boss, working from home when things get busy and tips for regaining focus.
  • How to be productive at home. Price, being a freelance journalist, probably taps into her own experience with working from home here. She says:

When you work from home, you are your own secretary, so plan out things like email time and breaks so they feel more set in stone and you don’t accidentally overcommit yourself. The more prepared your schedule is, the easier it will be to keep yourself on task!

  • Business Travel. Tips for the heavy business traveler.
  • Having productive meetings. These hacks range from knowing who you need at a meeting, actively listening during a meeting to setting the environment for meetings: for instance, take a walk when having a one-on-one meeting!
  • Tech and tools: do not get caught up in notifications and know thy tools. These and other welcome tips (and tools) to use and what not to use.
  • Price closes the circle with tips on maintaining the work-life balance: don’t mix personal and work items in one device, preparing meals for the week, periodically do a review with yourself and take a step toward a long-term goal every day.

Tip: take notes

I took a bit of time until I got into the ‘groove’, as this book doesn’t read like a book, but like a list. Once you get used to the format, you’ll take in a lot of tips, and nod at the ones you already know. I suggest you take notes of the ones you want to try, because the productivity hacks are plenty.


TimeThe best part of this book for me was the chapter about meetings. Meetings are the most hated and unwanted type of activity in the workplace. Everybody’s been through at least one horrible, improductive, agenda-lacking meeting David Gray mentions in his famous TEDtalk on the subject. Meetings can be a rather constructive tool though, if you set the conditions right. Price’s Productivity Hacks certainly has tons of good ideas on several area’s of ‘having a meeting’: tips on prep, on the invitation (which easily translates to a checklist ‘what to ask a meeting organizer’), the meeting itself and the follow-up. Things I’d like to try is to:

  • have a visible timer ready and make a point of it being there. On youtube there are many countdown timers ready at hand. No app needed, just a screen and internet.
  • establishing or asking why your (my) attendance is required. I don’t ask, but I sometimes do question why someone invited me.
  • skip meetings that don’t have an agenda (after asking for it first).
  • bundling meetings in a certain time-frame, in the afternoon.

I’m also keen on preparing a ‘what to ask the meeting organiser’ question list, which I’ll share when it’s done.

Published inFocus and HabitsOrganizing Home & Work

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