1-Sentence-Summary: The 5 Choices teaches us how to reach our highest potential in the workplace and achieve the top level of productivity through a series of tips and tricks and work habits that can change your life right away if you’re willing to give them a try.
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Productivity is the result of a trained brain. The combination of willpower, consistent work, and dedicated practice towards perfecting your habits is what will get you to the top. But you’ve probably heard all that before.
What you haven’t heard yet, or never really knew how to implement, is the habit of becoming productive, undistracted, and well-trained physically and mentally. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. In fact, the majority of people haven’t yet found a way to master their own minds and body to follow their inner will.
Instant gratification is still more powerful than long-term success. And that’s the way things have been since the beginning of time. Philosophers wrote about it, scientists researched it, and life coaches spent decades studying the phenomenon. Well, it’s time to delve into something deeper than just studying: practice.
The 5 Choices will teach you how to finally get out of your head and into the real world, step-by-step, and achieve that productivity. Here are the top three lessons from this book:
- Organize your time into four quadrants that describe each category of time you have in a day.
- Productivity begins with defining your role title and your role statement.
- You need to be healthy, connected, and engage in meaningful work to make any system work.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll go into detail about each lesson and focus on the main aspects of interest for us.
Lesson 1: To become productive, you’ll have to start organizing your time according to the four quadrants.
Struggling with procrastination is a real thing, and it all boils down to one main issue – we don’t know how to manage our time. What’s worse is that we think we’re good at doing so. That is why we also reject scientific methods and advice on the matter, thinking that we know better.
Let’s debunk this once and for all – you’re never going to move past your recurring procrastination without a system. A time management system can help you organize your tasks more efficiently and finally get things done. Let’s start with the four quadrants so you get a better idea of what I’m talking about.
The four quadrants of your time are:
- Q1 – which includes your important and urgent work. (E.g. emergencies)
- Q2 – which includes important, but non-urgent tasks (E.g. work, preparing for meetings, etc.) – this is where you want to spend most of your time
- Q3 – which includes urgent but non-important work (E.g. checking emails)
- Q4 – which includes time spent on meaningless things (E.g. checking social media)
Carry out a self-analysis and think about where you spend most of your time. Your work day should imply a lot of Q2 time, less Q1 and Q3 time, and minimal Q4 time. Structure your work in these four quadrants. Every time you feel like doing something, ask yourself where your task fits in. That way, you’ll know how much time you should spend on it.
Lesson 2: Define your role titles, your role statements, and your schedule to set better goals.
By now you know that you should be spending most of your work time in Q2 doing important but non-urgent work. But what is that? Our jobs are complex and they require many tasks, so what’s important may seem blurry at times. Well, this is why you should define your role titles and statements.
Your role title is the main category of work you’ll be doing, while your role statement defines where you want to be. Let’s focus on an example: your role title can be “professional wedding planner’’, while your role statement may look like “I want to become the best wedding planner in town.”
This set of statements can help you start organizing your goals and your schedule. Now that you’ve defined them, you can start setting goals and objectives to achieve them step by step. Make sure to time-bound your goals so that you have a deadline to focus on. Then, it’s time to set your schedule.
Given a deadline, you now have to estimate how much time you can dedicate each day to meet that end goal. Let’s say you want to become the best wedding planner in town in one year. How much time will that take each month? What about every day? If it’s two hours a day, add that to your Q2 time daily to meet your criteria.
Lesson 3: To reap all the benefits of a time management system, you’ll have to nurture your body and energy levels.
Now that you’ve learned about the time management system presented in this book and got an idea of the strategies you need to use to implement it, it’s time to focus on the most important aspect of this system – you.
Without a body and a mind to hold everything together, even the most efficient time management book is useless. You need to sustain your energy levels and take care of your physic if you want to be consistent in this approach. If not, you’ll likely come across burnout, vitamin deficiencies, mental breakdowns, and whatnot.
Nowadays, our lives can get pretty busy and stressful. So making sure we’re keeping up with them is crucial for success. You can do so by nourishing your three sources of energy:
- The powerful purpose (or the motivation/ satisfaction you get from work)
- The physical body (your overall health levels)
The connections (your network and social life, your relationships with friends and family)
Without these three sources of energy ticked, it’ll be impossible for you to become productive. For this reason, make sure to engage in purposeful work or even enroll in a charity program, to carry out a healthy lifestyle, and actively communicate with your close circle.
The 5 Choices Review
The 5 Choices is a book that could change your life. Designed to help readers make positive changes in their work habits, it’s filled with common sense suggestions on how to manage time and improve productivity.
This book will help you focus on what matters most by giving you clear strategies, priorities, and systems. It combines science and research with actionable advice to show you the best way to improve your work.
Each chapter focuses on one aspect of your working life (time, movement and space, tools, stress) and provides tested methods for improving it.
Who would I recommend The 5 Choices summary to?
The 25-year-old young professional who is struggling to find a balance between their new career opportunity and family life, the 40-year-old manager who wants to keep advancing in their career but doesn’t know how to become more productive and innovative at work, or the 30-year-old person who wants to coordinate their efforts better and stop procrastinating.