One of my favorite topics is productivity. After reading Dave Crenshaws first book, The Myth of Multitasking (great book, grab a copy), I was totally excited to hear he had a second book coming out; Invaluable. I just finished reading the book last evening and wanted to share some of the key insights that I grabbed from the book and my review. It’s a quick and fun read as it’s a business parable (I’ve only read four parables in my life and I read.. often). They are always a fun change of pace.
- As an employee, working for someone else, you need to identify the activities that you can do or that you currently do that no one else can do. Not only identify these, but also work with your boss to see what he/she feels would be tough activities to replace that are currently on your plate. You may not think that managing your bosses calendar is of high priority, but your boss may feel the complete opposite. If you have gotten to know your boss well and his/her trends it would take quite a while to replace that task quickly.
- Raise your per hour worth. This is done by eliminating your least valuable activities (possibly assigning to someone on a lower pay scale) and focusing on your high dollar/most valuable activities
- Stop wasting time — you can get a lot of time back in your week, but following Dave’s various systems — like processing and gathering points (below)
- Learn to process things and reduce your gathering points. The simple version of processing and gathering points is as follows; “Gathering points” are any places that contain or store information. For example: your desk drawers, wallet, computer, email, voicemail(s) your car, your bookbag etc. You need to drastically reduce the number of places to where you grab information from. “Processing” is the art of taking the items in the different gathering points and “processing” them. For example, going to your inbox, reading an email and taking the next action step — whether that is to respond, achieve, defer, delete etc. There is much more to it, but this is the simplified version.
The first part of the book is a story about an employee who is dissatisfied with his work and how he moves things forward in the company he works for and touches many different peoples lives. I don’t want to spoil it for you so I will leave it at that.
The ending portion of the book has various handouts and tools that Dave uses and provides to his clients (that pay him massive amounts of money). I particularly love the handout on standard operating procedures. We have adopted the exact form into my organization.
This book is a must read for not only employees but employers and contractors alike!