Words and images: Simon Paterson
As we venture into 2022 full of hope, optimism and the desire to make a positive change to ourselves. I thought now would be a perfect time to share with you three books that changed my life.
If you're looking for ways to move forward in 2022 I’d highly recommend adding these to your essential reading list.
All these titles can be found online at all the major retailers but our preference would be to visit Scarthin Books in Cromford. You can order and collect or use their website where you can have items delivered and still support a local(ish) independent bookshop.
If you've never been it's well worth a visit.
Here’s to a year of self-improvement and happiness.
Getting Things Done
Back in 2016, I started working as a Project Manager with a company called Future Foundations. On my first day the COO (Chief Operating Officer), Pete Cuff, gave me a copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done, stating, “it’s the closest I’ve been to a religious experience; this book changed my life.” So, I thought I had better read it!
I learnt that:
The brain is for having ideas, not for holding them!
The David Allen method for stress-free productivity consists of five steps: capture, clarify, organise, reflect and engage.
Capture really changed my life. Our brains work at a million miles per hour, constantly coming up with ideas and/or things that we could/should be doing. The first rule of getting things done is: capture everything! As soon as an idea or task pops into your head, write it down. Once you have written it down, your brain is free to move on to the next idea/task. Conversely, if you don’t write it down the idea/task will take up much of your time affecting, your productivity. I have the Microsoft to-do app on the front screen of my phone so I can always capture everything!
The two-minute rule
Applying this rule to your inbox is life-changing. If a task takes two minutes or less, do it straight away! You'll find that most emails simply required a response to a question that took me two minutes or less to reply to! I no longer glance at an email and think, “I’ll get back to that later.”
Atomic Habits is the second book on my list and one I read in 2021. I know I'm a master of bad habits, but what if I was a master of good ones!
From James' book I took:
People don’t rise to the level of their aspirations. They fall down to the level of their systems!
An atomic habit is something small but when repeated daily, it compounds itself into something huge and has an enormous impact!
Below is a recent example of an atomic habit I started after reading the book that will hopefully reap long term benefits:
Each day I will seek out a local independent business, either one I already know or a new one to me, and send them a positive message, telling them what I like about their business. I'll ask them if they would like me to post out a copy of our magazine and email them a media pack.
I'll do this every day, so over a year, I'll have contacted 365 great local independent businesses, shared kindness each day and increased my chances of meeting new businesses and customers. It’s a daily, atomic habit that could compound to have a significant impact on the magazines!
The Chimp Paradox
Professor Steven Peters
This is a well-known book that explains:
There are two competing forces in your mind, learn to recognise and control them
Professor Peters explains that there are two sides to the mind: the human side and the chimp side. The chimp side controls emotions, both positive and negative, making decisions based on these. The human side of the brain is rational and calm and makes decisions based on facts.
Learning when our chimp is in charge and how to control it will have a profound impact on us all. Therefore, the most important thing is to start observing our thoughts.
Who is in charge here?
Do I want to feel and act this way?
Is this me?
Learning to observe your thoughts is the first step to mastering your chimp.