One of the best ways to get myself out of a mental rut is to put on an inspired podcast or open a book (physical or otherwise). Infusing a new train of thought into my internal dialogue wakes up my brain and gets me thinking in new directions. This month I am sharing a few recent favorites to help you change up thought patterns, gain focus on your most important tasks, and inspire you to think bigger.
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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – Cal Newport
This book was nothing short of daily-life changing for me, and I don’t say that lightly. I would finish a chapter and have to call someone and tell them what I read. “Hey – did you know that the reason you should do the hard things at the beginning of the morning is because your mind has a limited amount of mental energy each day? If you check email first you spend all your energy task switching between subjects and you’re tired without actually having accomplished much!” *hangs up the phone to go try out my new tools* I picked up immediately useful advice from each of the 4 rules described in the book and at only 287 pages (Kindle version) he gets straight to the point. I am more aware of how I work and the habits that are working against me. Most importantly I understand what shifts I can make to get priority tasks done and produce meaningful work that can leave a lasting impact around me (with enough time left over for balance and play).
I first listened to Deep Work on Audible but found that I wanted to highlight certain concepts that really spoke to me so I could refer back to them later. I ended up getting a physical copy and re-reading Newport’s ideas to cement in what I had heard the first time through. Pick up your own copy of Deep Work by Cal Newport here on Amazon and find out how you can take back your day with his science-backed advice.
Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman
I originally found this podcast because there was an interview with Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook that I was curious about and I had some time while traveling to tune into the hour long episode. What made the interview that-much-better was that Hoffman and Sandberg were peers (friends?) and he was able to talk about her philosophies on business and leadership while also keeping the interview human and real.
This is the ‘extra’ that Masters of Scale consistently brings to the table that other podcasts often forget – the people who have achieved great successes in business and entrepreneurship are also human. We all know you built a company from scratch and are now living that good life. Let’s talk about the failures you had to overcome before you built your media empire. Let’s talk about how you slept on the floor of your office or started with a thousand bucks seed money from your dad in your garage as you went for VC funding. That you had gotten yourself stuck in a job you hated and it took getting fired before you could take the leap into a venture with higher risk and higher possibility of reward. Let’s talk about how incredibly nervous that made you! And what inspired you to take the leap anyway. Its the human element of stories that attract me. When you’re talking about entrepreneurs you are talking about people who have either an innate tolerance for risk or have learned to risk more to gain more. What makes that individual tick? How did they get to success? Masters of Scale tackles all of that and gives listeners credible tips on how to think like an entrepreneur and grow a business.
You don’t have to be a business owner to get a lot of value out of this podcast. You are the owner of your own life and anyone can adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. I consistently end these episodes inspired, ready for action, and reassured that even the modern day ‘greats’ are all human just like me.
Find Masters of Scale on Stitcher or your favorite podcast player.
As I am writing this it is Sunday here. That means I’m thinking about what small continuous improvement goal I can work toward next week to get me closer to the long term milestones I’ve set for myself. If you are looking for a small goal to set for yourself this week – why not grab a copy of Deep Work and read chapter 1, or download an episode of Masters of Scale that interests you. See how a new train of thought can inspire you to think bigger and take back your day.
Have a book or podcast that needs to be shared? I am always looking for the next big idea, let me know a book or podcast that has inspired you in the comments and it could be on the next Spotlight series.
About the author: Hi! My name is Jess Anderson, I am a technologist based in Louisville, Ky. I lead technology product and project management teams and am ‘mom’ to two school aged kids.
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