Don’t Work Harder. Work Smarter.
The third and final instalment of our holiday gift guides: introducing the Skills Library
We’re all looking to improve our working day: to be more focused, boost productivity, get stuff done.
There’s certainly not one trick that will fix everything. But there are plenty of things you can do to accomplish more, and feel better for it too. It’s not about how hard you work — that will just leave you burnt-out and frustrated — it’s about how smart you work.
The Skills Library is packed with wisdom all about smart working. Maybe you want to tackle problems in a more creative way, or understand how to effectively communicate and inspire others. Maybe you’re struggling to get everything done in a way that doesn’t compromise your health and wellbeing. Whatever your goals, these four hand-selected books from our collection will introduce you to new approaches that will give better results — in both your professional and personal life.
Inhale. Exhale. We do it about 20,000 times a day without even thinking. But our breathe deserves much more attention. It reflects what is going on in our mind and body at any given point, and is an indicator as to how we’re really feeling. Michael Townsend Williams, an adman turned yoga teacher, helps us to understand our breath and how to do it better in Do Breathe. He explains how to reduce stress and restore balance using simple breathing exercises — and all the while improving focus, productivity and flow. It all starts with your breath.
We face daily challenges, large and small. Often when life throws us one of these curveballs we see it as a setback — an obstacle in our path. And our response is to just wing it. But what if we could change our mindset and view every challenge as a new opportunity? In Do Improvise, Robert Poynton suggests that accepting that change is inevitable allows us to see things differently. And could be an invitation to explore more creative forms of problem solving. Building on the skills an improv actor might use on stage, he demonstrates how improvisational practices and games (yes, games!) can help you to tackle everyday challenges in a fresh way. Boost your communication skills, creativity and leadership ability — all by embracing the unexpected.
To get your best work done, you can’t always just go it alone. You need to effectively inspire others. But what if you don’t see yourself as a natural-born leader? As the person standing on a podium telling others how it should be? Here’s the secret: it doesn’t matter. Anyone can learn to lead, successfully, by recognising and embracing the qualities they already have — and delegating. Encouraging the person with the right skillset to step forwards. In Do Lead, Les McKeown helps you identify your own leadership style, develop the skills you need to manage yourself, work with others and move past the inevitable failures. Whether you’re part of a large or small team, there is a way for you to start leading from where you are, right now.
In any industry, communicating your ideas and engaging with others is key. But it takes skill to really connect. In other words: you need to have the skills to tell a good story — whether it’s crafting a company mission statement, selling a new product or performing for a crowd. With nearly 30 years’ experience as a story consultant, lecturer and producer, Bobette Buster knows a thing or two about the craft of storytelling. In Do Story, Bobette shares a wealth of knowledge — from the tools of the world’s best storytellers (tech visionaries, filmmakers, chefs and politicians) to the narrative techniques that will make your story unforgettable. People want to know the real you and the reasons behind why you do what you do. So, what’s your story?
From productivity to communication, mindfulness to storytelling, The Skills Library has the essential tools needed to improve your working habits. But it’s also about your mindset: expanding your perspective, connecting with others, thinking differently. Oh and remembering to breathe. Smart thinking for a healthier work life.
The Slow Living Library is available exclusively via the Do Books website. £32 for all four books: Do Story, Do Lead, Do Improvise and Do Breathe. All with original artwork or photography.
Illustrations for this Medium post © Millie Marotta