The Keys to a Stress-Free and Productive Life [VIDEO]

Johan Sebastian Bach
Johan Sebastian Bach

“Johan Sebastian Bach only had 24 hours. I know he didn’t have email, but he had 20 kids.” — David Allen

As I mentioned in this post, one of my suggested must-read books for entrepreneurs is Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Allen’s “GTD” system has garnered a cult following over the years, spawning a cottage industry of folks looking for the best apps, technology and products to help them accomplish GTD in the best possible way.

While I haven’t adopted the GTD system verbatim, I have adopted several key pieces of Allen’s methods into my routine, with great results.

Specifically, his idea that it’s important to get the clutter of ideas, to-dos, and unfinished projects out of your head and on to paper in your “inbox” is vital.  It’s amazing how simply unpacking these ideas and thoughts and putting them on paper can provide perspective and help you to determine the next action decision to get them done.

So it was with great interest that I stumbled upon the video of Allen’s 2012 TEDxClaremont talk, entitled, “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” My favorite take-away quote from his talk is:

“Don’t keep anything in your head for the rest of your life.”

That quote is the key to living a stress-free and productive life. Without further adieu, I urge you to watch this 20-minute talk from David Allen. It’s well worth your time:

5 Must-Read Books for Entrepreneurs and New Small Business Owners

There’s no shortage of books by small business “celebrities” who claim to have the secret sauce for start-up or entrepreneurial success.

But, let’s face it, too many of these books recycle the same, old ideas.

Then there are the books that break the mold and provide some new, valuable insights that can really make a difference. the midst of the economic downturn.  Here are five of my favorite books that I recommend for any entrepreneur or small business owner.


1) Four Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss

This book has changed my life in my ways. More than simply a book on how to save time and get work done more efficiently, the book provides a blueprint for living life to the fullest, spending more time on what matters (friends and family), running a business more efficiently, and hacking your career to find your “muse” and earn passive income.

crush it

2) Crush It!, by Gary Vaynerchuck

This book, by Wine Library TV guru Gary Vaynerchuck, is a no-holds-barred, blunt book about providing exceptional service to your customers, building your brand, and taking the plunge to start your own business. Gary is humorous, original, and fun.  I read this book during a single airplane trip from D.C. to Chicago — easy and a joy to read.

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3) Rework, by Jason Fried

Jason is the founder of 37 Signals, the company that brought us Basecamp, Backpack, and a host of other tools for client and project management. In this book, Jason discusses design, the importance of keeping your business small and nimble, and how to hire the right people to make your business work.


4) Getting Things Done, by David Allen

The bible of time and project management, the GTD method has attracted a cult following of folks who are … well … getting it done and making their time work for them. Even if you don’t adopt the entire program, you can pick up some great tips and tricks for organizing your life, taming your anxiety and working more efficiently.


5) Be a Free Range Humanby Marianne Cantwell

This book provides a how-to for anybody to escape a job they hate, to “chuck it all” and build a business and lifestyle that allows you to live your dreams, do whatever you want, and travel the world.