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Book Review: Tweaking your brain to get everything done


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Jakarta  /  Tue, October 11, 2016  /  02:48 pm
Book Review: Tweaking your brain to get everything done

One idea from the book is the process of planning tasks paired with the time of the day you choose to execute the tasks. (Shutterstock/File)

I’m sitting in a café as I write this review. The sounds of the coffee machine are loud and obnoxious. I overhear the conversation between two gossipy office ladies across the cafe. Next to me, a child bangs his sippy cup on the table. I aimlessly flick through my internet tabs—email, Facebook, Twitter, this book on Bookmate, today’s news…  

The inability to focus is a very real thing. As bosses increasingly call on us to multitask and as we juggle life’s multiple demands, it is too easy to get overwhelmed by different tasks from our busy lives. Rushing through everything is a not a good idea—unless we want to end up even more frazzled. If you have gone through a slew of productivity apps, trying to streamline your processes, you will realize that those just add to our daily anxieties. So, what is a busy person to do?

Josh Davis’s Two Awesome Hours shows us how we can create conditions for two hours of effective mental performance. The idea is not working faster, it is about getting the most out of two hours. Davis, the research director for the NeuroLeadership Institute, helps us to harness the power of science-based strategies to increase productivity.

Tweaking your brain and practices to concentrate for two whole hours seems like it would be impossible, but it works. Most research tells us that working long hours is counterproductive. The brain naturally flits about, so this means that all the app-switching and multitasking are part of normal behaviors. Here is the kicker: have you thought about your to-do lists? Are the items listed really important, or are you just going through the motions? Davis says intentionally choosing what to tackle each day is key.

One idea from the book is the process of planning tasks paired with the time of the day you choose to execute the tasks. All tasks need cognitive and emotional focus, and demands for each task are different. Davis also suggests that we identify how our environment affects focus and alertness. He also takes other factors into consideration, such as the idea of food impacting productivity. Does skipping breakfast make you sluggish and slow for the rest of the day? Will that extra glass of wine tonight impact our performance tomorrow?

Davis’s tone throughout the entire book is gentle and reassuring, which is great. If you do fail in some aspects, he says it is totally normal. So, do not beat yourself up when your mind wanders! (kes)

Click here to read the book.


Title: Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done

Author: Josh Davis

Published: 2015

Publisher: HarperOne

ISBN: 978-0-06-232611-9

Pages:  192

Reviewed by: Natalie Pang

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.