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Idea Box

5 useful books for keeping your feet on the ground

Playing an endless game, embracing an “infinite mindset” so everybody can stay in the game, responding to the pressures, paradoxes and opportunities offered by the uncertainty of this 21st century — all this means you have to keep both feet firmly on the ground. It never hurts to remember how to save time and energy, for yourself and every member of your team.

1. Don’t let busy be your status

Based on Do Nothing : How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving by Celeste Headlee
(Harmony Book, 2020)

Just like a hamster on a wheel, you add more and more activities to your to-do list, at an increasingly frantic rate, with ever higher goals. But this endless race for greater efficiency is unnatural and counter-productive. Hit the pause button! Your efficiency is based on your ability to slow down, and sometimes to stop, so you can recharge your batteries, see the bigger picture or simply… avoid running headlong into a brick wall of stress!

2. Are you ready to question yourself ?

Based on Think Again : The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant
(Viking Press, 2021)

Are you as agile-minded as you think you are? Maybe not! And yet agility is a key quality to help limit the number of unsound decisions you make – and adjust in a complex, unstable, and chaotic environment! Sidestep the most common pitfalls that impede flexible thinking with a quickfire (and fun) test to identify your dominant thought pattern, as well as its strengths and limitations.

3. Can you get your ability to concentrate back ?

Based on Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
(Grand Central Publishing, 2016)

The endless sources of distraction at the office can make uninterrupted focus seem like a pipe dream. But, with a few proven strategies and discipline, you can develop your ability to concentrate – and watch your performance and sense of achievement soar: Understanding your natural rhythm and imposing real personal discipline are two fail-proof ways to start strengthening your ability to concentrate at work.

4. Collaboration overload, one of the hazards of hybrid management

Based on Beyond Collaboration Overload, by Rob Cross
(Harvard Business Review Press, 2021)

All-out collaboration can have perverse effects: work overload, useless stress, and ultimately hampered innovation and impacted performance. How you can break this vicious circle? Help your employees detect (and say no to) excessive demands, optimize your team meetings (online or face-to-face) and take the time to reestablish calm, reasonable discussions to boost productivity.

5. No time to do everything ? Don’t beat yourself up !

Based on I Didn’t Do the Thing Today by Madeleine Dore
(Penguin Random House, 2022)

Are you no longer able to keep up with the masses of activities in your overloaded schedule? Take a minute to ask yourself what drives you to always do more and find out how to push back against the unrealistic quest for performance 24/7: give yourself a framework, focus on the things that matter and leave room for improvisation but also, quite simply, say yes to releasing the pressure. And stop feeling guilty.

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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.