Personal Productivity / Personal Development

The Light Bulb Showdown: LEDs vs. CFLs vs. Incandescent Bulbs – What’s the Best Deal Now … And In The Future?

Recently, I made a purchase that’s right on the fine line between my desire to investigate frugality and my enjoyment of new technology. I purchased three very expensive 60 watt light bulbs, not much different than any other light bulb. The catch? These bulbs were LED bulbs, among the first LED bulbs designed to replace …

Review: The Power of Less

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or entrepreneurship book. I’ve been a reader of the Zen Habits blog nearly since its inception. The author of the blog, Leo Babauta, applies a very simple filter to countless aspects of life: how can we break it down and make it simpler? …

Review: The War of Art

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. Remember the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance? It came out several years ago and starred Matt Damon as a drunken golfer who was wasting his skills and Will Smith as his mystical caddy/mentor. The movie was middling, but a …

Teaching Frugality: The Power of Why

My three year old son has officially graduated to the “Why?” stage. Most parents – actually, anyone who has spent much time around a three year old – know exactly what I’m talking about. He’s basically asking “Why?” about everything that happens, from the simplest mundane household things to complicated issues like the nature of …

When Your Financial State Improves, Do Your Frugal Standards Change?

When I first started writing The Simple Dollar, I was working at a very stable 9-to-5 job that paid quite well. My wife and I lived in a very small apartment with our one child, a boy who wasn’t even a year old yet. Neither of our vehicles were paid off, but they were both …

Review: Making It All Work

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or entrepreneurship book. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m a huge fan of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. That one simple volume (which I identified as one of the ten books that changed my life) pretty much transformed how I organized …

What Will You Learn This Year?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an old friend of mine that I respect quite a lot. He’s one of those people that seems to know how to do everything – he can fix computers (and write code), handle almost any home repair, play the guitar, beat almost everyone I know at …

Review: Get Everything Done

Every other week, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. A few months ago, I was very pleasantly surprised by Mark Forster’s personal productivity book, Do It Tomorrow. Most of the time, when I open up a personal productivity or time management book, I can pretty much predict what the …

Review: Outliers

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. Ever wondered how exactly someone becomes world class at something? What exactly does it take to go from being ordinary at something to attaining great heights? Is it talent or a huge amount of persistence? Outliers (subtitled The Story of …

Fifteen Tactics for Maximizing Your Investment in Reading for Personal Growth

One topic that seems to come up time and time again in my reader mailbag columns is the concept of reading for personal growth. I hear questions all the time ranging from how to choose books that are worth reading, how to know when a book isn’t really providing answers for you, how to read …

Review: Personal Development for Smart People

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. If you’ve ever read much about personal development online, you’ve probably bumped into something written by Steve Pavlina. He’s the person behind an enormously popular personal development blog and discussion forum on the topic. I’ve corresponded with Steve a few …

Review: The Myth of Multitasking

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship book. This book attracted me from the title alone – The Myth of Multitasking is something I’ve observed over and over again in my own life. In fact, I’m observing it right now – I can write better and faster if …

Review: The Encore Effect

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or business book of interest. One of my mentors once told me that there’s usually no difference in content between a good job and a great job, but that the spoils go to those who do the great jobs. What’s the difference between …

How to Keep Important Stuff from Slipping Through the Cracks

There are many, many days where I feel completely buried in little tasks. Pay the bills. Help my son draw a picture. Make dinner. Write an article. Write another article. Answer correspondence. Do a phone interview. Vacuum the carpet. Do the dishes. Wash the kitchen floor. Do a load of laundry. And on … and …

When Networking Doesn’t Work: There’s No Value in Just “Touching Base”

“Caleb” wrote in recently with a concern about building connections with people in the workplace: One thing that comes in your blog from time to time is building and expanding professional and personal network. What about people who are at it but still seem to be going nowhere? For example, I have worked in a …

Review: A Perfect Mess

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. Over the last several years, I’ve worked very hard to become more and more organized with my stuff. I used to have a very difficult time finding things that I needed when I needed them and I also …

How I Keep on Task and Organize My Ideas Using Online Checklists

Last Sunday, I posted a detailed review of Mark Forster’s excellent time management book Do It Tomorrow. During the review, I mentioned that I had actually started using several of the ideas from that book, mixed them together with ideas from Getting Things Done, and started using my own task and idea management system based …

Review: Do It Tomorrow

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a book on personal productivity, personal development, or entrepreneurship – books not directly related to personal finance, but deeply relevant to personal success. I’ve long been a fan of time management books. My philosophy is that if you can get just one really useful nugget out of a …

Review: Love Is the Killer App

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity, personal development, or business/entrepreneurship book of interest. One profound thing I’ve always noticed is that if you give something of value away freely, with no strings attached, and don’t expect anything in return, and do it routinely and often enough, you’ll get far more in return …