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07 December 2007

Getting Zen Done

Today I bring some readers a freebie courtesy of Leo Baubata, author of "Zen to Done" and the blog "Zen Habits".

It seems that the current incarnation of the self-help books that were so popular in the 80's and 90's is the personal productivity blog. Since some folks have figured out how to make money from blog-writing (mainly through the old business model of selling ad space), and since people always seem to have an interest in learning how to better themselves with as little effort as possible, there are scads of writers out there who are completely missing the irony of having you waste your time reading their blog posts about how not to waste your time.

However, like any idea, there's always a few who stand out. Just as there were some excellent and tremendously useful "self-help" books written by the likes of Dale Carnegie, Mortimer J. Adler and David Allen, there are also some self-help blogs out there that are, in my opinion, worth a visit. So much so, in my case, that I have added their feeds to my Bloglines subscriptions so that I don't miss anything new they might publish.

One of my current favorites is Leo Baubata's Zen Habits, a blog about "simple productivity". The blog describes itself as being about:

"achieving goals, productivity, being organized, GTD, motivation, eliminating debt, saving, getting a flat stomach, eating healthy, simplifying, living frugal, parenting, happiness, and successfully implementing good habits."

In short, it takes a Zen attitude towards achieving life goals, being not about doing more, as much as it is about doing better, and being happier while doing it. For example, recent articles include "A Guide to Living Your Life Consciously", "How Many Hours are in Your Day?" and "Faith in Humanity: How to Bring People Closer and Restore Kindness". For anyone who's looking for a positive view of the world and a few helpful suggestions for personal growth, the blog is definitely worth a read.

Recently, Leo published a post (see "Faith in Humanity, linked above) based around Robert A. Heinlein's idea of "Paying it Forward", in which he gave away copies of his ebook, "Zen to Done"
, to readers who commented on the post. It was done on the condition that each of those readers pay the favor forward by passing on a copy of the book to one other person who would be able to make use of it. As one of the commenters to receive a copy of his book, I thought I could best pay it forward and yet pay back at the same time by getting his permission to pass on copies to a few readers of this blog and help spread the word about his writing.
Thus it is that I have 5 copies of "Zen to Done" in pdf format to distribute to my readers. "Zen to Done" is an application of Occam's Razor to personal productivity systems. In Leo's words:

"Zen To Done takes some of the best aspects of a few popular productivity systems (GTD, Stephen Covey and others) and combines them with the mandate of simplicity. It makes things as simple as possible, and no more."

I have to be honest and say that I have not finished the book yet, but I am enjoying what I've read so far, and am looking forward to finishing it. The thing about a book like this is that I find it best read in chunks that need to be digested for a period rather than in one whole sitting.

If you would like to receive a copy via email, be one of the first five people to either email me (see link at right) or comment on this post (I'm notified of comments by email), and I will send you the book. But be aware...the book comes with the condition that the recipient likewise pay it forward by sending a copy to one other person, to keep the ideas flowing and allow others to benefit from the work.

For everyone else who's interested, there's a link on this page at Zen Habits where you can purchase a copy of the ebook via Paypal. It's not expensive and worth reading, so do yourself and Leo a favor and grab a copy.

Oh...and for anyone who does not know about pay it forward, or might know it only from an episode of Oprah or the Mimi Leder movie, you can find out more about it (and Robert Heinlein) at Wikipedia.

Update: If you want a copy of the book, please make sure you don't comment anonymously, or else send me an email. I need to reply to an address to send you the ebook.


Joy said...

I've been reading Zen Habits for only a couple of weeks now, but the information has been invaluable. I'd love to have a copy of the book.

Anonymous said...

I am also a huge fan of Leo's Zen has been a great resource. I have tried to followed the "Getting Things Done" plan but it was too involved. Leo's ZTD system is much more simplified and easier to implement than anything else I've found.

Thanks for the great site!

Dominic said...

Your profile does not have an email address. Please send me an email and I'll reply with your copy of the book.

Anonymous said...

I too would like a copy of the book, if you gots any left! :-)

Hmm, can't seem to log in to my account, so I'll just tellya it's yer good buddy Ian McD!

Anonymous said...

As a person who knows how to waste time by reading blogs on using time more effectively, I see what you mean! So, if you still have a copy, I could use one. Thing is, will I waste time reading it? Or will it just add to my problems....

Dominic said...

I suppose it all depends on what use you make of it, KZ. I'd love to send you the book, and I have 1 of my 5 left to give away, but I cannot do it unless you send me your email address. Just send me a message directly to my email, or log in here with a Blogger profile, and I'll reply with the book..

Anonymous said...


I only found ZenHabits about two weeks or so ago but I’m already a HUGE fan. I’ve been devouring almost everything Leo Baubata writes since then and putting into practice a lot of good tips he so generously offers. For instance, last Sunday I organized all my papers from banks, receipts and so on I’ve been keeping in two big drawers for seven years (!), most of those letters were not even opened... besides I’m having a great fun with all the editing of my tabletops and kitchen countertops. I’m amazed why I didn’t think about it sooner... it’s so easy to clean and to keep everything neat and simple.

“A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home“ is also inspiring me to turn myself into a minimalist... and that is saying a lot since I live in a type of villa house that until a couple of years ago I was trying to turn into a kind of British cottage...

Just like the old Heraclitus saying “The only constant is change“.

There are a lot of other small and not so small projects I’ve in mind triggered by reading ZenHabits and others linked to it that I’m trying to implement. I don’t know "Getting Things Done" yet but from what I’ve been getting from here and there "Zen to Done" is even better. So if you think I qualify I would like very much to get a copy of the e-book.

No doubt about forward it. I’ll be just too happy to make it known.

Thanks in advance.

Meiji_man said...

If you still have one...

Dominic said...

Thanks for the comments, Meiji man. I'd be glad to send you one, if you provide me an email address.