The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity - PCC - ebook

The time management experts at FranklinCovey share their five critical techniques for avoiding distractions and paying focused attention to our most important goals and tasks in our daily lives: This book “fits a real need in these turbulent, but opportunity-rich, times” (Steve Forbes). Every day brings us a crushing wave of demands: a barrage of texts, emails, interruptions, meetings, phone calls, tweets, blogs—not to mention the high pressure demands of our jobs—which can be overwhelming and exhausting. The sheer number of distractions can threaten our ability to think clearly, make good decisions, and accomplish what matters most, leaving us worn out and unfulfilled. Now FranklinCovey offers powerful insights drawn from the latest neuroscience and decades of experience and research in the time-management field to help you master your attention and energy management through five fundamental choices that will increase your ability to achieve what matters most to you. The 5 Choices is time management redefined: it increases the productivity of individuals, teams, and organizations, and empowers you to make more selective, high-impact choices about where to invest your valuable time, attention, and energy. The 5 Choices—from Act on the Important, Don’t React to the Urgent, to Rule Your Technology, Don’t Let It Rule You—will not only increase your productivity, it will also provide a renewed sense of engagement and accomplishment. You will quickly find yourself moving beyond thinking, “I was so busy today, what did I actually accomplish?” to feeling confident, energized, and extraordinarily productive.

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Table of Contents

Choice 1: Act on the important; Don’t merely react to the urgent

Choice 2: Go for the extraordinary; Don’t settle for ordinary

Choice 3: Schedule the big rocks; Don’t sort gravel

Choice 4: Rule your technology; Don’t let technology rule you

Choice 5: Fuel your personal fire; Don’t get burned out


Table of Contents


Choice 0


Today, being productive is something of a paradox. It’s simultaneously easier and harder than ever before to become highly productive and feel good about your life and career.

The three basic challenges which everyone faces today are:

1 Every day, you face an overwhelming number of decisions which have to get made.

2 Your attention is under unprecedented attack from all quarters.

3 You can feel your personal mental energy ebbing away as you deal with trivial stuff.

Despite that, everyone (you included) is capable of doing extraordinary work. The way to achieve that is to make five do/don’t choices which will enable you to manage your decisions, your attention and your energy – so you rise above the chaos and do great work.

Key Thoughts

“The 5 Choices are anchored in the timeless principles of human productivity that we and others have taught at FranklinCovey for thirty years. They also draw on the latest thinking in brain science, biology, technology, and performance psychology. They have been vetted by tens of thousands of practical experiences that people have been applying in numerous situations and organizations around the world. They are proven and they work.” — Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill and Leena Rinne

Choice 1

Act on the important; Don’t merely react to the urgent

The first choice you can make to become extraordinarily productive is to become more discerning and less reactive about how you use your time. Maximize the amount of time you spend every day working on activities which are important but not urgent.

The human brain has two distinct sections:

Scientists have concluded the reactive part of your brain has evolved to ensure the survival of the species. As a result, decisions made in this part of the brain are quick and take little energy or effort on your part. This is where the fight-or- flight reflex resides. Interestingly, much of today’s advertising is designed to appeal to the reactive part of your brain.

The thinking brain, by contrast, takes more time and energy to access but when you do, you can start making better decisions about what to do. It’s in the thinking brain where you plan, make deliberate choices and rise above knee-jerk reactions.

Neuroscience now shows that it’s possible to deliberately rewire your brain with practice so you use your thinking brain more and your reactive brain less. Put another way, one of the keys to becoming more productive is to find ways to become more conscious and intentional about the decisions you make. Do that and you can achieve more.