The 5 Choices Book Summary - The 5 Choices Book explained in key points
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The 5 Choices summary

Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill and Leena Rinne

The Path to Extraordinary Productivity

4 (71 ratings)
10 mins

Brief summary

The 5 Choices by Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill & Leena Rinne is a productivity guide that offers straightforward methods for managing daily tasks and making purposeful choices. It focuses on five important decisions for improving both personal and professional effectiveness.

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    The 5 Choices
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    To be truly productive, focus on important but non-urgent tasks.

    Like most of us, you probably spend half your day at work checking email. Well, as you surely know, such distractions take a major toll on your productivity.

    To avoid distraction, organize your tasks using a time matrix, a productivity tool consisting of four quadrants, each accounting for a different portion of your time.

    Q1 includes important, urgent work. For example, this is the time you spend handling emergencies or last-minute requests.

    Q2 consists of time spent working on important tasks that aren’t urgent: that report for an important strategy meeting next week, for example.

    Q3 time is for work that’s urgent but not important; e.g., constantly checking your email.

    And finally, Q4 is the time you waste on pointless things, like playing games on your phone or checking Facebook.

    All in all, you should spend most of your time in Q2. After all, although you may feel productive when you’re in Q1 and Q3 – you’re handling urgent business! – that’s not actually the case. Because we too often mistake the urgent for the vital, rarely leading to top-notch work. (For proof, just consider the misspelled, hastily constructed emails you’ve surely sent out in your life.)

    On the other hand, we do our best work in Q2. It’s where we can focus and think, instead of simply reacting to whatever comes our way.

    So, in order to stay in this quadrant, use the Pause-Clarify-Decide method to determine rationally whether the task is important.

    For instance, before opening a new email, pause for a moment and think: Who is this email from? What’s the subject? Will this need immediate action? If the answer to the last question is “no,” go concentrate on something else instead.

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    Key ideas in The 5 Choices

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    What is The 5 Choices about?

    The 5 Choices (2016) shows us that extraordinary productivity isn’t actually about working harder; it’s about working better. By learning how to streamline your decision-making process, focus on important work and manage your energy, you’ll see an enormous difference in your level of productivity and work quality.

    The 5 Choices Review

    The 5 Choices (2014) is a must-read for anyone looking to increase productivity and regain control of their life. Here's why this book is worth picking up:

    • With its practical strategies and concrete techniques, it provides readers with the tools to make smarter decisions and focus on what truly matters.
    • By combining insightful research with relatable anecdotes, it offers a relatable and engaging exploration of how to manage our attention and energy.
    • The book's unvarnished honesty about the challenges of modern life keeps readers engaged and inspired, proving that personal growth can be both informative and entertaining.

    Best quote from The 5 Choices

    Fact: On average, only about 30 % of our time is spent in the most productive Q2 quadrant.

    —Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill and Leena Rinne
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    Who should read The 5 Choices?

    • Anyone who wants to be extraordinarily productive
    • Anyone who feels burnt out, stressed or overwhelmed
    • Anyone who wants to use new technologies to be more productive

    About the Author

    Kory Kogon is a former executive and author specializing in time management, project management and communication skills.

    Adam Merrill is an executive and author specializing in innovation, productivity and leadership.

    Leena Rinne is a senior-level consultant working in international business. The 5 Choices is her first bestselling book.

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    The 5 Choices FAQs 

    What is the main message of The 5 Choices?

    The main message of The 5 Choices is to help people make better decisions and prioritize their time effectively.

    How long does it take to read The 5 Choices?

    The reading time for The 5 Choices varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is The 5 Choices a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The 5 Choices is worth reading as it provides practical strategies to improve decision-making and productivity.

    Who is the author of The 5 Choices?

    The authors of The 5 Choices are Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill, and Leena Rinne.

    What to read after The 5 Choices?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The 5 Choices, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam
    • The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney
    • The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey with Rebecca R. Merrill
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey
    • The Free-Time Formula by Jeff Sanders
    • The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment by Elizabeth Grace Saunders
    • Live Life in Crescendo by Stephen R. Covey and Cynthia Covey Haller
    • Doing the Right Things Right by Laura Stack
    • The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey
    • 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse