Willem Van Zyl – Coach

Willem is a productivity coach at Coach.me, blogs at willemvzyl.net, and runs Code Like a Clockwork  – a software agency specializing in custom business and education platform development.

Good things to read

The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufmann. I do a lot of work with entrepreneurs and startups, and many of them ask me whether they should enroll in an MBA programme. As Josh says in the book (I’m paraphrasing here), if you have the time and drive to complete an MBA, you could just as well avoid a lot of student debt and use that same time & drive to use the knowledge resources easily available to you, start a business, and make a profit (while your business school buddies are still paying off student debt).
Getting Things Done by David Allen. As a productivity coach, “GTD” is a term recognized even by my clients who’ve spent only a little time learning about productivity systems. The collection, processing, and planning methodologies described by Dr Allen are the cornerstones of delivering productive work, and he just recently released an updated version of his classic book.
Letters From A Stoic by Seneca. Stoicism is a philosophy based on taking action instead of having endless discussions and debates, modern-day proponents of which include Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, and Donald Robertson. The letters of Seneca, an ancient Roman, to his friend Lucillus are a personable and to-the-point introduction to the concepts behind this philosophy.

Good things to watch

Merlin Mann – Inbox Zero. If your job involves email, your inbox is probably overloaded. In this video by Google, Merlin Mann explains a simple methodology for dealing with email and ensuring that you go home with an empty inbox every day.
Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work – Jason Fried. Jason is the founder of 37signals (now “Basecamp”), the company behind the popular Basecamp project management software, and co-wrote several business books including ReWork and Remote. In this video he explains why, ironically, most people do their best work at places other than the office.
Brain Games. This TV show discusses how our brains play tricks with our perception, memory, and abilities on a day to day (and even minute-to-minute) basis in order to create the illusion of what we see and experience in the world.

Good things to use

Todoist. I’ve tried many, many task / project management apps over the years, and so far Todoist is my favourite. It works on all devices, supports sharing amongst teams, has custom filtering to help with your daily and weekly reviews, and has a built-in “Karma Game” to show you how your level of productivity changes over time.
Evernote. I’ve been using the Evernote app and Evernote Moleskine Notebooks for years to keep track of my notes, book highlights, articles I’ve enjoyed, projects I’m working on, meetings I’ve had, and pretty much everything else related to my businesses.
Coach.me. Not only do I think that Coach.me is the best platform for habit building, but I’m also a Productivity Coach on there. Most of Coach.me’s features are completely free – you select the habits you’d like to build, get daily reminders to “check in” on them, and can ask questions to other people trying to build the same habits. However, if you’d like to push your habit-building to the next level you can subscribe to multi-day courses (called “plans”) ranging in cost from free to a couple of dollars for indefinite access, or you can hire a coach specializing in one of your habits for $14 a week, then interact with the coach over text chat within the app.
Connect with Willem on Twitter, @WillemZyl.
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