I just finished reading How to Get Shit Done by Erin Falconer, and it was a phenomenal book. Erin Falconer is the editor in chief and co-owner of Pick the Brain, a popular and trust self-improvement community on the Internet. Lately, I’ve been really into these types of books. With getting through what I hope is the worst of my depression, I have been trying to really do some self-discovery and improve myself for the better. My sorority’s motto is “Esse quam videri” which means “To be, rather than to seem to be,” and that is what I am aiming for.
Erin bases the book off of her own experiences. She grew up in Canada and went to the best schools there. Her parents expected her to go to law school and be a successful lawyer. Instead, she decided to forgo law school and head to Los Angeles and aim to be a successful writer instead. Eventually, she became super successful and was able to take advantage of the up and coming digital age. But it wasn’t exactly a linear success or without a bunch of bumps in the road, to the point that she felt like giving up. But she kept at it. Honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve had her resolve and determination to stick with. It definitely paid off for Erin.
Even with her success, it took her awhile to figure out how to make the most of her time and make the best decisions for her. That’s really what the book is about; her “POP” system: Personality, Opportunity, and Productivity. It’s about what productivity means to you and takes the concept of women having it all – great career and then going home and being the best wife/mother possible but without drowning yourself in stress. It really distorts, in a sense, the idea of perfectionism. Your POP isn’t going to be the same as someone else’s. It has to be tailored to you in order to be the best that you can possibly be.
It talks about how the only approval you need is your own and that sometimes you have to say no. A lot of these truths we already know – but explaining them out makes them hit home a little bit more. At the end of each chapter, Erin has questions and activities for you to fill out to help you make your POP profile. They really make you take a look inside yourself. It’s not easy or very pretty at times. But it’s this type of reflection that is necessary for growth. Some of the tasks are weekly or even monthly. They really force you to look at how you do things. I do plan on completing them more in depth, but I think I’m going to re-read the book again to reprocess everything and highlight some more applicable points.
What I really liked was how Erin was able to tie her experiences into her POP plan and her other tips. It didn’t seemed forced or out of place; it flowed really well. I think that this a great read for any 20 or 30something woman. We are all at such different stages in our lives, but we have so many of the similar stresses. The biggest one is perfection. We see the lives of others on social media (there’s an entire chapter on how social media and technology and how they impact us). It is so hard not to compare ourselves to others. So, so hard. I’m definitely guilty of this, and it has impacted my self esteem. Society paints such an exact picture of how we’re supposed to be and have everything together all the time. And really, we’re supposed to be doing what is best for us. Some people might say it’s selfish. But I disagree, and part of that comes from the book. You really can’t offer others your best if you aren’t doing what’s best for you. I think that’s important to remember. You have to be at your best to give your best.
This book really made me think a lot. I think reading it again will help drive its message home. And I think giving her system and tips a try wouldn’t hurt. It definitely helped her, and she has several measurements of her success. She has proof that it works. I don’t think it’s fair to think that anyone who reads this book is going to have the same types of success that Erin has had. But that might not be the type of success you want. Any progress is still progress. I really suggest giving this a read. If she writes anymore books, I’ll definitely pick them up and plan on checking her websites out too.