How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything so They Can Achieve Anything

How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything so They Can Achieve Anything

by Erin Falconer


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Erin Falconer, editor in chief and co-owner of the highly respected self-improvement site Pick the Brain (with over 1.8 million monthly page views), shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more.

Women live in a state of constant guilt: that we’re not doing enough, that we’re not good enough, that we can’t keep up. If we’re not climbing the corporate ladder, building our side hustle, preparing home-cooked meals, tucking the kids in at night, meditating daily, and scheduling playdates, date nights, and girls’ nights every week, we feel like we’re not living our best lives. Yet traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list.

Finally, in the first productivity book by a woman in a decade, Erin Falconer will show you how to do less—a lot less. In fact, How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest. As the founder of two technology start-ups and one of Refinery29’s Top 10 Women Changing the Digital Landscape for Good, Erin has seen what happens when women chase an outdated, patriarchal model of productivity, and in How to Get Sh*t Done she shows how even the most perfectionistic among us can tap into our inner free spirit and learn to feel like badasses, rather than drudges.

Packed with real-life advice, honest stories from Erin’s successful career, and dozens of actionable resources, How to Get Sh*t Done will forever reframe productivity so that you can stop doing everything for everyone and start doing what matters to you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501165801
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 01/01/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 56,849
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Erin Falconer is the editor in chief and co-owner of Pick the Brain, one of the most popular and trusted self-improvement communities on the web. Pick the Brain has been named to over 100 “Best of the Web” lists, and Refinery29 named Erin one of the Top 10 Women Changing the Digital Landscape for Good. Erin is also the cofounder of LEAFtv, a video lifestyle brand for millennials. She has had a varied career that includes screenwriter stand-up comedian, political consultant, and is now proudly, heavily invested in the online blogging world. She lives in Los Angeles. How to Get Sh*t Done is her first book.

Read an Excerpt

How to Get Sh*t Done

Freud once asked, “What do women want?”

Good. Fucking. Question.

What interests me most about this is that men seem to pose this question with great frequency, and yet it barely crosses the mind of most women. Or when it does, it comes laden with guilt—I can’t waste my time thinking about this when I could be, should be, getting more done! Women are, in the classic sense of the word, the very definition of productive. I can’t think of a species (other than the leaf-cutter ant) that has gotten more stuff done—let’s start with the creation and the survival of the entire human race, for example—and yet, somehow, somehow, up until very recently, women have been viewed, most jarringly from our own lens, as less-than. We have a constant need to prove our worth, when our worth should be obvious to anyone or anything living within a hundred-mile radius of planet earth.

We’re getting a lot done, right? More and more, every day, with every new app, and every new convenience. Except these modern conveniences (which particularly benefit women—I’ll talk about this later) should probably be used to free up time, so you can, you know, have a life. But instead, women being women, how are they being used? Oh, we’re saving time, all right. Saving time to get more stuff done.

Studies show that on average, women spend one to three hours more each day working than men, when you take into account unpaid work at home. That’s right: you’re putting in a full day at your paid job (although you’re only paid 80 cents on the dollar compared to your male colleague) and then you head home to clock a few more hours looking after kids, getting dinner ready, and doing laundry. And doesn’t it feel like the more we’re getting done, the more unhappy, manic, and stressed we are? Sure, there’s the initial high you get from making it through your daily to-do list. But it’s like a drug—that high is fleeting, and we’re left at the end of the day exhausted, with aching backs from all that leaning in.

It’s preposterous.

So why is this happening? How is it that we’re busier than ever, yet feeling like we’re not getting anywhere? Here’s what I think: many of us don’t know what makes us happy. Or that we deserve a happiness that’s worth investigating. Moreover, we’re not taking the time to analyze what course of action is the right one to bring out the best version of ourselves. Sure, we might have ideas about what we like, what gives us pleasure (“Friday nights with pizza, wine, and my girls” or “Watching my kids explore the world”), but we haven’t spent time zeroing in on what it would take for us to be truly happy and satisfied, what gives us energy vs. takes, and how those findings should dictate our future behavior. Without this sense of fulfillment—and real, intentional purpose—true “productivity” will be always out of reach.

I mean, I get it. In life, we’re judged according to what we’ve done. And women are consistently assessed more harshly. A New York University study showed that women have to do much more than men to be perceived as equally productive in the workplace. So we keep chugging along. “Me? I’m great. I got so much done today!” We want to have spotless homes, healthy-yet-gourmet meals, executive-track promotions, well-behaved children, a robust spiritual life, spotless community service, hot sex, and, on top of all that, some time to relax. But herein lies the conundrum. If we continue to pursue productivity for productivity’s sake, women will continue to position ourselves diametrically opposed to satisfaction.

You may feel like the most productive person alive, but without a purpose, you’re just busy.

I think it’s important to briefly explore this history and just how we got here and our relationship to productivity, success, and happiness. In a 140-character world, said history goes something like this:

Old, like really old, productivity for women meant: have a kid. If you’d done this you could die happily, I guess, at around forty-five, knowing you’d been super productive and accomplished everything anybody had ever expected of you. Done.

Except, after a time, the subconscious questions started percolating: But if we’re just fulfilling a biological imperative, where is our individual worth? And then the questions just kept coming.

Jump-cut to today, when we have now spent many lifetimes trying to prove that we are not just the perpetuators of a biological imperative, but beings who are worth far more than even the sum of our physical strength or mental aptitude. Better. Smarter. Faster. Because women can do it. We’re not just baby-making machines.

And then the internet came. And the other shoe dropped.


Because now the tools of power had shifted and, for the first time in history, in favor of women.

The original tool of power was physical strength. Men 1, women 0. It was followed up by pursuits of the intellectual (something women were long denied participation in). Men 2, women 0. But now, the new tool of power, and the ultimate power (right after sustaining the human race, of course) is information. And man, this might just be the upset victory for the ages. Access to and the ability to share information are growing at near the speed of light. WWW: three letters that would not only change the world but change the game. Having information, tools to communicate, and the ability to share ideas without the traditional, hierarchical structures that previously hindered women meant entire new careers opening up. Since these careers were no longer bound to traditional roles, the playing field was leveled. And we made strides. Major strides. Today I am surrounded by women who are successful, productive, inspirational, and very powerful. And yet still a fog hangs above us.

From my perspective, a lot of us are just out there frantically collecting trophies or, conversely, just trying to make it through the day. Neither is particularly fulfilling. Our world, bookshelves, and Twitter feeds are cluttered with far too much analysis on how to get more stuff done, and far too little analysis on what is necessary to feel successful and fulfilled. I don’t mean that in a bullshitty, self-improvementy sort of way.

And I should know. I spend a great deal of time on my blog, lecturing people on detaching themselves from outcomes—telling them to act creatively, with integrity and with measure, to just be and do. But upon reflection, what am I recommending people do in this book? “Just go around being”? That feels a little New Agey, if I’m being frank with myself. The flip side, however, seems even less palatable: creating a rigid, endless, and impossible checklist of to-dos.

But where’s the happy medium between being and doing?

If you’re reading this book, I’m going to guess that you’re already busy. And you certainly don’t need me to tell you how to fit even more into your day. Which is great, because I’m going to do the exact opposite of that. In fact, I’m going to ask you to toss out most of your preconceived notions of busyness and success in order to help you truly get shit done.

With this book, I have, perhaps, lofty goals. A repositioning of the way we, as women, think about ourselves at work and at home. That’s a big thing. It’s an undoing, or a redoing, of a modern, utterly complex psychological history, wherein women have been defined by and become (a) what others think they should be or (b) a skewed version of what we think we should be, for far too long. We’ve finally come to a place where greatness is within our grasp: we’ve got the strength, we’ve got the tools—we just need to learn how to channel them in the right direction. I’m not talking about changing the rules. I’m talking about understanding them and then doing away with them entirely. I’m talking about releasing ourselves from the shackles of preconceived notions of who we are and what we should be and living in a conscious state, where only the answer to the very fundamental question below matters.

So here we go. What do women want?

And by women . . . I mean you.

How about we start by redefining productivity?

What I know is that the reworking of what feminine productivity should be is fundamentally necessary if a life worth living is to be achieved and sustained.

First things first: How is it possible to attain happiness, fulfillment, and a sense that we’ve been truly productive in our lives if we haven’t even asked the most fundamental question of ourselves?

Who are you? What gives you energy—like, real energy? Who makes you happy? And of course, what do you really want?

These questions are daunting, not only on their surface but in their depth. They are especially difficult for women to answer, because of our long history of repression (both external and internal).

Without a thorough analysis of who we are and what we want, even with the greatest power tool at our disposal we will just burn out. And that’s exactly what I am starting to see around me.

It is from this impending burnout—of which I myself was at the forefront—that I came up with the principles that could make true productivity possible. To be more precise, I came up with three tenets: personality, opportunity, productivity . . . and hence, the POP Effect was born.

By taking the time to analyze who we are and what really defines us—on the three abovementioned fundamental levels—we can finally begin to carve out how to be productive in life in a way that makes it all worth it. This is a system that allows for the kind of meaningful happiness and sense of satisfaction I’m talking about, by letting you really get shit done.

POP takes personality (P)—who you are—and combines it with where you are in life and in the world, as a woman, a.k.a. your opportunity (O), to create your very own definition of productivity (P). In the past, productivity gurus (usually men) have failed to take the first P or the O into consideration while urging us on to do more, more, more. But by using POP, you’re going to redefine what being productive means to you. Your notion of productivity may not end up looking like anyone else’s. And that’s the point. Rather than following conventional notions of productivity that merely cram more into your day, what we will be doing is simplifying or removing many tangible and concrete, seemingly important (but ultimately clogging) things from your life in order to make room for the far more important, intangible, esoteric, and most powerful things to come in—adding a feeling of clarity and levity and a true sense of accomplishment and purpose to your world.

Here are just a few of the items we’ll be shrugging off (and man, is it going to feel good):

 Traditional definitions of productivity. It’s a rigged system that was never going to work for you.

 Your current beliefs regarding what a productive day looks like. That packed Google calendar is not your friend.

 Impressing others in order to feel worthwhile. See “rigged system” above.

 Doing what other people expect of you. You know what they say about putting your own oxygen mask on first? That.

Each step of the POP System, and the philosophies that support it, will be examined and explained in depth throughout the book. But for now, a quick explanation of the concepts.
(P for Personality)
If we’re setting out to create a sense of productivity that’s tailor-made for you, we’d better start by knowing who you are. More than mere navel-gazing, deep self-knowledge is essential before creating an action plan. Skipping this step, as so many of us do, can leave us with a life that’s full but that doesn’t feel like our own.

I’m going to give you exercises in order to bring you and your dreams and desires into sharp focus. And it’s all going to be based on a practice that may be new to you: self-reflection. In part, this new habit that we’ll be putting into effect is simple observation. But you’ll soon see the ways that it may shift some of your behaviors, particularly the ones that do you no favors.

To understand how this process looks, I spoke with Dr. Anita Chakrabarti. She’s a psychiatrist with an interest in self-development. She also happens to be my stepmother, someone I’m very close to and to whom I turn to for rigorous intellectual engagement. Helping people to know themselves is Anita’s life work, so of course she was one of my first stops on this journey.

Anita described the backbone of the trek toward self-knowledge as anything but a straight line.

1 We’re wild. We may spend our lives civilizing ourselves, but there’s something primal at our core. “The first thing we have to do is realize we have drives and instincts. You have to kind of accept that. Or at least consider it and give it some legitimate consideration. Because if you’re doing things that are unconscious, then it’s hard to make decisions. And it’s really hard to make good decisions.”

2 Take note. “The next step is trying to think and reflect about what you’re doing. To me, that is the most important part of this whole process,” says Anita. Your job isn’t to judge but to just observe your thoughts and feelings. “In dynamic practice, we call this listening with the third ear. It’s the part of your mind that is able to step back and kind of objectively and neutrally say, ‘What is it that I’m doing? What am I thinking? What am I feeling?’ ” There may be times in your life when you do this more actively, and go see a therapist, or there may be times when it’s less pressing. But it’s not a onetime exercise; rather, it’s something you want to practice throughout your life.

3 Think about it. Once you’ve started making observations about yourself, you’ll want to do something with that information. You can look for patterns in your life and also patterns in the world, in the shape of family or cultural expectations. “You can keep layering on the levels of sophistication,” says Anita. For instance, if letting anyone down gives you an uncomfortable sting of guilt, you may feel paralyzed or drawn to old habits of obligation and resentment. “But there’s another process where you say, ‘Yes, I’ve got guilt. I’ve actually seen that in a whole bunch of places. Wow, that’s really interesting. I’m going to keep an eye out for it because I might see it somewhere else.’ ” If you are able to isolate patterns in your emotions and behaviors, you can begin to ask yourself where those patterns were born.

4 Be complicated. Part of this process is realizing our own complexity. “We’re going to ask ourselves some hard questions, so we’ve become more self-aware and now we’re aware that we’re pretty confused.” And it’s okay!

5 Values. As much as you want to become an expert on your inner emotional workings, you want to also keep developing a knowledge of your values. Which is another way of articulating what you care about. The ability to maintain an alignment between you, your values, and your efforts is the secret sauce of productivity. “If you want to run a marathon, you can say, ‘It’s going to be painful and uncomfortable and it’s going to take some time but I made a choice and I want to do it.’ As long as you made a choice and you value it, there’s nothing wrong with that. But when your values and your behavior aren’t in alignment, it’s like finding yourself in the middle of a marathon and saying, ‘I don’t even like running and I don’t know how I got here.’ ”
(O for Opportunity)
Opportunity. But not opportunity in the general sense of the word. I’m talking about the reality of women’s past, but I also want you to feel the optimism that this word suggests for our and your future. Another way to look at it: personality is who you really are, and opportunity is your specific place in the world as a woman.

In a minute, we’ll talk about where you are now. And when I say you, I mean you, dear particular reader, but I also mean you, woman in this culture. In order for women to get what they want out of life, they must understand societal barriers that are in their way and where those come from. In other words, I want to touch on the important roadblocks you/we have faced in the past and the present and the opportunities you/we are poised to capitalize on in the present and beyond. And before you even start with, “I’m not a feminist, I’m for equality for everyone . . .” allow me to stop you. Seriously, stop it.

 Women, like people of color, LGBTQ people, and the handicapped, have had fewer opportunities to thrive in our culture than men. It’s only due to a consistent effort on the part of feminists (both women and men) that our culture has moved in the direction of equality.

 After a seventy-year battle for women’s suffrage, the Nineteenth Amendment was only ratified in 1920, giving American women the right to vote.

 And while we’ve come a long way, baby, remember those tidbits from the beginning of this chapter? American women currently earn just 80 percent of what their male counterparts make. As we move along in our careers, the pay gap only widens rather than narrows.

 Besides getting paid 20 percent less than men for their efforts, women have to work harder for recognition at work and then head home to put in a few more hours of unpaid work there.

 Historically (and when I say historically, I’m not talking about that long ago), a woman’s worth was tied inextricably to her role as mother and wife. Her whole purpose was to care for her family. Any deviation from this meant you weren’t a woman at all. Access to birth control was a game-changing development. Being able to choose when and when not to have children put a powerful tool in women’s hands, which is why it was such a hard-won step. It was 1965 before the Supreme Court struck down the last remaining state law that prohibited married couples from accessing birth control. It would be 1972 before those same rights were afforded to single people. These changes in law, and the change to hearts and minds that often follows the law, have been essential for women to move away from the biology-as-destiny role of woman as mother. The power to choose if and when to have children has allowed women the chance to consider other ways to be women in the world.

 If you remain not quite convinced of the historical importance of feminism and how much we still need it, just take another look at Twitter. Watch what happens to outspoken feminists like Lindy West or Jamilah Lemieux when they tweet about women’s rights. The misogyny they face in reaction to their feminism is at best “Girl, relax” and at worst threats of rape and murder.

This list isn’t meant to depress you but to remind you that when you face challenges in life, they’re frequently supported by historical and political realities that it does no good to ignore. We can’t win the game without knowing the rules, and that’s a big part of O.

One of the best ways to be able to move forward is to understand what is holding you back. You could be swimming, no holds barred, in optimal health, but if it’s against the current, you’re just setting yourself up for failure . . . and exhaustion. This self-study and your subsequent findings are crucial to understanding your particular opportunity.

So let’s tear it up. What are the realities—good, bad, and ugly—that have an impact on your life? How do we take our knowledge of our own history, our sense of our place in the world now, and turn it into something useful? As much as I wish anything was possible, I’m more interested in getting real about what’s possible and desirable for you. The whole point of this book is to streamline your efforts so you can move forward rather than just run yourself ragged.

Of course there are many factors in a person’s life that they can’t control. Do you dream of rising to the top of your company but the boss’s daughter has her eye on the same corner office? Yeah, then not so much for you. If you’re a single mom, quitting your job and going back to school full-time to become a lawyer may not be a possibility. Most of us have to make rent or pay a mortgage, and we have family obligations, like kids to care for or parents to help. So there’s no point beating yourself up about not being able to muscle your way through those challenges. When you feel yourself coming up against what feels like a roadblock, take a minute to take a closer look. Are you in a situation where there is no way for you to win? Are you forcing yourself to try to accomplish something that you don’t really want to? Maybe it’s a goal your parents had for you? Maybe it’s a job that sounds good on paper but doesn’t truly excite you. Sometimes a roadblock is a bitter pill to swallow but sometimes it’s an unexpected gift. Realizing you don’t really want the thing you thought you wanted means you can free up all that energy to pursue your real goals.

Detours are different from roadblocks in that there is a way around them. A lack of self-confidence can feel every bit as limiting as the absence of a college degree, but you can work on it (and can make progress in much less time than it takes to get through a bachelor’s degree). It’s hard to change jobs when you’re comfortable somewhere, even if that somewhere doesn’t recognize your awesomeness.

But for all of those roadblocks, you’re likely to see some open roads, too. Your free time really does belong to you. If working out is something you know you need to feel good and de-stress, then it should be on your schedule and that episode on Netflix should come off. Not putting your hand up for every added task at work doesn’t mean you’re not a team player: it means you’re protecting yourself from burnout.
(P for Productivity)
What is productivity anyway? Making the most money you can? Getting the longest list ticked off? The Oxford English Dictionary says productivity is “the state or quality of being productive.” But it quickly follows up with “the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.” At first glance it’s a definition that seems to favor the pursuit of more, more, more. And our culture certainly places an emphasis on the grind. But on closer examination—“in terms of the rate of output per unit of input”—it’s a reminder that being productive only really sings when the effort you’re pouring into your goals pays dividends. It’s output as compared to units of input.

There’s evidence that killing yourself to crush a longer and more scheduled day is not only not going to get you points on the job, it may actually reduce your ability to produce meaningful work. Much research has been done in the field of brain science that looks at what is actually happening in our brains when we’re actively engaged in focused activity compared to what happens when we’re at rest but awake. We all know (but do not always prioritize) that getting enough sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. Our brains, in particular, require sleep in order to function. It’s not only unconsciousness that allows us to operate at high levels, but also waking rest. Throughout the day, we naturally move from stages of being actively engaged with tasks to periods of rest. The latter periods don’t have to mean flaking out on the couch—they can mean just looking out a window, daydreaming, allowing your thoughts to drift, or going for a walk without headphones on. All of these resting activities allow the brain to move into what neuroscientists call “default mode network.” In this crucial stage, the brain does not take a break, but synthesizes data, almost plays with information, and solves problems. Brain mapping has shown that synapses fire more fluidly when we take a break from work. All of this may explain that “out of the blue” feeling when an idea comes to you in the shower. It may feel like it came out of nowhere, but really your brain was able to go into default mode while you were singing in the shower and find a solution to a problem you weren’t able to master while giving it all your attention.

Now, I’m not suggesting you give up concentrated work, but I am saying you cannot get more out of more effort. At least, mostly not. A long-term study done at Florida State University found that most people can only give their full concentration to a task for one hour, and that even the truly gifted—elite athletes, musicians, writers—only work productively for four hours each day. Without downtime and enough sleep, individuals experience incapacitating burnout. These facts apply to both men and women, but when you look at how much less women benefit from doing too much, this science is only more compelling.

What are some other ways to look at productivity, then? If we know that looking for praise and recognition from outside sources or chasing goals we don’t actually value can be part of a slippery slope to burnout, where else can we turn? How about a chance to decide for ourselves? I’ll be asking you to come back to what you’ll learn after investigating P for personality. Then you’ll take into consideration the particular challenges you face as a person and as a woman that you’ll be diving into after reading about O for opportunity.

Over the course of this book, you’ll move toward your own definition of being productive, not just frantically busy. If you’re not looking for your mother’s pride in your job or your performance review at work to dictate to you your self-esteem, what other clues will you have? Is it a sense of excitement regarding your work? Is it pride in your efforts? What if we decided to narrow our focus down to just the things that made us happy and gave our lives a sense of purpose? One of the hardest steps for many women is to start taking away time and energy from consuming tasks from their lives. Habits are hard to break, particularly if they’re habits that make other people happy.

In each chapter that follows, we’ll be diving more deeply into the concepts outlined above. We’ll walk through the steps necessary to get clear on you and your goals, we’ll take away some of the useless crap that’s in your way, then we’ll supercharge your authentic productivity in ways that will energize you rather than deplete you.

Are you ready? Let’s get this shit done.

As you move through this book, I’ll be asking you to pause at the end of most chapters and do some work. You’ll be defining your goals, looking at what needs to be cleared away in order to reach those goals, and shaping your time so that your schedule supports you rather than breaks you. Whenever you see Here’s the Drill, it’s time to think about how that chapter speaks to you and works in your life. You may be tempted to skip the exercises and come back and do them after reading the whole book. I urge you to go through the book in order, as each chapter and lesson builds on the last. Many exercises will be quite short, maybe three or four questions for you to make some notes on. Because chapter 1 is where we’re establishing who you are in this process, this chapter is the exception. You can either write your answers in this book or, if you’d rather have space to stretch out, you can work in your own notebook or journal.

Now shit’s going to get real. Since P stands for personality, we’re going to look at who you really are, to create your POP Personality Profile. This isn’t supposed to be pretty. We’re not talking about your Twitter profile shot—you know, that one of you on your last vacation looking tanned and relaxed, with three filters, obviously. We want warts-and-all honesty about who you are and what you want. Getting real about what drives you is essential to getting what you want out of life. As we’ve discussed, it’s particularly easy for women to be derailed by the needs and desires of those around us, such as family members, mates, and bosses, so it takes conscious effort to zero in on our own desires. Take your time, let your thoughts flow, and write down your answers without judging yourself.

 If money were no object, how would you spend your time? In point form, describe an ideal day.

 What makes you feel proud?

 What makes you want to go back to bed?

 What makes you feel jealous?

 What motivates you? (Money? Recognition?)

 What makes you want to quit?

 Do you crave solitude or company at the end of the day?

 What makes you feel envious?

 What makes you feel awesome?

 How did your family life shape you?

 If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?

 When do you feel healthiest?

 How often do you compare yourself to others?

 When do you feel most creative?

 Whom do you have to please?

 What drains you?

 Would you rather lead or follow?

 What is your best trait?

 What is your worst trait?

 Do you crave routine or novelty?

 What makes you happy?

 What makes you unhappy?

Yes, it’s a long list! Take your time, make crazy notes, set it aside and come back to it later. Let the questions percolate. Whatever you do, don’t be polite with your answers. No one else has to see these notes, so bust out the most honest answers you’ve got. Once you’ve really laid it all out there, go back and read your answers. Write a couple of sentences about yourself that sum up where you are now.

For instance:

I am a person who craves both creativity and structure. I can be envious of the success of others but also thrive in a collaborative environment. I’d like to have my own business, but the thought of other people relying on me makes me want to barf.


I am a person who needs lots of time alone, yet I’m very connected to my friends. I feel proud that people come to me with their problems, and my best trait is that I’m calm under pressure. I’m happiest when I’m in the flow of work and can feel anxious if I can’t control my schedule.


I am a person who needs a lot of positive feedback. Knowing other people like me and my work drives me. I’m happy when people around me are happy. I don’t want to try new things if I think I won’t succeed.

You’re going to keep these sentences—these beliefs in who you are and what you want—in mind as we move along. We’ll come back to them as we move through the POP Effect.

 What do the roadblocks, detours, and open roads look like in your life. Make some notes about where things lie for you in this moment.

For example, do you have a student loan that has to be dealt with? A family member you’re responsible for? How much time can you truly call your own to direct as you wish? What’s standing in your way? What is in your control and what isn’t? Do you have any special advantages, like maybe an inheritance, a job that allows you a lot of flexibility, a well-connected mentor? There’s no judgment attached to any of these details—we’re just getting the lay of the land.

 Write a description of your ideal day.

Start from the moment you wake (do you need an alarm?) to when you go to sleep (in 3,000-thread-count sheets!). Do you work, see friends, get outside? Imagine a day with no obligations other than following your interests.

 Now look into your own, actual calendar and pick a typical day from the past couple of weeks. Describe that actual day.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Who Am I? 1

Part 1 Being: The Power of POP

Chapter 1 Defining POP (Personality, Opportunity, Productivity) 11

Chapter 2 The Only Approval You Need Is Your Own 35

Chapter 3 You and Your Smart Mouth 61

Chapter 4 How the Internet Changed the Game for Women 83

Part 2 Doing: How to POP Your Productivity

Chapter 5 Why You Should Stop Doing Everything and Start Focusing on Just Three Areas (Seriously) 103

Chapter 6 The Importance of Outsourcing 123

Chapter 7 How to Use Your Time Much Better Than You Are Right Now 147

Chapter 8 Assemble Your POP Posse: Mentors, Allies, and More 171

Chapter 9 How to Create Your Own Personalized POP Plan 199

Chapter 10 Avoiding Burnout 213

Epilogue: Now What? 233

Acknowledgments 243

References 245

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