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The 5 Choices: Achieving Extraordinary Productivity Without Getting Buried Alive

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  908 ratings  ·  96 reviews
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. 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 job ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 30th 2014 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Emma Sea
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
I recommend this book if you have never heard the story about the rocks, the sand, and the cup of coffee, and you are unfamiliar with the four quadrant approach to task management. Otherwise, there is nothing new here. I found this surprising, as it's a 2014 book. ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: self-help
Steven Covey's 7 habits... is the basis for this book.
The 5 Choices are:
1. Act on the Important, Don't React to the Urgent
2. Go for Extraordinary, Don't Settle for Ordinary
3. Schedule the Big Rocks, Don't Sort Gravel
4. Rule Your Technology, Don't Let It Rule You
5. Fuel Your Fire, Don't Burn Out

Good about this book is that after reading it, it motivates folks to make changes starting with small changes. However, a lot of places the feel one gets from the book is such that one thinks whether the
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a facilitator for The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity. Although this "brief monograph" is a great companion to the workshop, it certainly stands on its own merits. Quick read, but packed with brain science and wisdom. ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: nerds, flailers
I love these "how to make a to do list" books, so that's my bias.

This one is a blend of classic Franklin Covey (there's a refined version of the 4 Quadrants) and David Allen's GTD workflow, also presented with "Zen/Eastern wisdom" metaphors. There is still the "fit the big rocks in the jar" analogy but this one focuses on processing the endless streams of less important gravel that clog up our lives. I mostly liked it because it argues for the value of putting everything on your calendar, and de
Briana Kelly
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
2020 Review:
Likes: Practical, memorable steps to implement and introduce into everyday life to increase productivity. Broken into 5 simple steps.
Dislikes: No major call outs
Recommend For: Anyone overwhelmed or feeling burnt out who needs steps to get back on track


2019 Review:
I would highly recommend this book. There is very little waffle and it is straight to the point on how to increase your productivity in everyday life. This was based o
Andrea Falkner
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Also went to the class. The class is motivating and helps you organize your career and home life. Very positive!
Elizabeth Chadsey
I definitely get into business books easier when they've got a personal, memoir-style tone. This one is more instructive. That being said, the 5 Choices are valuable ones; for ME, I'd need to re-read and highlight, as if I'm studying for a test in order to really absorb the information. That same absorption happens naturally when I'm really interested in the ~story~ in a book of this same genre. ...more
Kiona Meade
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really liked this book. Great tips on how to improve productivity. They are covered elsewhere in the world, yes, but I think this book was pretty simple and straightforward--it didn't complicate things. ...more
Jim Razinha
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm not a fan of Stephen Covey's stuff, and this is FranklinCovey redux (it should have been titled "The 5 Habit Choices of Highly Successful Extraordinarily Productive People"), but it was recommended and I read it. Fortunately, there is little substance because nothing of this is new and it's a quick read. Most of these books are three page tracts blown up with fluff. This is a single page flyer. Let me save you some time:
- Don't get sidetracked from what's important (Act on the Important, Do
Jenna Van Volkenburgh
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book did a great job of explaining time management, balancing your time to get the most out of it. It redefined extraordinary productivity, which redefines what our time is worth. I felt that it was harder to apply to personal or student time management, but then again it was classified as a business and economics book, so no hate. It was well written and easy to read. I highly suggest reading "The 7 Habits" first. ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
Asked to read this for work. It can be summed up as follows: manage your time wisely. Skip this schlock.
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-on-blinkist
Read on Blinkist:

Nothing I haven’t seen elsewhere, but like the focus on quadrants. Probably not a system that can work for every job, but a good place to start when looking to claw back your time to be more productive.


“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 la
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
What an amazing book!

One of the key concepts is the Master Task List (MTL) which I had created in Google Sheets last December prior to reading the book. I designed my MTL with a Priority column (integers from 1-20) so I can order the list appropriately. I've since added a tab for my roles and goals. I've also added drop down lists for the Roles and Priority columns, and filters to avoid typing, cutting and pasting, and so I can easily sort my list. The MTL serves not just as a things to do list
Debjani Chakraborty
🤔Do you work being productive or you remain busy?⁣

💁This is a tricky question and a needed one. With the internet being so big almost everyone has come across the word productivity, especially now in lockdown.⁣

💁Productive is when you are gaining something by indulging yourself in some tasks. It can be both monetary or non-monetary.⁣

💁But how often do we confuse productivity with busy? When was the last time we felt extraordinary?⁣

💁This book brilliantly tells you the difference without defining
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, career
The book is roughly divided into 3 parts - Decision Management, Attention Management, and Energy management. I didn't find the last two particularly interesting or innovative (about the use of to do lists, how to handle emails and organise yourself for Attention Management, and the usual exercise/eat/sleep well and maintain strong relationships for the last one). Decision management on the other hand I found more interesting although the ideas are probably not that innovative either :-) I liked ...more
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read a lot of productivity and time management books and frequently they tend to be heavy on rhetoric and light on tangible, actionable processes. This book was not that way. It was well-written and easy to read with a great flow, but it wasn’t a book you finish and think “well that’s all well and good, but I still don’t know HOW to do that.” The authors outlined not just a philosophy, but the steps to take to achieve what is being touted. I personally am not a fan of the Franklin Covey pla ...more
Kyle Farris
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bought
Highly, highly recommend! I plowed through this within a couple of days. I was absolutely delighted by the amount of research done to make this as good as it is. There are few books that do such a fantastic job succinctly combining all of the most important lessons in optimizing personal performance. Great read!

5-Star: Everyone should read this.
4-Star: Everyone in this specific field should read this.
3-Star: This was a decent read for the specific field, but there are better options.
2-Star: It g
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book makes a great companion to the 5 Choices Planner. Which I preferred to the FC planner for this one is considerably cheaper yet of a good quality print, comes in one piece with wire binding and offers great monthly pages and plenty of space for note taking.

The five concepts of choice when implemented, and this is where the book doesn’t offer much of practical advice, will support you in achieving sustainable productivity with the choice of the extraordinary.

When it comes to progress rev
Denton Peter McCabe
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would give this three stars for myself, a lot of this information is obvious and redundant, however. . if you really feel you need help with time management, this is a helpful book. Pick it up and put this information into practice!!I would recommend this for managers, business consultants, and employees who wish to gain a little edge over their peers. It's worthwhile and a rather quick read.

Now that I have this Q4 activity out of the way. . .on to Q2 shit.
Spela Trefalt
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book for prioritizing what is truly important. I’ve been living by David Allen’s GTD system (or trying) for the past several years. In my teens, I was a big Stephen Covey fan. This is to say, nothing here was completely new to me. Still, it was good to be reminded, to renew commitment to keep asking myself what matters most to me and how to act accordingly.
Nothing really new or earth shattering to me but more so a compilation of things I have heard before. Everything came together nicely with the five choices interconnecting with each other in many different ways. Definitely have taken away some practical tips which have already increased my time management and productivity at work.
Shivanand Velmurugan
A few good lessons. The book is an easy read. Useful tips and language to get your team to focus on "q2" activities, i.e things that drive valuable outcome.

Perhaps the problem has been the success of these ideas and how it has become overused in corporate environments.

Despite this, it is worth a quick read.
The 7 habits is one of my fav book of all times!! Some folks might find these books dull. But it’s SO relevant to my life now and I can truly see why some folks are highly effective and productive at what they do and why some are not.
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
I've already heard most of this stuff before, but there were still a few really good tidbits in here. This is the book that said that, if you're writing down things that you've already done just so you can check them off, you're trying to give yourself dopamine hits. (p. 39)

The basic premise is that most people spend at least 40% of their time doing stuff that doesn't matter. If you can reclaim even a little bit of that time, you can be amazingly more productive. Ideally, if you minimize the tim
Mihai Zoican
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Much more palatable and applicable to my life than the originak 7 Habits book. Good stuff.
Josh Burgess
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audible, non-fiction
Nothing mind-blowing here.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even at basic level, this is a highly recommended book. I liked more the chapter about Energy, this is a must to recover energy with tired teams.
Allan Laal
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
basically an updated version of Getting Things Done
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amanda by: Nathan Hansen
Shelves: nonfiction
I read an abridged booklet edition of The 5 Choices.
Tengisbold Khurelbaatar
Great advice, but it gets repetitive. Gary keller's One thing is better choice in my opinion
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