How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything so They Can Achieve Anything Hardcover by Erin Falconer (Jan 2, 2018)
A detailed review by a leading website (Forbes.com)
I spoke to Erin Falconer, author of How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything so They Can Achieve Anything, about why she decided to write the book, how men can benefit from reading the book even though it’s for women, how women can focus on doing what they want in life, how women can effectively negotiate their salaries, and her best career advice.
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.
Dan Schawbel: Why did you decide to write a book for women on getting their lives in order?
Erin Falconer: I had gone through numerous personal and family crises. Many of these I recognized as normal developmental stuff, some external, some internal; but others were traumatic events that really shook up my assumptions about my life, and life in general and the purpose and meaning of my life.
I learned a great deal from all this and I’m quite committed to the idea that that is what experience is for: to learn from it. I made a treaty with myself to read, to talk to those in the know and then pass on just how I got and stay centered; and as a proud woman that is the only perspective I felt qualified to talk about.
Furthermore, at the same time, I noticed this sort-of phenomenon going on around me: my piers – successful, intelligent, courageous women – all seemed to be in great danger of burning out, at a time when women have their greatest competitive advantage. I felt like the lessons I learned along my own journey could help change the course, and allow us to seize this great opportunity.
In a few words: I had learned a lot and was keen to help others.
Schawbel: How can men, or their husbands/boyfriends benefit from reading the book?
Falconer: This is first and foremost a book for and about women. But lets face it, men and women need each other, they need to connect; so I can’t think of a better way for men to connect with women than to understand more about their life experiences, what they go through, how they come unmoored and how they can develop new assumption sets to stay their course most effectively and creatively.
And while the first part of the book is very female-centric – the second half of the book – the more practical ideas about how, exactly, to get shit done, these are for the most part, completely gender neutral. The exercises on understanding how you’re spending your time, who you are spending your time with, how to analyze what is really important to you and how to go out and get it, will prove just as valuable for the men reading as the women.
Schawbel: How can women start doing less and start focusing on the most important things in their lives?
Falconer: This is a key theme of the book. I’ll try to simplify. First we take one hundred percent responsibility for our lives and that means for our thoughts, feelings and behavior. We make this our primary focus: we Choose it! We accept that this is the only thing we have no choice about if we want one hundred percent freedom. Every drop of responsibility we give away we lose at a minimum an equal measure of freedom.
Once we have the necessary freedom we live our life according to a clear but flexible hierarchical code of values. I’ll give just one example: If you’re married with a family the values would look like this: 1) I commit first to my own perfect health 2) next I commit to the health of my marriage and 3) I commit to the health of my children and family. IN THIS ORDER.
So finally, in the practical, once you’ve realized and taken responsibility for who you are and you’ve created a set of values around that, anything that doesn’t bring value to these two things is off the list. Anything that supports these two things needs focus and attention around it. You’ll find that most of what you’re doing right now doesn’t speak to your core values or where you want to go. The solution? Get rid of them. You’ll free up a lot more time, and have a lot more energy for the stuff that moves you.
Schawbel: In the workplace, research shows that women are less likely to negotiate their salary than men. What do you recommend to them?
Falconer: Negotiating your salary is really a statement of self esteem and self worth. Once you’re on the course I outlined in the previous question (and in the book) you’re no longer negotiating with anyone. You’re clear what you’re worth and value is and you won’t accept anything less. Now, more than ever, there is a movement to correct these imbalances. It is up to you to understand your worth and to hold steadfast by it, even if that means you’ll have to look for another job that does recognize your worth. Accepting less than you deserve, is after all, a huge part of the problem.
Schawbel: What can women learn from men, and vice verse, about productivity at work?
Falconer: Women need to do a lot more to admire and respect the incredible things men have and are accomplishing; learn from them. Learn from every experience in your life, work with passion, learn from anyone who has something valuable to teach. That is generally everyone you meet; if you have ears to listen and eyes to see. But don’t be naive, have an equal measure of basic trust and distrust. many people don’t have your interests at heart. You must be prepared to learn and walk away depending on the situation.
Finally, for both men and women it’s important to take inspiration from like-minded people that have a strong set of core values and are on a dedicated path – these people (totally irrelevant of gender) have a clear vision, work hard and have an incredible live/work balance.
Schawbel: What are your top three pieces of career advice?
Falconer: Because we’re talking about career here:
One hundred percent responsibility.
Connection with those who share your project interest.
Love, kindness, gratitude, generosity and humility.
And remember, just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re actually getting a lot (of what matters) done.
If you asked me the same question about one’s personal life, my answer would be the same.
Dan Schawbel is a keynote speaker and the New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0. Subscribe to his free newsletter.