Updated: Jan 11
Can you leverage one hour a day to change your life? Karma Brown, best-selling author of five novels and the new (non-fiction) The 4% Fix thinks so. When dealing with her young child, Brown found she was, like a lot of us, over-scheduled, over-stressed, and strapped for time she could use solely for herself. The answer? Set the clock for 5am and dedicate the first hour of every day to her writing. The result? A debut novel that became a national bestseller, and four more novels after that. The 4% Fix presents time management and goal-setting strategies that have helped Brown and many others find balance while pursuing bold dreams.
This review is based on the audiobook.‡
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK:
I saw a lot of myself in this book: a person pulled many directions professionally and personally, a woman with creative and career aspirations, and a mom willing to set life aside for carpool. While her conversational presentation and personal anecdotes kept things at a relatable level, Karma Brown did her research and provided the right amount of science to support her time management system. It's the perfect balance.
WHO THIS BOOK IS FOR:
I'm going to say this first: This isn't a book only for writers. That said—hey, writer friends, this book is for you! Seriously, though, this is a book for multi-taskers who have bold goals that can't be accomplished in 10-minute increments and who need a nudge to try a new approach to knocking things off the never-ending to-do list.
MY BIG TAKEAWAY:
Achievement takes sacrifice and focus. By opening up an early morning hour for steps toward a single goal and structuring it so there are no interruptions (people, the internet, competing tasks), you are letting in greater creativity, focus, and attention.
MY ACTION STEP:
I'm killing my brain potential when I wake up, because the first thing I do is get on my phone, in bed, and scroll. I thought I was being productive—catch up on what happened overnight (in the news and on social media) while I'm still waking up. Nah. I'm just lazy and don't want to get out of bed. So my action step from this book—the first step I can take to implement what I learned into my own life—is to get out of bed when I wake up and not look at my phone first thing. Instead, I'll reserve my brain power for my first task of the day and capture an extra half hour (sometimes more). **UPDATE: I did this and survived! "Step 2" for me was to turn off the wifi and dedicate the first hour of the day to editing my current manuscript. I'm not up at 5am (again, lazy), but let me tell you, my productivity during that hour is incredible. I may actually finish my book!
NOTES ON THE AUDIO:
This is a conversational book, and the narrator comes across as accessible and friendly, like you're sitting at the table at Starbucks with your smart friend who's telling you about her latest life hiccups and how she used her superpowers to blow past them. I often find personal success* books best in print, but I think The 4% Solution adapts well to audio. This means you get to save your print-reading time for other books (yay!) and be efficient by getting insight on how to capture time while you're exercising, driving, cleaning, or doing whatever it is you do when you listen to audiobooks.
*I have a complicated relationship with the term "self-help book." Of course we should help ourselves. But why should we help ourselves? So we can inch toward success in all areas of our lives, that's why. Henceforth, I shall refer to these sorts of books as personal success books.
‡ Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins for providing the audiobook for review purposes.