O Mantra da Produtividade - Dionatan Moura

O Mantra da Produtividade - Dionatan Moura

Learn techniques to build productive habits, optimize time and manage energy, creating a high-performance routine.

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Do you have the feeling that time is passing too quickly? And because of that, you can't complete all the tasks, at work or at home, in a timely manner?

The digital revolution in the 21st century allows us to receive an immense volume of information daily, which can be very useful, but also very difficult to assimilate. It also gives the feeling that everything is very rushed.

In this scenario, the importance of productivity and the ability to do more things, in less time and with more quality, is evident. To help with this, author Dionatan Moura presents several techniques of concentration, focus and organization.

In this summary, we will show the main tips and understand how they can be applied according to each need. Read to the end to find out more!

About the book “O Mantra da Produtividade”

Launched in 2016, the book has prefaces written by Daniel Wildt and Guilherme Lacerda, co-authors of the book “eXtreme Programming: Day-to-day Practices in Agile Software Development”. In English, its title is translated as “The Productivity Mantra”.

Throughout its 203 pages, the book presents techniques for managing time, tasks, energy and habits. All of this through light writing and getting straight to the point.

The book was published by Casa do Código, which specializes in the production of books on technology, programming and management.

About the author Dionatan Moura

Master in Computer Science from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Dionatan worked in companies as a software developer and agile coach, helping teams in the use of agile methodologies.

He has certifications in IT, technology management and project management. He also co-authored the book “eXtreme Programming: Day-to-Day Practices in Agile Software Development”, published in 2015.

To whom is this book indicated?

The techniques exposed in the book are ideal for people who feel overwhelmed and cannot cope with everything they need to do.

In an increasingly fast-paced world, highly productive professionals are essential. The content of the work can help people who want to become this type of professional.

Main ideas of the book “O Mantra da Produtividade”

  • The Productivity Mantra is about managing your time, tasks, energy and habits;
  • Productivity is not an innate characteristic, but a path to be pursued and developed over time;
  • Distractions, interference, lack of organization, tiredness, lack of motivation, multitasking and lack of goals hinder productivity;
  • Effectiveness refers to “doing the right things”, while efficiency refers to “doing things the right way”;
  • The key to productivity is channeling capacity and energy into a single activity
  • The best way to be productive is to seek your own type of productivity, suited to your needs.

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What is productivity?

Initially, the author defines the concept of productivity. In general, it is something that allows the accomplishment of the right tasks, in an exact and productive way, being effective and efficient.

However, several factors can influence and hinder performance. Moura lists the principal elements. For instance, he explains that any kind of distraction can serve as an excuse for procrastination.

One of the biggest distractions is the internet.

He mentions that, on average, the Brazilian internet user spends 2023 minutes (almost 34 hours) per week connected, with only 24% of this time dedicated to study and learning.

Disorganization can also hinder productivity, as it does not allow the visualization of what is most important and what should be done, causing energy to be spent in an unproductive way.

Next, the writer emphasizes the importance of defining a purpose, as it facilitates the creation and execution of goals. It also builds motivation, which inspires people to be more productive.

Finally, he explains that performing multiple tasks at the same time impairs productivity in tasks that demand logical thinking, as we cannot focus on more than one thing at the same exact moment.

In addition, multitasking does not optimize time either, as there is a “setup time” between one action and another, which consists of interrupting and preparing to work on a different task.

As an example, the author proposes a small test:

  • Step 1: Within 30 seconds, write the sequence of letters between C and J. If you get to J, repeat the sequence continuously until time runs out.
  • Step 2: Repeat step 1 for the digit sequences 5 to 13 and Roman numerals VIII to XV.
  • Step 3: In 1 minute and 30 seconds, write one item at a time from each sequence, repeating continuously. Example: C, 5, VIII; D, 6, IX; E, 7, X and so on.
  • Step 4: Compare the amount of items written in steps 2 and 3. Which strategy was best for productivity?

Thinking about all these factors, Dionatan Moura developed the Productivity Mantra, which is a framework with techniques and methods for managing time, tasks, energy and habits.

He points out that the model is constantly evolving and is widely flexible, made to suit the peculiarities of each individual, as each person can use the techniques that work best for their reality.

Time management

Time is the same for all of us: 24 hours a day. So how can so many people complain about lack of time? According to the author, what's missing is management, optimization and prioritization.

As a time management technique, Dionatan cites the Pomodoro method, which consists of dividing time into highly focused 25-minute periods (pomodoros), with short five-minute breaks after each. Every four Pomodoros, a longer break of up to 30 minutes is taken.

To apply the technique, the author gives some tips:

  • Before starting, try to eliminate anything that could interfere with your focus: activate the “do not disturb” mode on your cell phone, close email and conversation applications on your computer, etc.);
  • Set an alarm to time the pomodoro;
  • If you remember something that you need to do that is not related to your current Pomodoro, write it down quickly and continue with the task;
  • Take advantage of breaks to eat, get water, stretch and take a walk;
  • To get started, choose an easy task and do just one pomodoro. This will generate the feeling of accomplishment and increase your motivation;
  • Document each pomodoro and the task that was performed.

Task management

In the next step towards productivity, the author explains that task management is important to define what to do during productive time achieved through correct time management.

For this, he teaches the creation of a list of prioritized tasks called a backlog. These tasks can be described from a main objective, each one being necessary to achieve the goal that has been established.

Moura says that the backlog can be built in three different ways:

In the top-down approach, large tasks are prioritized, being performed before smaller actions. It is useful when the big goals are already well defined.

On the other hand, the bottom-up approach is just the opposite. It starts with the smaller tasks that are already defined in advance.

There is also the hybrid approach, which dynamically mixes the two methods, according to the prioritization identified in the goals previously established.

To apply this technique, the author provides the following suggestions:

  • Centralize all tasks in one place (a notebook, a spreadsheet, an application);
  • Detail the highest priority tasks;
  • Use verbs in the task description, it helps understanding;
  • Make sure you have all the necessary information (what is it? For whom? When? Why? How? How much?)
  • Make a categorization (by color, for example), indicating which goal that task is related to.

The writer teaches that prioritization should be based on the evaluation of two characteristics of the task: importance (what return will this task bring?) and urgency (if not done immediately, will it compromise the goal?).

He presents a formula he created to simplify task ordering:


The importance and urgency rates are given as a percentage. For example:

Source: adapted from the book, page 66.

That way, it's easier to sort the tasks in the backlog by priority. Finally, the author also indicates starting the day with the task that will generate the greatest impact, the so-called MIT, Most Important Task.

Energy management

Energy is what makes us able to produce the prioritized task very well during the established time period. The author explains that physical, mental and emotional energy serve as the basis for productivity.

Thus, to maintain physical energy, it is essential to eat well, have good sleep habits and maintain a physical activity routine.

Mental energy acts on cognition, influencing reasoning and memory, which are essential for performing complex tasks.

Finally, emotional energy is about motivation and purpose, helping with concentration and focus.

As energy enhancement techniques, Moura cites:

  • Work in teams or in pairs, to share the workload;
  • Meditation as a way to relax and empty the mind
  • Listening to music that helps with concentration, such as classical music;
  • Stretching sessions during the workday;
  • Use of productivity environments;
  • Healthy eating, hydration and physical exercise;
  • Sleep well.

Habit management

Finally, it is interesting that the processes cited by the author end up becoming automatic, increasingly improving performance.

In this way, having productive habits is an extremely important tool for productivity, because, according to the author, a habit is the natural way of doing something automatically.

However, in order to create productive habits, a great effort is necessary, as it is a process that requires consistency and discipline. You have to repeat that activity dozens or hundreds of times before it becomes a habit.

Moura points out that it is not possible to extinguish a bad habit, but it is possible to turn it into a better habit through dedication and consistency.

The creation or transformation of a habit requires the following elements:

  • Knowledge about what to do;
  • The how-to skill;
  • The desire to want to do it.

Task prioritization, time optimization and energy management practices solve the knowledge and skill part. However, the desire is something that has to come from the individual himself.

In this way, you can form productive habits to focus and concentrate on what generates the most impact and will bring the greatest returns to your goals.

What do other authors say about it?

Stephen R. Covey, in the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, reinforces that the desire for change must come from the person, only in this way will it be possible to change behavior.

In “Make Time”, authors Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky emphasize the importance of using methods to avoid distractions as much as possible, helping to maintain focus and concentration on what is being done.

Finally, Ryder Carroll presents in his book “The Bullet Journal Method” a practical and efficient way of organization, aiming to optimize the use of time and energy, which he considers to be the most valuable resources.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Practice the techniques presented in the book and, according to your perception, make the necessary adjustments to suit your demands;
  • Find the best way to organize your tasks in a single place, so visualization and prioritization are easier;
  • Avoid doing multiple activities at the same time, focus on just one to be efficient and effective;
  • Seek the balance between your physical, mental and emotional energy;
  • Work to turn bad habits into productive habits;
  • Always have a purpose.

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