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15 of the Best Time Management and Productivity Books of All Time
Reading a useful book is always a productive use of your time.
By John Rampton • Mar 12, 2019
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Entrepreneurs are always on a quest to win the race against time. As if that weren't stressful enough, we also have to enhance our willpower and strengthen our self-discipline. If not, then all of the distractions flying around will stand in the way of us getting things done.
Since I'm an avid reader, I've learned over the years that the best way to improve my time management and productivity skills have been through books. Of course, it can be overwhelming when you're searching online or browsing in a book store for literature that can assist you in living a more fruitful life. That's why I've made the decision easier for you by sharing with the 15 best time management and productivity books of all time.
1. "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change" by Stephen R. Covey
First published in 1989, " The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People " is regularly considered the best book to read if you want to improve your productivity both professionally and personally. It focuses on developing new habits so that you can stay-on-track as opposed to eliminating bad habits. Most notably, defining your goals and priorities.
Covey uses the analogy of placing rocks, pebbles, and sand into a jar to help you define what's really important. If you start by putting the little things, such as the pebbles or sand, the rocks won't fit. However, if you begin with the rock there's enough room for you to put the tinier items around them in the jar.
Key quote: "The key is not to prioritize what's on your scheduling app but to schedule your priorities."
Related: 5 Ways to Be a More Effective People Person
2. "How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks and Breaking the Procrastination Habit" by S.J. Scott
If you're struggling with procrastination, this is arguably the only book you'll need to own. How to Stop Procrastinating is a down-to-earth and uses a specific framework to assist you in becoming action-oriented. Scott also shares his own experiences on how he overcame procrastination and explores the main reasons why we drag out feet.
Personally, I enjoyed how straightforward this book. The advice provided isn't too complex. It simply encourages you to does this, then do this, and after do that.
Key quote: "If you're someone who procrastinates, then this bad habit is limiting your success in a variety of ways. If you don't address this issue, then you'll reduce the likelihood that you'll achieve your major goals."
3."Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time" by Brian Tracy
If your procrastination still persists then Eat That Frog! should help you get over that hump. Inspired by a famous Mark Twain quote, "Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day," author Brian Tracy details why and how you should tackle your most challenging task in the morning.
Additionally, Tracy shares successful time management techniques like how to set goals, get organized, practice the "Law of Three," and applying the 80/20 Rule.
Key quote: "You can get control of your time and your life only by changing the way you think, work, and deal with the never-ending river of responsibilities that flows over you each day. You can get control of your tasks and activities only to the degree that you stop doing some things and start spending more time on the few activities that can really make a difference in your life."
4. "The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich"
by Timothy Ferriss
Timothy Ferriss shares his step-by-step guide on how anyone can start earning a monthly five-figure income by working just The 4-Hour Workweek . As a result, you'll be able to live the life you actually want without having to be just another participant of the daily rat race.
If this sounds too good to be true, Ferriss includes over 50 practical tips and real-life case studies on how you can live more and work less.
Key quote: "Being able to quit things that don't work is integral to being a winner."
5. "Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life" by Dr. Jason Selk and Tom Bartow
Written by Dr. Jason Selk, director of mental training for the St. Louis Cardinals, and business coach Tom Bartow's Organize Tomorrow Today , this book outlines the eight most effective ways to optimize your organization. As a result, you'll focus on process-oriented goals that will guide you in maximizing your time and breaking bad habits.
Key quote: "Greatness is predicated on consistently doing things others can't or won't do. Simply put, success is not about being brilliant. It is about being consistent."
6. "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen
Since it's release in 2001, " Getting Things Done " has not only become one of the most influential business books of all-time. It's also considered the book for personal organization. Although Allen has tweaked the book over the years, the main concept remains intact. When you have a clear mind, you're able to organize your thoughts, spark creativity, and boost your productivity.
Key quote: "Getting things done requires two basic components: defining (1) what "done" means (outcome) and (2) what "doing" looks like (action)."
Related: 5 Tips to Improve Focus and Get Things Done
7. "Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World" by Cal Newport
What exactly is " deep work "? Author and professor Cal Newport defines it as, "Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate."
The problem is that in an increasingly distracting world getting into this flow is easier said than done. The good news is that Newport outlines specific disciplines that will transform your mind and habits so that you can concentrate and jump into your work.
Key quote: "To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction."
8. "Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day" by Jake Zeratsky and John Knapp
Although released just in September 2018, I'm already chalking this selection up as an instant classic. I thoroughly enjoyed the friendly and original approach that Zeratsky and Knapp laid out in " Make Time ." For example, only highlighting one priority per day so that all of your time and energy are present for that specific task.
Key quote: "Believe in your Highlight: It is worth prioritizing over random disruption."
9. "168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think" by Laura Vanderkam
Did you know that we all have the same 168 Hours in a week? So, how come some people are able to squeeze every minute out of this time? Bestselling author Laura Vanderkam draws from the real-life stories of successful and happy individuals, Vanderkam discovered that they find creative ways to make time for the important stuff.
Key quote: "The majority of people who claim to be overworked work less than they think they do, and many of the ways people work are extraordinarily inefficient. Calling something "work' does not make it important or necessary."
10. "The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right" by Atul Gawande
Relying on his past experiences as a surgeon, bestselling author Atul Gawande explains that we're prone to failure thanks to the amount of knowledge surrounding us. The solution? The Checklist Manifesto .
Through riveting stories, Gawande describes what exactly checklists are, what they aren't, and how they can assist you in succeeding at getting things done.
Key quote: "We are besieged by simple problems... Checklists can provide protection."
11. "Surge: Your Guide to Put Any Idea Into Action" by Matt Kane, Steve Garguilo and Sergiy Skoryk
So many of us have ideas that we're passionate about. Unfortunately, we sit on these ideas waiting for the "perfect" time or opportunity to act. The reality is that there is no such thing as the right moment. " Surge " will provide you with the strategies to finally bring your ideas to life.
Key quote: "If you want something different, it's time to do something different. It's time to act."
12. "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg
Award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg uses fascinating stories and scientific discoveries to clarify how habits work, ways to change existing patterns, and what can be done to establish new habits. By focusing on good habits we're better equipped to achieve more than we ever imagined. The Power of Habit is definitely a must-read.
Key quote: "The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can't extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it."
13. "Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination, People-pleasing, Self-doubt, Over-commitment, Broken Promises and Chaos" by Steve Chandler
Time Warrior is an astute and digestible book that instructs readers to become "non-linear." When you accomplish this you'll start to manage your priorities and stop letting people-pleasing and fear hold you back. As a result, you'll become motivated to hone-in on the big picture.
Key quote: "Action is the answer."
14. "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown
I'd say that the key to productivity is being able to distinguish between what's essential and what's not. Thankfully, Essentialism can guide you in determining how to prioritize your tasks and cutting-out the extraneous stuff so that you only focus on what's most important.
Key quote: "Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it's about how to get the right things done. It doesn't mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential."
Related: Discipline Is What Leads to Success
15. "15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management- The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs" by Kevin Kruse
Kevin Kruse, a best-selling author and entrepreneur, asked 200 different successful business owners , athletes, and straight-a students, "What is your number one secret to productivity?"
After analyzing the results, Kruse found that they all shared 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management . These include:
- Focusing on minutes, not hours.
- Doing one thing at a time.
- Not using to-do-lists.
- Beating procrastination with time travel.
- Making it home for dinner.
- Using a notebook.
- Processing their email only once a day.
- Avoiding meetings at all costs.
- Saying "no" to almost everything.
- Following the 80/20 Rule.
- Delegating most tasks.
- Creating theme days.
- Touching things only one time.
- Establishing and following a morning routine.
- Maintaining their energy by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and working in sprints.
Key quote: "Actually, highly successful people don't think about time much at all. Instead, they think about values, priorities, and consistent habits."
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15 Best Time Management Books to Read in 2023
You found our list of the best time management books of all time.
Time management books are guides that help readers organize tasks and use hours more effectively. These works cover topics such as organization, focus, and defeating procrastination. The purpose of these books is to help professionals arrange their work lives for optimal output and minimal stress.
These works are similar to habit books , business books , office management books , and books on professional strategy . The books include time management tips .
This list includes:
- books on time management and productivity
- time and stress management books
- time management improvement books
- time management leadership books
- time management and organization books
Here we go!
List of time management books
Here is a list of new and bestselling books on time management for professionals who want to achieve more and stress less.
1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Deep Work is one of the best books on time management and productivity. This guide presents a masterclass in tuning out distractions and hyperfocusing. The book explores the merits of an unflinching work ethic, and explains guidelines and training methods for concentrating. The book’s second half lays out tips for working more efficiently, including baring boredom, blocking out social media, preventing interruptions, and achieving peak “deep work.” Deep Work is an actionable guide for learning how to focus intentionally in a world where constant disturbances battle for our attention.
Notable Quote: “Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction.”
Read Deep Work .
2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Getting Things Done is one of the best selling time management improvement books. This edition is an updated version of the classic guide to managing tasks and mastering workflow. The text presents organizational systems and best practices that help readers accomplish more tasks and worry less, including visuals like flow charts. The central idea of this book is that human brains can only store and focus on limited amounts of information at one time, and tackling tasks as they come can prevent overwhelm. Acting swiftly prevents responsibilities from piling up or getting forgotten. Getting Things Don e presents a GTD system that helps readers organize workflows and react appropriately to prompts.
Notable Quote: “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
Read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity .
3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the most popular time management books of all time. This classic highlights practices that separate productive individuals and high achievers from the rest of the population.
These seven habits are as follows:
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- Put first things first
- Think win/win
- Seek first to understand, and then to be understood
- Sharpen the saw (aka, take time to recharge)
Covey explores each habit in depth and illustrates his points by using concrete anecdotes. The book offers advice on how to embody these traits and become more successful in personal and professional life. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People teaches readers how to take control of each moment and stop wasting time on inefficient actions.
Notable Quote: “But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”
Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People .
4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
Mark Twain famously said, “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” This book revolves around that philosophy. Brian Tracy prescribes ways to beat procrastination and gain momentum by tackling the most challenging tasks head on. The book offers tips like planning the day ahead of time, cutting big tasks into smaller chunks, reminding yourself of consequences, and using technology to your advantage.
Notable Quote: “One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not to be done at all.”
Read Eat That Frog!
5. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
168 Hours provides a framework for how to structure your days in ways that leave time to do what is important to you. Laura Vanderkam aims to overturn the myth of the time crunch, and challenges readers to clear their weekly to-do lists by prioritizing the most important tasks and offloading nonessentials. The main parts of the book explain how to structure time at home and at work to build a well-rounded, active life. 168 Hours offers a breakdown of how to best use limited time to live a fulfilling life.
Notable Quote: “Knock a few of these easy items off first, then look for ways to minimize more complicated time traps.”
Read 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think .
6. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch
The 80/20 Principle is a manifesto for accomplishing great results with minimal effort. The 80/20 rule asserts that 80% of results come from 20% of efforts. By this logic, the key to success is not to stay busy, but rather to invest the most energy and focus into the 20%, or the most essential priorities and tasks. The first part of the book explains the idea in depth, tracing the history and exploring related academic concepts. The middle section focuses on applying the 80/20 concept to the corporate world, and gives advice on topics like employing simple strategies and finding the right customers. The book ends with reflections on how to reduce time waste, reclaim free time, and operate more efficiently in all aspects of life.
Notable Quote: “It is not shortage of time that should worry us, but the tendency for the majority of time to be spent in low-quality ways.”
Read The 80/20 Principle .
7. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing is a deep dive into the world of timing. Daniel Pink relies on sciences, psychology, sociology, and economics to draw conclusions about how timing affects motivation and success. Pink uses a combination of data and anecdotes to illustrate patterns and points and craft a compelling read. The book explores topics such as the emotional significance of beginnings, middle, and endings, the restorative power of breaks, and the art of team synchronization. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing shows how you can achieve more and better manage your time by embracing inertia and choosing the opportune moment to act.
Notable Quote: “If we stick with a task too long, we lose sight of the goal.”
Read When .
8. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is one of the most helpful time and stress management books. Greg McKeown advocates not for doing more, but doing what is essential. In other words, prioritizing the most critical tasks and honing in on the most important ideas. While many folks boast about having hectic schedules, this book explains how staying busy is actually a less disciplined approach. Focusing on the right areas and committing to a singular task is more of a challenge than multitasking. Each chapter focuses on a simplifying behavior such as making decisions, setting boundaries, and removing obstacles. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is a manifesto on minimalism, self-care, and frictionless work.
Notable Quote: “Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?”
Read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less .
9. The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey
The Productivity Project is a study that centers around finding ideal working conditions. Over the course of a year, author Chris Bailey conducted a series of productivity experiments on himself and recorded his results. In the process, he gained valuable insights about time management, which he is now sharing in this book. Bailey shares the actions that had the biggest impact on his output, for example, slow down and work more deliberately, and schedule less time for important tasks. The book pairs these first person experiences and observations with research and interviews with leading productivity experts. The Productivity Project is a collection of tested techniques that serves as a reminder that work is not just about the amount of time spent, but the yields of that time.
Notable Quote: “Busyness is no different from laziness when it doesn’t lead you to accomplish anything.”
Read The Productivity Project .
10. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life by Jason Selk,Tom Bartow, and Matthew Rudy
Organize Tomorrow Today is a book that emphasizes the role mindset plays in time management. Dr. Jason Selk is a performance coach that trains top athletes and executives, and Tom Bartlow is a former college basketball coach who became a top-grossing financial advisor. The authors use their sports backgrounds to preach the mental aspects of performance. The book shows that time management is a matter of willpower and practice. Chapters cover topics such as plotting out your days, persevering through difficult times, pep-talking yourself and others, and working under pressure. One of the book’s most useful tips is to get into the habit of starting continually rather than aiming to work continuously for eight hours. Organize Tomorrow Today is a practical playbook for hardwiring your mind for productivity and long-term success.
Notable Quote: “Greatness is predicated on consistently doing things others can’t or won’t do. Simply put, success is not about being brilliant. It is about being consistent.”
Read Organize Tomorrow Today .
11. Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz
Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself is one of the best time management leadership books. This book teaches owners, entrepreneurs, and bosses how to stop micromanaging and gain more free-time through careful design. This guide shows owners how to empower staff to solve problems instead of spending time constantly putting out fires. Mike Michalowicz shows entrepreneurs how to build systems that operate smoothly without constant interference or guidance, and helps owners reclaim free time instead of working constantly and being on-call 24/7. Clockwork is the ultimate guide for running a business instead of letting it run you. The book is a crash course in time management for managers.
Notable Quote: “It turns out that productivity doesn’t get you out of the doing: it just gets you doing more.”
Read Clockwork , and check out more books on management .
12. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
Four Thousand Weeks is one of the newest books about managing time. This work takes a more philosophical and spiritual approach compared to most books in the genre. Drawing on historical evidence, psychological principles, and the musings of great thinkers, Oliver Burkeman challenges modern productivity norms and questions the quest to stay forever busy. Four Thousand Weeks reminds readers that life is short, and suggests strategies for spending time on meaningful pursuits. The book also explains how to overcome anxiety over the uncontrollable and be more mindful of the moment instead of projecting into the future.
Notable Quote: “The real problem isn’t our limited time. The real problem–or so I hope to convince you– is that we’ve unwittingly inherited, and feel pressured to live by, a troublesome set of ideas about how to use our limited time, all of which are pretty much guaranteed to make things worse.”
Read Four Thousand Weeks .
13. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Make Time is one of the greatest time management and organization books. Jake Knapp is a veteran of Google and the creator of the company’s design sprint, while John Zeratsky is a journalist whose work on technology companies has appeared in The Wall Street Journal , Harvard Business Review , and Time . The authors show how to take control of your attention and say no to things that do not serve you. This book presents time management as an intentional practice that involves putting on blinders to the demands of modern life and narrowing in on the most meaningful tasks, projects, and pursuits. Make Time offers a toolkit to take control of your schedule and
Notable Quote: “Perfection is a distraction—another shiny object taking your attention away from your real priorities.”
Read Make Time .
14. Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day: Simple Strategies to Increase Productivity, Enhance Creativity, and Make Your Time Your Own by by Holly Reisem Hanna
Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day is a short and simple guide to getting the most out of each day. The book is around 100 pages, yet is chock full of useful tips and information and contains very little fluff. Holly Reisem Hanna offers practical and actionable tips to save time such as setting up automatic email filters, scheduling designated time to check your inbox, creating virtual filing systems and to-do lists, and making “stop-doing” lists. The author offers doable basic instructions and suggestions instead of merely preaching time management philosophy. The book also includes lists of time management resources, productivity apps, and time-saving services that can further help readers reclaim hours of their days.
Notable Quote: “Creating new habits and introducing new strategies takes time and effort. You can’t just snap your fingers and instantly become more productive. You have to be willing to do a little work on the front end so that you can reap the benefits on the back end.”
Read Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day .
15. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
The 4-Hour Workweek is one of the most popular books on time management of all time. In this bestseller, Tim Ferriss suggests strategies for increasing income without increasing workload. For instance, by outsourcing tasks, embracing automation, and working in bursts. The book backs up these claims with case studies and examples of successful practitioners of this lifestyle. The 4-Hour Workweek urges readers to enjoy life in the moment instead of delaying gratification until retirement, and lays out a blueprint for an alternative professional life that does not involve working around the clock.
Notable Quote: “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”
Read The 4-Hour Workweek .
If you struggle with your to-do list, then you may think that the last thing you should do is to stop and read a book. However, investing a few hours to read books on time management can help you learn new techniques to structure your day and help you to become more productive and efficient.
For more reading, check out this list of organizational behavior books and these focus books .
Next, check out our list of the best Pomodoro timers to help manage your time, and we also have a guide to 4 day workweeks .
FAQ: Time management books
Here are answers to common questions about books on time management.
What are time management books?
Time management books are works full of productivity hacks and organizational tips intended to help professionals better structure the work day.
What are some good books on time management?
Some good books on time management include Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, and Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day by Holly Reisem Hanna.
What are the best time management books for work?
The best time management books for work include Deep Work by Cal Newport, The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch, The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey, and Getting Things Done by David Allen.
Why should you read books on time management?
You should read books on time management because these works can help you simplify your schedule, develop stronger focus, clarify priorities, reduce time waste, lessen stress, and achieve better results.
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Time Management Books
9 Best Time Management Books [Updated 2023]
Time management enables one to efficiently manage their time while knowing the effective way of making the best use of it. Further, we can’t hype the importance of time management. Below is the list of top books on time management to read in 2023:
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich ( Get this book )
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity ( Get this book )
- Oola Find Balance in an Unbalanced World ( Get this book )
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less ( Get this book )
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World ( Get this book )
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time ( Get this book )
- The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right ( Get this book )
- Surge: Your Guide to Put Any Idea Into Action ( Get this book )
- Scrum ( Get this book )
Let us discuss each time management book in detail and its key takeaways and reviews.
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#1 – The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich:
A Step-by-step Guide to Luxury Lifestyle
By Timothy Ferriss
This top time management book has over 100 pages of fresh, superior, and interesting content crafted by the popular New York Times author about the 4-hour Body, illustrating the technique of living extra while working less.
Overlook the initial idea about retirement and the remaining postponed-life plan since there appears to be no reason to postpone and all reasons for not doing so, particularly in a random economic environment . However, this time management book is the blueprint for whether one’s imagination is evading the random run, witnessing superior world tourism, or making a five-figure monthly income considering minimal management.
Key Takeaways from This Top Time Management Book
- Written by a well-known author under this segment.
- Explains how Tim goes from just $40,000 each year and a significant 80 hours each week to a notable $40,000 each month and merely 4 hours each week.
- Describe the ways to subcontract one’s life to fundamental foreign associates for just $5 each hour and continue your work.
- The technique of eliminating 50% of the entire work in merely 48 hours, leveraging the rules of an elapsed Italian economist.
The latest improved version of “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss comprises:
- Over 50 real-life examples and case studies of readers and their families strategically doubled their investment by impressively escaping from the most common investment hurdles.
- One may copy templates for removing e-mail, exchanging with clients and bosses, or hiring a private cook for below $10 a meal.
- The technique of lifestyle planning rules modifies according to uncertain financial times.
- The newest tricks and tools, coupled with the advanced shortcuts for residing similar to a millionaire or diplomat short of being either.
#2 – Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
The Guide to Personal and Business Productivity
By David Allen
According to Fast Company, this best time management book is an entirely updated and revised edition of the epic hit from certain personal yielding experts.
This top time management book is nearly fifteen years old since its first publication. It believes in becoming a major powerful business book Business Book Some of the best Business Books are Understanding Business, Money Makers and Good To Great read more of all time and an excellent write-up on the personal company. Allen has reworked the book by employing the classic text with key outlooks on the innovative workplace while introducing content expected to make the book new and significant for several forthcoming years. This latest copy of “Getting Things Done” is believed to be excellently accepted by its huge base of existing fans and even by the upcoming generation keen on adopting its established rules.
- Getting Things Done or GTD is now a way of handling personal tasks and contacting professionals while it has reproduced an exhaustive series of seminars, offshoots, organizational tools, and websites.
- The book is in simple English, which even an English learner can understand and comprehend.
#3 – Oola Find Balance in an Unbalanced World:
State of Awesomeness
By Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl
Oola is the guide to finding stability in the unstable universe outside and not a characteristic self-help scripture. It is an excellent art of writing with simple language that is easy to understand on the first reading.
This best time management book describes the after story of the situation when one’s life is stable and developing in 7 major verticals. Fun, Friends, Faith, Field, Family, Finance, and Fitness. Oola is expected to be similar to a group of advanced and true stories having important messages for the readers. The assisting authors Troy Amdahl or The OolaGuru and Dave Braun or The OolaSeeker have put in dedicated efforts to develop this kind of epic writing.
- Ola received amazing feedback from top Olympians, industry leaders, musicians, pro athletes, and authors.
- One must read this time management book to absorb three basic steps for balancing and expanding one’s life in an ever-changing world.
- Discover the traits that prevent an individual from achieving their dreams and how to achieve those goals faster.
- Identify the hidden learnings from zebra-striped underwear, a black Ninja, and a drunken Thai monkey.
- Despite all your life mistakes, you still earn an extraordinary life.
- Get inspiration for action, and achieve your goals while establishing an OolaLife.
- Identify the seven major areas for growth in life that need to be balanced.
- Discover the mysteries of taking one’s life a step ahead.
#4 – Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
The Way of Just Getting the Right Things Done
By Greg McKeown
This best time management book supports the reader to de-clutter one’s work-life while enabling them to do the right things quickly. It doesn’t signify any time management technique or a productivity strategy. However, it refers to a systematic way of discriminating what is undeniably important, then removing everything else that is not essential, thereby playing the greatest possible role in important matters.
This book saves a lot of time for any individual at work, as implementing the concepts of this scripture allows the user to minimize loss of time while maximizing the operational efficiency of the doer. Hence, every organization advises going through this book on time management at least once, which would certainly increase the reader’s efficiency.
- As the book’s concepts force the reader to implement a highly selective approach regarding what is important, the controlled quest of less allows the implementer to implement control of their selections regarding where to expend one’s much-needed energy and valuable time rather than allowing others to decide for us.
- Essentialism is an entirely new technique for performing every action. This book on time management expects to be essential for any individual, manager, or leader who strives to do the least but gets better results while organizing and decluttering their existence.
#5 – Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Becoming Hugely Rare is the Most Precious Skills All Through the Economy
By Cal Newport
This best time management book explains the significance of concentrated work with a full focus on achieving the desired results.
The author relates the deep work with its positive impact on the connected era. He does not argue about distraction being bad. Instead, appreciate the significance of its reverse.
- Stresses the fact that developing a significant work ethic would deliver notable benefits
- Later, presenting an exhaustive training program in the form of four key directives for changing your habits and mind to provision this skill
#6 – Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Eat That Frog! Is it a metaphor to describe the worst thing you would ever do?
By Brian Tracy
This time management book details that there isn’t sufficient time to do everything on one’s “To Do” list. Thus, successful personalities make logical targets to be achieved at the end of the day while executing strategically to conquer all plans.
The book is particularly on the concept that logical targets are essential for achieving any objective within an organization.
- Eat That Frog! The metaphor illustrates the technique of achieving the most important objectives while organizing one’s day
- It contains 21 doable and practical measures that would support the implementer in minimizing the act of procrastination while getting highly important tasks completed fast
#7 – The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
Preparing a Checklist Highlights the Complexity in Lives and Determines the Method to Deal with it.
By Atul Gawande
Atul Gawande’s latest bestseller depicts the power of preparing a checklist that reveals several difficulties in one’s life, as well as explaining the technique to handle them intelligently.
This top time management book is life-long learning for the government, law, health care, and the overall financial industry in all sections of planned activity.
- The author explains the benefits of making a checklist that delivers far better results compared to the outcomes generated when not employing such a technique
- The book contains exhaustive examples to reveal the advantages of preparing a checklist that is essential for any private business or governmental organization.
#8 – Surge: Your Guide to Put Any Idea Into Action
The scripture is perfect for readers with a plan in mind who need a little confidence to implement that plan.
By Matt Kane
Perfect writing for strategically implementing a passionate idea in mind.
The perfect guide for teaching confidence in any person with an idea for implementing it uniquely and cost-effectively.
- Written in simple English, this best time management book is bound to attract and force its reader to read the book until the end.
- This book illustrates how to implement all your ideas throughout life successfully and how to alleviate anxiety, overcome engulfing and fighting back your fears.
#9 – Scrum
Implementing work in simple steps and the exact sequence to deliver outstanding results.
By – Jeff Sutherland
The key to solving this era’s highly stubborn problems.
This attractive method of scrum formation while performing any task enhances productivity with the least time required to perform the activity.
- Explains the techniques for making any task work efficiently and cost-effectively.
- The best tool for team optimization and problem-solving in any universal application.
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15 Time Management Books To Supercharge Your Productivity
* There may be affiliate links on this page, which means I receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase *
Today’s we’re going to be talking about one of the most crucial life skills there is – time management.
Need more food? You can go to the grocery store. Need more clothes? You can go buy some. Need more friends? You can go out and meet new people.
But time is the one asset in your life that you don’t get more of. Once you waste it, you don’t get it back. That’s why all of us are trying to win the race against time – because it’s the most precious asset we have.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and how you use that 24 hours determines whether you will be rich or poor, fulfilled or empty, healthy or unhealthy, etc.
One of the best ways to manage your time better is to learn from people who can, which is why today I’m going to be providing an extensive list of the best time management books ever written.
Each book on this list will help you learn proven strategies for prioritizing your life and hacking your productivity so that you’re able to get ahead of your peers and have more freedom in your day to day life.
What is Time Management And Why You Need to Master It
The simple definition of time management is that it is essentially what you choose to accomplish with the time that you have each day. Successful people are masters at disciplining themselves and getting the most out of their time.
If you have an hour before you have to leave for work, do you spend it scrolling through your phone and checking emails or building a passive income stream?
If you have 30 minutes before picking your kids up from school, do you spend it watching television or getting a quick home workout in?
These are the everyday decisions that we all struggle with when it comes to time management. It’s these kinds of choices that determine how fast we accelerate towards the life we want.
Some people move towards their goals at a snail’s pace – getting things done in an inefficient way and not making the leaps and bounds that they are after.
Then, you come across those people who beat the system. The people who are able to get promoted 2-3 times in a year and double their income. The people who are able to exercise, go to their 9-5, build a side hustle, all while making adequate time for their family and friends.
Those are the type of people we all aspire to be like, and they’re no different than you are. They simply have a structured, intentional plan for managing their time and getting the most out of your day.
I hope that this list of time management books helps you build the foundation for doing the same.
15 Best Time Management Books to Supercharge Your Productivity
Before we talk about some of the best time management books ever written, I just have a little word of advice to keep in mind as you’re going through this list.
There have been some books that I’ve read, which others consider to be world-renowned and immensely valuable, that I simply got bored with and didn’t get much value out of.
And there have been others that have absolutely blown my mind despite not being on any kind of bestseller’s list. So while accolades are important, make sure that you’re choosing a book that sounds interesting to you.
Don’t buy a book because it’s on a best-seller’s list, or has sold X amount of copies worldwide – the best books that I’ve read are the ones that have naturally peaked my interest.
#1 – ** TOP PICK ** The 4 Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join The New Rich by Tim Ferris
If you’re an entrepreneur who is looking for a better way to manage your time and set your business up for success, then this book is a must-read for you. But even if you aren’t an entrepreneur, most of the lessons in this book apply to everyone.
Tim Ferriss is a legend in the world of productivity, and this was the book that put him in the elite company of self-development experts.
The main lesson of this book is simple – instead of focusing on doing as much as you can, focus on doing the few things that lead to the biggest progress.
Most people measure productivity by the amount of time they spend working, but this is a poor measure of productivity due to the amount of time we waste while we work.
If you had a heart attack and could only work two hours per day, what would you do?
This is one of the questions that Ferris poses to his readers in the book, and I’ve found it to be incredibly useful in setting up my own schedule that prioritizes high-impact activities.
Ferris also dives into how to decide which activities you need to remove or delegate to someone else, how to set up an effective to-do list, and how to structure your day for maximum impact.
If you work a corporate job, then you’ll still find this book incredibly useful. If you’re an entrepreneur who constantly finds yourself in a race against time, then this is one of the best time management books you could ever read.
<< Get The Book Here >>
#2 – Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
This book was published in 2002, and to this day it remains a go-to resource for people who want to manage their time more effectively.
Getting Things Done is considered one of the best personal organization books ever written because it provides you with a fully-fledged framework for managing the chaos of your life.
The system outlined in this book leaves no stone unturned – giving you a clear solution for almost every productivity obstacle that you can run into on a daily basis.
One of my biggest takeaways from this book was the idea of creating a “next step” for every unfinished action or large task.
Oftentimes, we tend to get overwhelmed by the enormity of certain tasks because of their complexity. If every time you stopped working, you wrote a “next step” to complete on that specific task, it won’t loom as large over you.
You’ll close the open loops in your mind and come back to the task refreshed, knowing exactly what you need to do next.
Definitely give this book a read.
#3 – Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life By Nir Eyal
I’m a sucker for anything that Nir Eyal puts out, as I’ve always found his content to be extremely valuable.
Indistractable is no different, as it teaches how to prioritize your life and make time for the things that matter.
The best part about this book is that Eyal walks you through exactly how to set up a schedule that aligns with your ideal life. He recognizes that we all have different values and priorities – that’s why setting up an individualized calendar that makes time for these priorities is so crucial.
When it comes to downtime, Eyal shows you to schedule that in as well. He points out that too many people feel bad about being unproductive because they often don’t schedule it – something is only a distraction when it strays from what we’re supposed to be doing at that given moment.
By going through Eyal’s step by step blueprint for scheduling your life, you’ll be able to slack off without feeling bad about yourself and be more efficient with your time.
If you feel like you’re running around in circles from one activity to another without ever feeling like you’re making progress, this book could be a game-changer for you.
#4 – Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success In A Distracted World by Cal Newport
In his best-selling classic, Newport argues that one of the skills that very few possess in today’s world is the ability to perform deep work.
What exactly is deep work? Deep work represents activities performed in a distraction-free environment that are cognitively demanding. These activities require focused attention, improve your skills, and are hard to replicate.
He points out that most of us are pulled towards the stuff that doesn’t matter – what he calls “shallow work.” Shallow work represents logistical style tasks that we can perform while semi-distracted.
When you spend too much time on mundane, low-effort tasks, you’re sabotaging your capacity for deep work because deep work takes willpower, and you only have a finite amount of willpower.
In order to produce the absolute best stuff that you’re capable of, you need to train your brain to efficiently produce high-quality work. If you’re able to master this skill, you’ll put yourself head and shoulders above the competition.
#5 Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
Any advice related to time management from Brian Tracy is worth checking out, as he’s been a staple in the self-help/productivity world for decades.
Eat That Frog is built around one simple idea from Mark Twain – if you start off each day eating a live frog, then you can be sure that’s the worst thing that will happen to you that day.
Put in layman’s terms, this means that if you start your day with a task you dread the most, the rest of your day will be easier. Whichever task you know you are most likely to procrastinate, get that thing out of the way first.
That’s the main lesson I learned from this book, but there’s so much more value that Tracy packs into a bite-sized, 144 page classic.
This book will give you an edge over your colleagues at work because there’s a ton of information in here that won’t just make you a more productive person , but also a more productive employee.
Tracy gives you actionable strategies to waste less time at work and become a productivity machine that your bosses fall in love with, and that your colleagues can rely on.
#6 – The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Done Right by Atul Gawande
The Checklist Manifesto explores the fundamental importance of checklists in making complex processes simple and repeatable.
As a surgeon and Harvard professor, Gawande talks about how even the best surgeons in the world can overlook critical steps operating without a checklist – despite having thousands of hours of deliberate practice under their belt.
Take this blog post for example. Inspired by Gawande’s book, I went ahead and created a 22 step checklist that must be completed before a blog post goes live on my website.
Could I rely on my own habits and complete the entire process without missing any steps? Probably. But there’s a chance that I would mess up and skip over, which is why I use this 22 step checklist as a guide to ensure that every post meets specific standards.
You can apply the same principle with the larger, more complex tasks you have to complete in your own life. Don’t do important work and leave it up to chance – hold yourself accountable by taking a little longer to make sure it’s done 100% right.
In terms of the other time management books on this list, this probably won’t be the most actionable one you can pick up. However, it’s nonetheless profound to listen to Gawande talk about such a boring concept in such a romantic way.
#7 – 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think By Laura Vanderkam
We all have 168 hours each week to set ourselves up for success, so how come some people squeeze out every hour of this time, while others never feel like they have enough?
In this book, Vanderkam draws from the experience of real people who have found creative ways to be more efficient with their time. If you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll likely get what everyone is getting. You’ve got to get a little creative if you want to be effective at time management.
Vanderkham dispels the myth that we simply “don’t have enough time.” It’s not that we don’t have enough time, it’s that we spend too much time doing things that don’t matter, which leaves too little time for doing the things we want to do.
Among the many takeaways from the book are these three key core ideas:
Figure out your core competencies. What are you best at? Spend time doing those things and limit the amount of time spent on everything else.
Keep track of your time. You’ll never know how much time you’re wasting until you keep an hour by hour log of what you’re doing. Realizing these inadequacies will tell you exactly what you need to fix.
Offload. Certain tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, lawn care, etc. all take away time that you could spend improving your life and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
#8 – To-Do List Makeover: A Simple Guide to Getting Important Things Done by S.J. Scott
I’m a huge fan of S.J. Scott’s work, and a few of his books are actually on my list of the best books on habits.
This book focuses more on productivity, and more specifically – how to create an effective to-do list that isn’t a disorganized mess.
We all write to-do lists that we think will turn us into productivity machines. But often, the lists we create have the opposite effect.
Anyone can write a to-do list, the hard part is creating one that can actually fit into your busy life, and that’s actually what Scott helps you figure in just 100 pages. It’s one of the shortest time management books on this list, but it’s at the top of the list in terms of value delivered per page.
#9 – Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg
Duhigg is the author of one of the most revolutionary books ever written, The Power of Habit.
This time, he takes a crack at demystifying productivity, and mostly succeeds. While I don’t think it’s as revolutionary as the former book, it’s still filled with a bunch of valuable insights.
What’s great about Duhigg’s work is that every single idea he presents is backed by science. It’s not just the tips that are great, Duhigg proves to you exactly why these tips work through numerous studies pulled from psychology, neuroscience, and even behavioral economics.
Just like with The Power of Habit, it’s the science and psychology behind the strategies that makes them easier to comprehend. Readers have found that this book has changed their approach to productivity and helped them feel more fulfilled, personally and professionally.
This book is a very enjoyable read, and it will be especially fun to read if you resonated with Duhigg’s first book about the life-changing power of habits.
#10 – The Productivity Project: Accomplish More By Managing Your Time, Attention, And Energy by Chris Bailey
After graduation, Chris Bailey decided to take a year off and run a bunch of productivity experiments on himself.
He tried things like meditating for 35 hours per week, working 90 hours per week, waking up at 5:30, and even living in total isolation for ten days. He also tried numerous productivity strategies and recorded the effectiveness of each one.
Everything that he learned during this year is packed into a really enjoyable book that focuses on teaching you to manage your time, attention, and energy.
One of my main takeaways from this book is that we all should be taking advantage of The Rule of 3. He says that in order to achieve your goals, you need to work backwards:
- First, you write down your top 3 goals
- Then, you break them down into 3 weekly targets
- Take those weekly goals and break them down into 3 tasks you need to complete today
There’s a lot more than that to learn from this book, but that’s just a little nugget that I found valuable and wanted to share. Definitely give this book a read if you don’t want to spend a year experimenting like Bailey did and just get the answers.
#11 – 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 249 Entrepreneurs by Kevin Kruse
This is a great book if you’re looking to learn how to maximize your time from those who’ve already cracked the system.
Everyone goes about time management differently. And because of the insight that Kruse provides about the habits and routines of high-achievers, you’ll be able to cherry-pick strategies that you find intriguing and implement them into your own life.
Time management books aren’t often this extensive in the variety of true motivational stories they share, and while you read this book you’ll realize that at one point or another, high-achievers struggled with the same things that you do now.
Eventually, they figured it out, and you’ll do the same.
#12 – Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More By Doing Less By Michael Hyatt
Similar to “Getting Things Done,” this is a wonderful book for those looking for a structured productivity system to help you be more efficient with your time.
The Free to Focus productivity system follows 3 simple steps:
- Stop: First, you need to take a step back and think about why you want to be more productive and figure out your high-leverage activities.
- Cut: In this step, you’ll realize that what you don’t do is just as important as what you do. You’ll learn how to delegate work and cut out the non-essentials.
- Act: Hyatt teaches you how to complete high-leverage tasks in less time, with less stress by implementing effective prioritization and time-batching.
The main objective of productivity shouldn’t be success, it should be freedom, and Hyatt lays out exactly how to make this happen.
#13 – Zen to Done: The Ultimate Productivity System by Leo Babbuta
Leo Babbuta is the founder of one of the largest personal development blogs on the internet, Zen Habits.
His content centers around simplifying your life , building better habits, and becoming more productive, and over the years he’s put out thousands of pieces of life-changing content extensively covering all three of these topics.
Perhaps his best work is “Zen to Done,” which seeks to help people simplify their life and achieve more by doing less. ZTD is a system that will help develop the habits that help you organize your life and your tasks and projects structured..
What’s great about this book is that it doesn’t just give you a productivity system to follow, Babbuta teaches you how to build the types of habits necessary to put the system into action. This is something that many of the other books don’t focus on, and it’s a crucial concept because you’re often lured into procrastination because of your hard-wired habits .
You may have the perfect productivity system, but if you don’t develop the habits necessary to make that system work, it’s unlikely you’re going to see results.
If you’re looking for a book that teaches you how to develop the right productivity habits that set your day up for success, then I highly recommend checking out Zen to Done.
#14 – How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks and Breaking the Procrastination Habit by S.J. Scott
Can you tell I’m a big fan of S.J. Scott’s work yet? This is the second book that Scott has on this list of time management books, and it’s well deserved.
Procrastination is the biggest obstacle that we deal with when it comes to productivity. It stops us from making progress on the tasks we know deep down we need to do, and in turn stops us from living the life we deserve.
Scott teaches you how to beat procrastination and stop it from becoming a habit that wreaks havoc on your life. After reading this book, you’ll understand why you procrastinate and exactly what to do about it.
#15 – The Now Habit: A Strategic Program For Overcoming Procrastination And Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore
Last but not least, we have this great book from Neil Fiore.
This book helps people overcome procrastination , and more importantly helps people stop feeling guilty for being distracted. Fiore points out that one of the keys to stress-free productivity and enjoying guilt-free play is unscheduling your life.
What is unscheduling? Unscheduling is a practice where you throw out your old calendar and schedule the things you want to do for the week. Instead of scheduling what you need to do first, you schedule what you want to do and then let work fill up the rest of your time.
Things like meeting friends, golfing, and playing with your kids won’t feel like distractions when they are scheduled on your calendar. Readers have found this book as an incredibly useful tool for reducing the stress that comes along with trying to master productivity.
Well, that concludes this list of the 15 best time management books that you can use to manage your time more efficiently and prioritize your life. You now have a variety of books to choose from to get started on your productivity journey.
My best advice is to choose one of these time management books and embrace it fully – don’t be the person who jumps around trying new strategies every week. That’s a one-way ticket to ending up even more stressed out and less productive than you are now.
Too much information can be overwhelming, so take things slow. Read one book, commit to the strategies fully, and then evaluate whether or not it’s working for you before adding in new routines and habits, or picking up another book.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and wish you the best of luck with your productivity and time management goals!
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Psychology » Self Help
The best books on time management, recommended by oliver burkeman.
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? You are not alone. Oliver Burkeman , author of Four Thousand Weeks , selects some of the best books on time management—including two classic how-to guides, plus several texts focused on helping you decide how you really want to spend your finite time on this planet.
Interview by Cal Flyn , Deputy Editor
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
The Tao of Time by Diana Hunt & Pam Hait
Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu
Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World by Iddo Landau
1 Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
2 deep work: rules for focused success in a distracted world by cal newport, 3 the tao of time by diana hunt & pam hait, 4 drop the ball: achieving more by doing less by tiffany dufu, 5 finding meaning in an imperfect world by iddo landau.
Thank you for putting together this list of the best books on time management. Firstly, could you tell me what time management is—and why people are so interested in becoming better at time management?
I almost think: what isn’t time management? The clichéd idea of time management is this rather shallow genre, where it’s all about how you organise your work day, or why you should cook all your meals for the week on a Sunday afternoon to save time. But time management is actually something vastly more important than that, if we start by confronting the truth that we don’t have very much of it. To take the challenge of time management seriously is to talk about building a meaningful life with your limited time on the planet.
The other thing that’s worth saying is that time is an extremely weird phenomenon. It can’t be managed, at least in the way that money or physical possessions can be managed. It just keeps implacably rolling on. Everyone gets 24 hours a day, and you can’t put any of it aside to save for later. And you never know if you’re going to get another moment of it.
Part of my own book, Four Thousand Weeks , is based on exploring this question. What goes wrong with our efforts at time management is treating time as something we can manage in that straightforward way. We can’t, so the attempt to do so leads to various perverse effects, leaving us busier or more stressed, or living less meaningful lives, because the project at its core is flawed.
I like your selection of books, because you’ve offered both conventional time management guidebooks and books that are asking more profound questions about priorities, finding meaning, and so on. Let’s start with a discussion of the time management guru David Allen and his book Getting Things Done . It’s one of the time management bibles (and he’s also recommended the best books on productivity for us).
This was one of the books that started my own interest in this area. It was revolutionary in its time, more than 20 years ago. This book was hugely popular with Silicon Valley people—software developers, computer geeks in general. But it was aimed, in the first instance, at a more conventional realm of managers: there’s a picture of Allen on the cover of the first edition, wearing a suit, the epitome of respectability, nothing remarkable… And yet it’s a book that crystallised a handful of really deep and true and powerful insights about how to organise your work within time—the kind of insights that are so fundamental now that Allen probably doesn’t get all the credit he should get, because they just seem like givens.
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Probably the most penetrating one is that a lot of the stress that we associate with feeling overwhelmed with work is actually the stress of using our brains to keep track of and remember everything that’s on our plate. It’s not necessarily that there’s too much to do, but that our brains are badly designed for storing lists of what to do, although they’re very well designed for actually doing things. So one of Allen’s core guiding ideas is that if you get all the things that are on your plate out of your head and into what he calls ‘a trusted system’—in one place, on a computer or in a notebook—then your mind can relax, and let go of the attempt to keep track of it all.
He calls those unfinished tasks ‘open loops’.
He would say the thought will come to you at three in the morning that you need new batteries for the smoke alarm—but it will not come to you in the supermarket when you’re walking past the batteries. The mind is ill-adapted to this job. It reminds you of things in a haphazard, stress-inducing way. This builds on the well-known observation that writing things down in a list is stress-reducing, even when you haven’t yet done any of the things on the list. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s stress-reducing merely to get it out of your brain in that way.
The other big thing that he maybe doesn’t get enough credit for is the distinction he makes between ‘projects’ and ‘actions’. A project, on his definition, is anything that takes anything more than one action step to complete. So it’s not just big projects like ‘launch new company website’ or ‘write a book’, but ‘clean the house’ or ‘get the car fixed’. A task is doable. You ask: what’s the next action? For getting the car fixed it might be getting the number of the mechanic. Think of your day as a series of actual, doable, physical next steps.
“A lot of the stress that we associate with with work is actually the stress of using our brains to keep track of everything on our plate”
This explains the phenomenon that I think we’re all familiar with, where someone keeps a to-do list, but there are various items that sit there for ages undone. Like ‘Get car fixed.’ One of the reasons it’s there for ages is because ‘get car fixed’ is not a specific, doable thing. It’s the name of a project, for which the next action hasn’t yet been clarified. I’ve certainly benefited from this system myself.
He then builds a whole time management system on top of it, which personally I find can sometimes be a little too involved for my specific work–but any difference of opinion about that pales by comparison to the core insights of this book.
Yes, I totally agree. Actually his book, and the conversation I had with him a year or so ago, has really impacted the way that I work on a daily basis. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, as I have been this week, I have a sort of mantra that I chant to myself when I need to calm down: small, achievable goals .
What all these books have in common, and what I hope my own book is doing, is that they encourage a certain kind of confrontation with the reality of the situation. What David Allen brings is this idea that there’s too much to do, and that your brain is not a good place to keep it. So it’s all about bringing the focus back to what’s doable, now, in the moment, for real. Deep Work has some of this going on too. I think Cal Newport was deeply influenced by David Allen’s thinking.
Right, yes. Let’s talk about our second time management book, Cal Newport’s Deep Work , another very popular book.
One of the arguments that he wants to make, I think, is that there’s a certain kind of work that isn’t well suited to the canonical approach of Getting Things Done , which is to divide everything into little units and then do them, in the manner of ‘cranking widgets’, as David Allen puts it.
Yes. Newport has written about this revelation specifically on his blog . He suggests that the Getting Things Done approach is best suited to what he calls ‘shallow work’, that is, the box-ticking, to-do list-conquering type of busy-ness, rather than for producing things of lasting value that require deep concentration and focus.
I think reflecting on things, just being able to think about things in an open-ended way, is increasingly essential for many of us in the jobs that we do. Deep Work is partly about how to safeguard that kind of time in your schedule, because the risk of a certain application of the Getting Things Done method is that you just do 8,000 tiny things in a row, but never get to fall into a state of deep reflection.
One of the things that I think Newport is very strong on is what he calls ‘fixed schedule productivity’, which is this idea of approaching your work by first figuring out how much time you’re going to devote to it, then making your choices about what to work on based on that pre-decided container of time. So, you might decide you’re going to work from 9am to 5:30pm, with an hour for lunch, and do what you can—instead of having a list of things you’re going to get through, which for all sorts of reasons is probably just going to grow longer and keep you working until 11pm. Blocking off time first is a mechanism that then obliges you to make choices about how to use your finite time instead of killing yourself to get everything done.
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He has a whole methodology that involves drawing little blocks on a calendar: I’m going to assign the first three hours to this important project; then I’ll spend two hours on email. It’s very simple, in a way—but so much bad time management is premised, instead, on the idea that however much you want to get done, there’ll be some method that’s so efficient you’ll be able to do absolutely all of it.
Another good thing about this book is that he’s quite realistic about people’s different lifestyles and situations. Deep work could involve anything from shutting down your communication with the outside world for six months to work on an incredibly hard scientific proof, to safeguarding a handful of individual hours within a high-stress schedule. He’s not implying that everyone is able to go and live in a hut on top of a mountain.
But I do think it’s an important piece of the puzzle, working out how to ring-fence some time for deep work. One important point is to understand how little time it actually has to be. If you can get three hours in a day where you’ve got the energy and lack of interruptions to focus on whatever’s your number one priority, and do that consistently, you’re going to make much more progress than spending your days dreaming of a time when you can give it eight hours.
I guess one issue I have with this idea of ring-fencing time in which to be—I don’t know— inspired , is that alignment of energy or focus and the ring-fenced hours. I try to ring-fence hours, but sometimes find myself spending those hours just staring at my computer. It’s not easy to summon the kind of motivation and concentration that you need for deep work. Does he deal with this question—of how to gee yourself up?
One thing he definitely does deal with, and where I’ve taken inspiration from him, is pushing back against this idea that a plan for the day needs to be a straitjacket, and if you don’t keep to it you’ve failed.
This system of ‘time blocking’—drawing boxes on your calendar and so on—is explicitly one that’s intended to adapt during the day. Your plans change, someone interrupts you in some unavoidable way… OK, next time you get a free moment, you just draw a new set of boxes for what remains of the day. I think you could apply that to failures of motivation, too. You could say, well, look, OK, it’s Monday at 9am but deep work is just not happening. Fine, go and do something else and put that deep work in another part of the schedule instead.
That said, you’ve reminded me of another thing he talks about, which I think is very true, which is that a lot of the motivational issues that we encounter—especially as writers—are the result of distorted expectations about what hard creative work should feel like. He has this lovely idea that writer’s block is just the feeling of writing: if the writing feels hard, maybe that’s because writing is hard, and draws from parts of you that are uncomfortable to access. Maybe I’m putting words in his mouth, but perhaps there shouldn’t be an expectation that something like this will feel delightful. Wasn’t it Muriel Spark who compared writing to taking dictation from God?
Yes. She would just sit down and start writing a book from page one, and she wouldn’t stop writing until she’d finished it.
Well, okay, great. But I don’t know anyone in my own life for whom that’s true. Instead it’s a matter of trying to remember to say to myself, ‘oh, yes, this feels uncomfortable, because it is hard, and that’s ok.’ You can feel like you don’t want to do something, and keep doing it. Don’t turn it into a war with yourself—‘I’m going to power through even though I feel like shit!’ It’s a matter of not being dictated to by your emotions and also not going to war with your emotions.
Shall we move on? Could you tell me why you recommend Diana Hunt and Pam Hait’s book The Tao of Time ?
Yes. This can be hard to get hold of. I got mine from a second-hand warehouse. But it did have a big impact on me. It’s a few decades old now.
It very deliberately takes a radically different approach to time management, and seeks to apply insights from Taoism to time management. I don’t know how canonical its take on Taoism is, but essentially it speaks to this idea that time is not something you can expect to master and dominate and dictate to, but something you have to work with as an ally rather than as a predator, as another time management guru puts it.
The Tao Te Ching , which I’m sure you’re familiar with, is full of all these images—the strong reed is the one that bends in the breeze; the wise man is like water, flowing around the pebbles in his path. That sort of thing–resilience through gracefully yielding to reality. That’s a really important insight to bring to time, I think. Because if you decide to fight time—meaning that you try to cram ever more stuff into the same amount of it, or just speed things up to do them faster than they naturally take—you’re always ultimately going to lose. There’s only one winner in a battle with time, and that’s time.
“Time is not something you can expect to master and dominate, but something you have to work with as an ally”
This basic approach of bending with time can manifest in lots of different ways. It might mean having plans for how you want the day to go, but holding them loosely and expecting them to change, or seeing them as a navigational aid for decisions in the moment, rather than a strict instruction for the future. I think it could also speak to some of the motivational things we were discussing—moving through reality and accepting things for as they are at different times, including unavoidable interruptions and maybe also your levels of motivation, that you can’t fight in the moment.
And I think probably the best way, in the long term, to have the most generative and creative relationship with time is to work with this strange phenomenon, rather than try to control it. You can take this to another level, into Heidegger territory—that it’s not merely that we can’t get on top of time and control it, or even that we have to work with it, but that in fact there isn’t a separation between us and time.
We’ve talked a bit on Five Books in the past about our experience of time, and how subjective it is, how totally interlinked with our own consciousness. As the physicist Carlo Rovelli told us , our concept of time has “more to do with the specific functioning of our brain than to the simple structure of physical reality.” But, to step back into practicalities for a moment, I wonder too if our constant fight to take control of our timetables—or at least my fight to take control of my timetable—is to do with a sort of extreme optimism over just how long things will take. Part of me just will not accept that I cannot function at maximum possible productivity every minute of every day.
Right. We start by acknowledging reality, instead of starting from some fantasy of how you think reality ought to go, and then spending your days trying to force reality into that box. When you put it like that, it’s kind of absurd, but I think we all do it all the time.
Maybe this brings us to Tiffany Dufu’s Drop the Ball: Achieve More By Doing Less.
Dufu is a writer and a leadership expert, and what I like about this book is that on the one hand, there’s something very American about it—something very ‘you can do anything that you set your mind to!’, but that on the other hand, it’s channelled through this thing that is very close to my heart—this point about accepting the truth about finitude and limitation. It also brings in the gender aspect of all this that needs mentioning—that impossible demands tend to be made in a very particular way of women .
There’s a sense in some of the classic books of time management—generally by men—that they rest on the assumption that you don’t need to worry about keeping the house that you live in clean, or that you have power to determine the length of your work day, but only because others are taking care of the kids, and so on. And even putting aside the war of the sexes aspect, there are lots of time management books that seem to assume you have secretaries or even servants to keep everything going.
“Getting more efficient at tasks just causes the standard you’re trying to reach to drift higher and higher”
This book is partly about getting men in heterosexual relationships to do their fair share, but also about the idea that, if you make an exhaustive list of all the things that you feel that are on your plate as a family, there might be a whole bunch that nobody should do at all. Hence the title.
The assumption that just because you can think of something that seems to need doing, you therefore need to find somebody with the capacity to do it—that’s what this book throws into question. There’s no reason to believe that a list of ‘things that seem to need doing’ is going to be well-fitted to human capacities to actually get things done.
There are also all kinds of weird effects built into work and efficiency—including the housework context—where getting better at them just causes the standard you’re trying to reach to drift higher and higher. There’s really fascinating work by a historian called Ruth Schwartz Cowan , about how vacuum cleaners and washing machines basically didn’t save any time at all, because the standards of cleanliness rose to offset the benefits. It soon became a moral obligation to keep the carpet spotless, because you could.
So I really like this book’s focus on finitude, and the idea that a well-lived life doesn’t involve making an arbitrarily long list of everything that could possibly need doing, then finding a way to get through it all. Clearly the message of the book, in this context, is tailored towards an audience of women. But I do think there’s a levelling between the sexes going on, in the sense that nobody is immune from these patterns of work creating more work.
I’m always slightly conflicted when books like this are explicitly marketed in a gendered way. But I agree there’s a valuable message in there, which is to embrace imperfection. I can definitely see the value of that, given the number of times I’ve discussed with female friends, especially friends with small children, the pressure they feel to have the ‘perfect birth’, ‘perfect home life’, and so on. It’s a variation on the ‘having it all’ debate, which was certainly a gendered conversation. But what I don’t know is where all this pressure to be perfect comes from, because I never see anyone suggesting that it’s actually possible.
I mean, it speaks to me too, because I do think of myself as a recovering extreme perfectionist. I’m averse to the idea that perfectionism is something to be sneakily proud of, because it totally screwed me up for a long time. It didn’t have an upside. So it might be something that more women than men feel, but I felt it!
Yes. There’s lots of value in realising that, well, not everyone irons clothes. Or, for example, I’ve recently given up on cooking. Or: I cook every night, but I’ve let go of any aspiration to cook well, in any aspirational, prepared-from-scratch kind of way. It’s just something that I don’t care about much, and neither does my partner, so it’s the first thing to slide. If we lived in a city we’d probably order in every night.
Right. I think this book is also aimed at people who can pay people to do certain things—that’s a mark of some kind of privilege. But on the other hand, there are times when the cost/benefit is the right one, and if you can afford a cleaner to come to your house, there are many contexts where that might be the most sensible way to handle your limited resources. Or, say, giving up any hope of your garden and patio ever looking like something from Homes & Gardens is really empowering, because you decided in the beginning not to succeed at that, rather than struggling to fit it in and being dismayed when you fail.
I think that might bring us to the last of the recommendations that you want to make: Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World by Iddo Landau. We spoke about this a little earlier: it’s not specifically a time management book, but I’m keen to hear why you do think it’s important to read in a time management context.
This is a book about the meaning of life, and what it’s meaningful to spend your life doing. I don’t see why that isn’t the same question as time management, in the end, because I think that’s the underlying question behind all these more specific tips and tricks and techniques.
Landau has this wonderfully down-to-earth, imperfectionist approach, which is based on criticising certain unspoken assumptions that we make about what it means to spend life meaningfully. One of the recurring themes through this book is that having a definition of meaning that most humans can’t achieve is a sort of weird, unnecessary cruelty to yourself. We are tiny little individuals on a globe of billions, tiny pinpricks of consciousness in aeons of cosmic time—so if you think you’ve got to affect that picture, to change the cosmos in some way in order for yours to count as a meaningful life, then basically none of us ever could. But it doesn’t actually need to follow that if, in 100 years’ time, nobody has any notion that I ever did anything, or even existed, then my life has been meaningless as a result.
“If you think you’ve got to change the cosmos in some way, in order for yours to count as a meaningful life, then basically none of us ever could”
Landau says, no, it’s true that in 100 or 200 years time, most of what any of us do will be forgotten, but it’s arbitrary that we’ve decided that this means it’s not meaningful. You can value things in a different way. Literature doesn’t need to reach the level of Tolstoy or Shakespeare in order to be of value, for example. If there’s only a handful of people of Shakespeare’s genius in every thousand-year span of human history, then it’s a strangely over-exacting definition of meaning to impose on yourself.
What I like about lowering the bar in this way is that it makes you see all the things you’re doing already that might be more meaningful than you’d thought. Steve Jobs urged people to ‘put a dent in the universe’. If you take that literally, even the iPhone hasn’t done than. 10,000 years from now, no-one’s going to know what an iPhone was.
When I’ve written and talked about this, some people say, well, hang on. It does matter what we do now, especially in the context of climate. I don’t think any of this means we don’t have to think about the level of planetary survival. I think what it means is, we have to have a better definition of a meaningful life—one that permits you to volunteer at your local community garden, and thereby make some tiny, miniscule contribution towards that project of planetary survival, without telling yourself it’s too small to be meaningful.
I think much of what you’re saying about this book also applies to what you’ve written in your own book as well. Could you talk about Four Thousand Weeks ?
Yes. Arrogantly enough, I suppose I think that in some ways, all these different streams of insight are synthesised in my book! What these books share, on some level, and what I tried to focus on, is the importance of confronting the implications of being finite, not being able to do everything, not being able to control time or be confident about what the future holds. And that this is ultimately not a cause for stress and despair.
There’s a potential misinterpretation of this viewpoint: life is short, so I have to fill every weekend with the most extraordinary, Instagram-worthy activities—bungee-jumping and so forth. You know, ‘seizing the day’ in a self-conscious fashion. I hope what emerges from my book is that when you let the implications of finitude permeate you a bit, it’s a relief, and liberation, because it enables you to better align your expectations for a day or a year with the reality of the situation. Not so you give up hope of doing cool things, but so you can carry out a few really important, brilliant accomplishments, instead of fruitlessly chasing an unlimited level of productivity.
That’s what all these books have in common in some way, and also with mine. Come back down to earth when it comes to time management, because that’s the only place where you can put one foot in front of the other.
September 16, 2021
Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books (or even just what you say about them) please email us at [email protected]
Oliver Burkeman is the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking (2012) and Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done (2011). His latest book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals (2021), is about making the most of our radically finite lives in a world of impossible demands and relentless distraction. You can subscribe to his twice-monthly email, The Imperfectionist , at oliverburkeman.com .
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The 21 Best Productivity Books to Read in 2023
Reading useful books is always a great way to use your time productively. It not only improves your knowledge but also helps you learn a lot more about certain topics such as productivity and time management.
Billionaires and great entrepreneurs always incorporate reading useful books into their daily or weekly routines. However, the big challenge is to find the best book for productivity that fits your needs.
Searching for the best book for productivity can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Therefore, we have prepared a list of the 21 best books for productivity and time management to help you.
1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
This book is definitely a good read. It’s considered one of the best books for productivity and time tracking and has already helped a lot of people.
It is an actionable guide that will help you learn how to train yourself to intentionally focus on a world full of distractions battling for your attention.
This book looks at the benefits of a steady work ethic and gives guidelines and training methods for concentration.
It also lays out tips for working more efficiently, including preventing interruptions, dealing with boredom, and blocking out social media to achieve ‘deep work.’
2. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
This book focuses on one thing that yields extraordinary results. It talks about our tendency to divide our attention between different tasks and ideas, not allowing us to fully develop any of them. But if we concentrate all our attention on one crucial thing, we will complete it successfully and move on to the next task.
The book discourages multitasking as it has been scientifically proven that it’s not the best option for the human brain.
To achieve extraordinary results, eliminate all things that are not essential and prioritize the remaining ones by asking yourself, ‘what is the most important?’ It is one of the best books for productivity and time tracking that you can find.
Are you unsure whether you’re wasting your time in low-impact activities?
Dive deep into how you’re using your time. Track it with Timeular.
3. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
This is one of the great books on improving time management. The book presents some of the best practices to help readers accomplish more and worry less.
The book insists on handling tasks one after the other to avoid being overwhelmed since the human brain can only store and process restricted amounts of information at a time.
It then presents a GTD system to help you organize workflows and react swiftly to prevent a pile-up.
4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
This book recognizes that we often have many goals in life but hardly ever achieve them. It then helps you realize what really is essential to accomplish them.
In most cases, we don’t make the best use of our resources, especially when it comes to time. According to the author, we can change that by learning how to prioritize and separate essentials from non-essentials.
The book discourages doing many things at the same time to avoid dividing our attention and energy. Instead, we should focus all our energy on one essential matter that will take us furthest to our goal.
It is among the greatest productivity books that encourage readers to focus on essential things only.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
It is considered one of the best productivity books. It emphasizes building good new habits to help you stay on track and, most importantly, it encourages you to define priorities and goals.
It highlights practices that distinguish more productive people from others. It teaches readers the art of taking control of every moment to avoid wasting time on inefficient methods.
Keynote: The key is not prioritizing what is on your schedule but scheduling your priorities.
6. How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks and Breaking the Procrastination Habit by S.J. Scott
It is one of the top-rated books for productivity for those people struggling with procrastination. It gives a framework for becoming action-oriented, with the author sharing his experience with procrastination and how he overcame it.
Key quote: If you are a person who procrastinates, know that this habit limits your success in many ways, and not addressing the issue means a reduced possibility of achieving your goals.
7. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
In this book, the author explains the four steps to creating habits. A habit is created by repetitive behavior. According to this book, you can use the same habit loop to eliminate unwanted habits and create desired ones.
8. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
The book revolves around the philosophy that if your job is to eat a frog, do it in the morning as the first thing, and if your job is to eat two, you should start with the biggest one.
According to the author, the best way to beat procrastination is by first handling the tasks that are demanding.
The book offers important tips to help readers, such as planning before time, breaking big tasks into smaller parts, being aware of the consequences, and using technology.
Key quote: One of the worst ways to use time is to do something well that didn’t have to be done.
9. The 4-Hour Workweek Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
It offers a step-by-step guide to help you earn a monthly five-figure income working just four hours a week. This way, you will be able to live the life you want without having to be just an extra.
The author highlights over 50 practical tips to help you live more and work less. It is among the best productivity books that sound too good to be true.
Key quote: An integral part of being a winner is being able to quit things that do not work.
10. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
The book gives a framework for structuring your day to leave more time for what matters to you. The author aims to overrule the myth of time crisis and challenge readers to start time tracking, prioritizing crucial activities, and eliminating non-essential ones.
11. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life by Dr. Jason Selk and Tom Bartow
The book outlines the eight most effective ways of optimizing your organization. It would be best to focus on process-oriented goals to allow you to get rid of bad habits and maximize your time.
12. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Zeratsky and John Knapp
This is among the most appreciated books for time tracking and management. The authors stress the importance of one priority per day and focusing all your available time and energy on it.
It shows how you can take control of your daily attention and avoid non-essential things that are not worth your time.
It describes time management as an individual’s intentional exercise that involves looking at the modern life demands and reducing them to the most essential and meaningful tasks.
13. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch
It is about using minimal effort to achieve great results. It asserts that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort.
The logic behind this good read is, being busy is not the determinant of success but rather investing most of your focus and energy in the most essential and meaningful tasks.
The book concludes that reducing time wastage, claiming more free time, and being efficient in all life aspects is actually a good way to improve productivity.
14. Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick by Wendy Wood
The author of this book explains how we can develop habits and apply the knowledge to bring desired results and changes in ourselves.
Being a psychology professor, the author explains the necessary conditions for an activity to become a habit by using numerous research.
When we want to change something about ourselves, we should use the extraordinary power of our subconscious mind and not willpower alone.
15. Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
In the current work environment, success is measured by the number of hours worked, and breaks are seen as a contradiction to work. However, being busy has nothing to do with being productive. Most people can only concentrate and be creative at work for a limited time a day.
According to this book, the brain needs rest to be able to process information and develop new ideas and new connections. For increased productivity, moderated physical activity is also necessary.
16. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker
In his book, Peter Drucker shows how one can be an effective manager, whilst developing the motivation of his employees, as well as promoting company success.
The focus of this book is achieving more effectiveness and productivity through self-management, which is an important skill not only for managers but for everyone.
For effectiveness, be clear about focusing your time, energy, resources, and priorities. According to Peter, effectiveness has no innate meaning; it can be learned. The author offers a step-by-step guide to achieving effectiveness, making it one of the best books for productivity.
17. The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey
The book revolves around creating ideal working conditions. The author carried out several experiments regarding productivity on himself and gained important knowledge about how to effectively manage time, which is what he shares in his book.
The book is a summary of techniques that have been tested that reminds readers that work is all about results and not how much time is spent.
18. Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life by Jim Kwik
The author of this book is a coach and expert on improving mental performance. His main message is that we all can improve our mental abilities limitlessly and continuously. According to him, we can all be more productive and achieve goals that seem unattainable and hence the life we desire.
It takes 3Ms, that is, methods, mindset, and motivation. The author suggests that we need to replace negative ideas with positive ones and redefine the boundaries we have set for ourselves of what is achievable and not.
The strength of this book is in the step-by-step actionable techniques for performance improvement.
19. First Things First by Stephen Covey
In my opinion, this is among the top productivity books for entrepreneurs. It discusses everything from prioritization and effective time management to organizing tasks and activities.
It is a good read for reducing stress levels and increasing productivity. It helps readers avoid procrastination by being organized and putting first things first.
20. The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
In this book, the author explains the importance of checklists in managing and organizing complex tasks. A checklist helps you avoid omitting or overlooking tasks essential to achieving your goals.
He explains that we are prone to failure because of the volume and complexity of knowledge surrounding us. For this reason, we all need a checklist. He explains what checklists are and how they will assist you in achieving your set goals.
21. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management – The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs by Kevin Kruse
Finally, in this book, the author asked 200 successful people in different fields the same question ‘what is the secret to your productivity?’ He then analyzed all the results and realized they shared 15 secrets, such as:
- Not using a to-do list
- Delegating tasks
- Doing one thing at a time
- Avoid meetings
So what is the best book for productivity after all?
It’s the one that helps you. We can’t choose only one, that is why we suggested 20 books.
Investing a few hours reading a good book will help you learn new productivity tips, skills, and techniques for achieving the desired results.
Productivity and time management are often intertwined. If you effectively manage your time, then productivity is guaranteed.
If you are still struggling with managing your time, these best books for productivity will for sure help you.
Additionally, you may be interested in time tracking , since it’s one of the best ways to improve productivity and time management. You can also use different time tracking software or some of the best time tracking apps to manage your time for productivity effectively.
You might be interested in :
- The best productivity podcasts
- The best productivity blogs
- The best productivity planners
- How to increase productivity
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