27 Best Books on Productivity and Time Management to Get Things Done!
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Since I have been making my massive collection self help book lists, my favorite section is probably this section focusing on the best books on productivity and time management
I am constantly reading about, learning new ideas and fine-tuning my personal productivity. I constantly try new things and keep abreast of many different current methods of productivity.
I consider being efficient in time management to be so important not because I love work, but the opposite. Because I want my work done, and done properly, so I can go on with enjoying my life.
This list of productivity and time management books represents the creme de' la creme of the productivity field.
It includes a pair of books by productivity "guru" David Allen (Could this list of books on productivity be complete without some of his books?)
There are quite a few good books here. If you are someone who loves productivity, I highly recommend checking out all of the ideas on this list.
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Note 1: A couple of books on this are my books. Hey, this is my list mine, I think my books are quality, why shouldn’t I include them? However, I am not talking about myself in the third person. For my own books I have excerpted reviews found on the internet.
Note 2: This list is not ordered by precedence. So the #1 spot does not mean that is the best book on the list. All 27 books have some value and are worth reading in their own right. The list is in no particular order.
27 Best Books on Productivity and Time Management
Reducing or eliminating procrastination can be one of the most important parts of becoming more productive. When you act on things immediately and system for dealing with tasks that really works- the only thing that can possibly hold you back is procrastination. This is the perfect book (and the only book) you need to read to learn to deal with procrastination.in their pro
An excellent guide on how to stop procrastinating. Scott skillfully mixes specific lessons and guidelines with stories from his life or scientific research conclusions. Full of practical and actionable advice. This book is not simply preaching to the reader about the “evils” of procrastination, it gives steps to stop procrastination and reinforces the lessons with specific training.
By the way, S.J. is a practitioner of what he preaches, and I consider this to be one of the strongest points of the book. His experience simply shines through the pages. He applied everything in his life. Theoretical ruminations are cut to the bone. This is no-nonsense advice: do this, then do this, and after do that.
One of the most complete books on procrastination. It goes far beyond talking about “why” we procrastinate and focuses, with laser-like precision on how we can stop procrastination.
2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
In this productivity book, David Allen makes a compelling argument that people's productivity is directly related to their ability to relax. When people are able to clear their mind, they can organize their thoughts and be productive and creative.
After reading this book, readers will be able to reassess their goals, delegate tasks to other people, plan projects, overcome anxiety, and be confident about their work. This book references fundamental principles and proven tricks to help change the way people work to create efficiency as well as success.
While some have found that this book is a little long, it has also helped people pinpoint the problems with their methods of getting things accomplished. This book is written in a simple and clear way and is especially great for people who are struggling with how to be productive in this chaotic world.
Getting Things Done is a modern classic book on productivity. Read any of the many Getting Things Done Reviews on the internet and you will discover many faithful followers of this system. There have even been user created, Getting Things Done systems made to work with the top productivity apps like Evernote and Todoist.
Personally, I do not exactly follow the Getting Things Done system step-by-step but I have rather cherry picked and modified some of the best ideas to my lifestyle. But that is part of what makes this book great. Even though I don’t use it (exactly) I feel like I learned much about increasing productivity from its pages.
I would consider this a “must read” for anyone interested in increasing personal productivity and time management.
3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
In this book, Covey presents a holistic approach that is based on fundamental principles to solve both personal and professional problems. He offers both insights and anecdotes to give the reader a step-by-step guide for living with principles that give people the confidence to adapt to change and the knowledge and power to see the possible opportunities that change presents.
Readers have found this book to be powerful and engaging. It is full of "ah-ha" moments that readers can easily connect to their everyday lives. The practical information provided in this book present challenges to the reader to help shift their thinking and therefore their everyday actions.
This book helps readers harness the internal spark that is telling them that they can do better. It is about looking at the bright side of things and learning how much a great attitude can benefit you. People love this book because it teaches them that they are in control of their own lives.
Brian Tracy time management tips are always valuable. He is a great writer and could probably have a few books on this list of the best time management books. (He has other books in other sections of my entire best self help books list.)
Eat that Frog focuses on doing the most challenging task of your day first thing in the morning to get it over with. Whichever task that you think you are most likely to procrastinate doing, but also the task that could have the best impact on your life, get it done. This way, you will know that you have already finished the most difficult thing for the day.
The example used in this from an old quote from Mark Twain, where he says that if you Eat a Frog first thing every morning, you can be sure that will be the worst thing to happen to you all day long.
In this case, the “Frog” is just a stand in for whatever your most dreaded and difficult task for the day is. If you get that task done first, the rest of the days tasks will come easily.
Eat That Frog! is a great tool to help people organize their schedules so they do not procrastinate on important things. It helps people get things done more efficiently and done in the right way.
Readers love the high-energy style that Brian Tracy uses in this book. This style helps get to the core of what he finds to be most important in time management. The reader will walk away from this productivity book knowing that the purpose of time-management skills and being efficient is to allow you to spend more real time with the people you care about as well as doing things that really make you happy. This is a quick read that gets right to the point without adding any fluff.
5. The One Minute To-Do List: Quickly Get Your Chaos Completely Under Control by Michael Linenberger
This book is geared toward people who are overwhelmed by their work and life. While everyone has made a to-do list before, many people have then ignored the exact lists that they make for themselves. This book presents an easy way to write an effective to-do list, avoid common to-do list mistakes and allow yourself to focus on the right things. The things that really need to be accomplished
Readers have found that this task management book is very helpful if you are trying to get organized. It is a quick and easy read that is well worth the investment if you are finding that your list of things to do is getting unmanageable.
This productivity book details the success habit that people need to adopt in order to overcome the lies that block success, beat things in life that steal precious time and leverage their purpose, priorities, and productivity.
Readers have found that this book helps you live with a purpose rather than being reactive to in order to just make it through the day. The author teaches the reader to build a vision and then focus on just one thing at a time in order to be more productive.
Some people find the concept of this time management book to be a little slow and simple. Frankly you may not need to read it to get something out of the idea. Focus on ONE THING. The thing that truly matters and learn to ignore the fluff that tries to complicate your life.
Of course, there is more to it than that, but that is the basics of what this book teaches. Frankly, I find this to be revolutionary. One of those ideas that is simple, yet powerful. Like the invention of the wheel. Simple. But the power of what can be done with a simple idea is greatly magnified from the core idea.
While I admit the idea is simple, and the book may not have much more that is “new” for the reader, the way the point is driven home about the power of the ONE THING is excellent. This is one of my all time personal favorites and I find myself thinking about its techniques all the time in my daily productivity.
7. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker
The Effective Executive is one of the best time management books you can read. But it is so much more than that. Productivity & time management are keys to this book. But it also touches on entrepreneurship, leadership, management and much more.
The key thrust of this book is managing time. That is why I consider it such an important book on time management. Every good manager is going to have time be his major constraint. There is not enough of it to go around, and making the most of the time available is essential to success. Hard work is just not enough, it is necessary to be working at the stuff that is the most important. This is the “getting the right things done” that Drucker talks about in the title.
According to the book it is also essential to:
If you are in a leadership position, or want to be in a leadership position in your career, this book should be a “must read” as it lays out needed traits for any manager or executive.
8. 168 hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
While everyone has dreams of accomplishing goals, traveling to new places, and spending quality time with their friends and family, time always seems to run out. People are often either making excuses or sacrifices in order to do everything they need to do.
In this time management book, Laura Vanderkam details her interviews with dozens of successful and happy people that made her realize that how you allocate your time has a huge impact on your overall wellbeing.
Rather than allowing everyday tasks to get in the way of important things, it is best to start by making sure you have time for the more important things. This way, if you run out of time, your smaller priorities will be the ones that get left undone. The author teaches the reader that with a little examination and prioritizing, it is possible to get a full night's sleep, exercise on a regular basis, and take time for your hobbies without giving up the quality time you need for your career, family, and other important things in life.
The Vanderkam offers great advice and shows clear, real-life examples of how people use their time efficiently. She makes a clear argument of why readers have more time on their hands than they may think.
Are struggling with email management, especially if you use Microsoft Outlook for Windows. If so this book will appeal to you.
Unlike many books on this list, this productivity book focuses on a very narrow and specific problem and solution. If you are not an Microsoft outlook user, this book is practically worthless. But if you do have outlook and have some issues with email, the value of this book is enormous.
The upside is strong enough I felt I had to include this wonderful book on my list, even though it does not apply to all readers.
If your inbox is seemingly out of control, this book offers a new and better way to manage your email. The system described in this book uses several of the tips for improved productivity that were made famous in David Allen's Getting Things Done. This book also uses a website and Youtube videos to help the reader get the most out of it.
Readers have found this book to not only be a productivity enhancer, but also a stress reducer. This book gives the reader a straightforward guide on how to set up your email to take control of your tasks that are derived from emails as well as self-imposed tasks. The author proposes a very helpful dashboard structure as well.
Master your Workday Now presents its readers with new and profound strategies for achieving greatness in your career and personal life. Linenberger argues that work is essentially a mental game that you can take control over. You just have to apply a practical mental model of work, which he refers to as the "Workday Now." These strategies will result in a well-managed and successful day at work.
Readers have found that this book is fast-moving and practical. It is full of helpful ideas to allow you to learn how to improve focus, concentrate harder, and get more things accomplished faster than you have before.
The strategies offered are easy to apply to your everyday life, yet they offer fabulous results.
11. Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life by David Allen
In this highly anticipated sequel to Getting Things Done, Allen provides the reader with a roadmap to not only determine where you are in life right now but also directions on how to get to your goal destination. Allen revisits his simple yet complete system of organizing life in order to make progress in your personal and professional development. He gets down to details such as planning a vacation, hiring a babysitter, and even arranging medical care for an aging parent.
Allen argues that the process of a systematic and complete inventory of one's current commitments can sharpen focus and help people make wiser decisions. The methods in this book will help the reader develop the self-confidence to trust their own solutions. Readers are taught how to obtain control and perspective by organizing their tasks and goals.
Some readers have found that there is actually very little new information in this book that was not covered in the author's previous book, Getting Things Done. However, that book had great information and lessons so this might be the right book for you if you missed out on the author's first book but are looking for a way to organize your life. Even as just a refresher with a new perspective on older ideas, this is wonderful time management book.
12. To-Do List Makeover: A Simple Guide to Getting the Important Things Done by Steve Scott
This is a great book for people who find themselves procrastinating a lot and are never able to complete their list of things to do for the day. While anyone can write a to-do list, the difficult part is creating a list of actionable items that can fit into your busy life.
Often, people make lists that are a disorganized mess of things to get done, things they want, things they need, and just some random ideas. Then they wonder why they are just spinning their wheels in life.
The solution this book offers to this problem is to rethink how you manage your life. This book provides the reader with a step-by-step guide to writing to-do lists that will encourage you to actually make progress with your tasks.
Readers have found that this book gets right to the point and is very motivational. Readers also appreciate how Scott makes references to other professionals in the field who can assist people with their productivity issues.
A thorough book that covers every single aspect of making and actually using “to-do lists” in a simple and easy to read manner.
13. 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman
18 Minutes explains how busy people can get rid of the distractions in their lives that keep them from focusing on key tasks that are top priorities. Bregman argues that the best way to get rid of interruptions is to create productive distractions. Readers should walk away from this book being able to navigate through the chaos of constant emails and phone calls that come in throughout the day and spend more time focusing on things that are important.
This book is unique because it uses both first-person insights as well as case studies to help get the reader on the right track in 18 minutes or less. This book is intensely smart and very readable, making it a practical guide to boosting effectiveness and overall satisfaction with life.
According to those who follow this system, the 18 minute template works like a charm for those who follow it. It is well worth a look if you are interesting in improving productivity and time management.
14. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath
Research shows that people's decisions are influenced by biases and irrationalities. People are overconfident and only look for information that supports us while dismissing information that doesn’t. People get distracted by their emotions and have trouble making choices.
So how can people improve upon this flaw? This book offers a four-step process to get rid of these biases. This book uses real-life stories, strategies, and practical tools to help people make better choices.
This productivity book is written in an engaging and readable style that is powerful enough to make a lasting impression on the reader. Readers appreciate the fact that the authors never stray from their main point and every story and example they present in the book relates back to their proven model.
15. Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System by Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta is the master of minimalism. He is one of the first, and most prominent people to start the conversation on how minimalism can be a driving force in productivity.
It is my opinion that this is Babauta’s best book on the subject of personal productivity. Zen to Done aims to help people organize tasks to keep a structured workday, keep their workspace clear, and how to focus without being distracted.
Written for people who want to get organized, this might be the right book for you if you are willing to execute the tasks on your to-do list and change your existing habits.
One of the best things about this book is that it offers a habit-changing technique that is effective in any area of your life.
Some have found that this book is a combination of Getting Things Done and Franklin Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book provides a practical way of putting various principles that have been mentioned in other books into place. The author practices what he preaches, which brings even more validity to this book.
16. Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg
Charles Duhigg is a bestselling author who wrote one of my all time favorite books, The Power of Habit. What Duhigg did for habits and habit change in that book, he is trying to do for productivity in this new book. I believe he mostly succeeds. This book is not as revolutionary as habits but it has some really good about the science of productivity and not only gives some great productivity tips, but explains in detail, why these productivity ideas work.
Smarter, Faster Better looks at the science behind productivity and why managing your method of thinking is more important than the things that actually go through your head. Eight key productivity concepts are presented in this book that explain why some people are able to get so much more accomplished than others.
This productivity book is backed by a lot of research, including findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics. The author also details the experiences of successful people and talks about how the way they view the world and their choices has made all the difference in their success.
One of the most useful parts of this book is the appendix of real-world lessons that is included that can be applied directly to your life. Readers have found that this book has made them more efficient in their personal and professional lives and this one book could take the place of several other productivity books on the market.
This book is well written, relatable, enjoyable and easy to read, yet it still present some profound ideas on increasing productivity.
17. How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do by Graham Allcott
Productivity Ninja asserts the fact that traditional time-management methods are not effective. In our era of information overload, we need more powerful tools to help us stay productive and be successful. This book provides the reader with effective tips and techniques to learn how to work smarter and get things done faster.
Graham Allcott has filtered the most effective wisdom from hundreds of business seminars and put them into this little book to help people get organized, de-clutter their minds, desks, and inboxes, and become calmer and more productive.
Taken as a whole, this book creates a well-rounded manual to improve your work methods. the author uses analogies and simple techniques to teach readers how to get work done in advance so when the deadline comes around, all the work needs is a few finishing touches.
18. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
This book might be right for you if you often feel like you need to declutter your life, you don't have enough time to get things finished, you feel overworked, and you often find yourself to be very busy, yet you don't get anything accomplished.
Essentialism focuses on getting the right things done. It offers a systematic discipline for determining what tasks are absolutely essential and eliminating everything else. This allows people to spend the most time on things that matter.
By asking the reader to define what is necessary, the pursuit of doing fewer things empowers people to reclaim control of lives, time, and energy instead of giving other people permission to choose.
This is a great book for leaders, managers, and people who want to do less, but better.
This book marks the beginning of a movement towards people focusing on the things that they do best and leaving the rest to other people, something I firmly agree with.
19. Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done by David Allen
In this book, David Allen shows readers how to do better work without working harder. Allen based this book on his popular e-newsletter to give readers 52 ways to prepare their minds for creativity, focus, create structures, and take action.
In many ways this book is simply a collection of great productivity ideas.
Readers will learn how to get things done using less effort and being less stressed after reading this book. It is written with wit and inspiration, which allows this book to be an easy read. It also has an energetic tone that is motivational to the reader. This is a great book for people who want to do their very best work and live their very best life at the same time.
Readers have found that David Allen is able to make the challenges of productivity both understandable and manageable. His practical pointers are simple and practical to apply to anyone's everyday life.
If you have been looking for an app that will help you get your life together, this might be the right book for you. Evernote will help you start to get things done easily with an actionable guide that has been effective for hundreds of people.
Evernote is a great tool to help you manage your life's clutter. This book will teach you how to leave your disorganized days behind and put all of your documents, thoughts, and plans into one place.
Master Evernote teaches the reader everything from the basics of the app to the advanced tools that you can use. It is a great book for people who are new to Evernote as well as people who have been using it for a while already. Readers have found this book to be both inspirational and comprehensive including technical expertise and easy, actionable advice.
People have said that they wished they had this book before beginning to use Evernote. It saves a lot of time for people who try to go into Evernote blindly and have to research each tool it offers on their own. Readers especially love how this book and app have allowed them to go paperless and organize their research.
This is a great book for people who are struggling with their work-life balance. It teaches the reader how to maximize their time while working so they can focus only on the task at hand, leaving the rest of your time free to do the things you love. It also teaches readers how to be able to take any feelings of guilt out of their time off from work.
This is a practical, easygoing, and action-oriented book that explains how to use your time wisely without giving up your social life and freedom outside of work. The authors use examples from their own lives to teach the reader their tactics. After reading this book, you will be equipped with productivity hacks, scheduling ideas, how to do "prework", and steps to make productive habits quickly.
Readers have found that this book gets directly to the point without adding in fluff for length. It is great for anyone from students to CEOs who have trouble managing their work-life balance.
This is a great book for people who don't know where to get started when it comes to focusing their concentration, ending procrastination, and developing better time management skills. What makes this book unique from others is that it includes many detailed and powerful tips, tricks, and techniques to help you take charge of your life. The author presents seven crucial laws of productivity that people must learn in order to be successful.
Cagneey clearly explains to the reader how to learn to focus, develop willpower, and become motivated. He helps people learn how to take initiative, achieve their highest goals, and manage your life productively.
This book can be applied to any area of your life, including your diet, your attitude, and your success. The author focuses on the tools that work to help readers achieve more than they have ever been able to each day.
Readers have said that what makes this book so useful is that it uncovers hidden activities that come together to create a human habit. People have found that this book creates a positive change because the analysis is easy to understand and adaptable.
This entertaining book details how people can be more productive in their everyday lives, both at work and at home. In The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey details his journey on a year-long series of productivity experiments that he did himself. Through his extreme project, he learned how to increase the quality and quantity of his work.
After reading this book, you will learn how to slow down in order to work more deliberately, get rid of tasks that are not important, stop trying to be a perfectionist, keep yourself from distractions, and how to procrastinate productively. This book is both eye-opening and engaging and will help you accomplish more work in less time.
Readers have found that this book is laid out in a very helpful way, allowing people to skip around to read chapters that are most applicable to their lives. Each chapter also includes an estimated amount of time that it should take to read, so you know ahead of time how long you should expect to spend on that chapter. There are a lot of takeaways in this book that are easy to apply to life right away.
24. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss
Tribe of Mentors is a compilation of ideas from some of the world's most successful people on a variety of topics.
It is great for people who are questioning their path in life or are looking to start new or get a new sense of motivation. Some of the subjects that this book addresses include effective morning routines, the best purchases you can make that are less than $100, how to achieve a work-life balance, and how to sort through all of the information that you take in every day.
This book is not 100% about productivity and time management, but enough of the ideas of the experts in this book touch on these subjects to make it a valuable read for people wanting to become more productive.
Some readers dislike the format of this book. It doesn't have a flow or have an obvious sense of order, rather it is the responses he got from people he reached out to when asking these questions. This seems to make the book a bit choppy.
However, it is still full of useful information that can relate to a lot of people. While not every reader will be able to relate to every part of this book, there is something in this book for every reader.
Lots of interesting stuff in this book. Even the stuff unrelated to productivity and time management is still fun and educational. Great lessons from the world’s most famous and most successful people.
This is a great book for people who are looking to learn how to maximize their time and be more productive while still having some extra free time at the end of the day. In this book, Kruse presents the extraordinary findings of a study he performed on extremely productive people. Based on his research and interviews with people who have found success, Kruse reveals what the secrets are to having extreme productivity.
After reading this book, you will be able to get rid of your to-do lists, stop procrastinating, reduce stress, reduce emails, run meetings effectively, and move past social media distractions.
Readers have found that one thing that makes this book especially valuable is that it focuses on the one thing that everyone has, which is time management issues. Through the lessons of successful people, readers can learn how to use their time in a way that works for them. Time is a valuable resource that can never be regained after it is lost, so it benefits everyone to learn how to use their time wisely. This is a quick and easy read that includes valuable resources for the reader.
26. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The author of this book makes the argument that what makes an experience truly satisfying is a state of consciousness referred to as "flow". During this time, people are able to experience deep enjoyment, complete involvement, and creativity. This book helps the reader understand how this positive state of mind can be controlled. Readers learn that by putting the information in order that enters their consciousness, they can find true happiness and improve their quality of life.
Readers have found that this book opens up a worthy discussion. Although it is a bit dry at times, it helps people understand how they can enjoy their lives more. This is a great book for anyone who is looking for happiness and has been unsuccessful so far.
27. Becoming the 1%: how to master time management and rise to the top in 7 days by Dennis Crosby
This short time management book is not full of new ideas. It is not an original book with fresh thoughts. But that is part of its charm.
It is a compilation of many of the popular thoughts on time management, all organized and collected in the same place. It is not original, but the ideas are great. Crosby has done the work of reading through much of the fluff in many of the books about time management and presents us with a quick encapsulation of just the best time-proven ideas.
This book is formatted to present the seven principles of time management. These are the keys, according to Crosby, for anyone who wants to be successfully productive.
He talks about goal setting, limiting work to essential tasks and features a specific productivity method that revolutionized his own life.
If you are looking to find out a lot of ideas about time management and want to discover these tips as quickly as possible, this may be the perfect book for you.
A Smarter You in 15 Minutes?
If you enjoy reading nonfiction books, then I encourage you to
check out the Blinkist app.
Blinkist is an interesting concept...
Blinkist summarized over 2,000 of the bestselling books and put them into condensed 7 to 15 minute reads (or “blinks”). The idea here is to give you the key insights and important lessons -- without wasting your time on pointless information.
Blinkist book summaries are perfect for anyone who wants to maximize those random moments when you have to kill time. Like when you want to kill time before an appointment or you’re standing on a long line at Starbucks.
You can use Blinkist to complete a book daily, learn the valuable lessons, and avoid the fluff that often pad longer books.
A final word on the best time management and productivity books
Hopefully you enjoyed this list of the top productivity and time management books. There are many great books on this list. All with important things to say about some facet of productivity and time management.
In the comments below I hope you will share YOUR favorite time management book and productivity books. I have read many more books than what is on this list, but I have certinaly not read every word written on the subject.
I am constantly updating my self-help book lists, and one of the ways I do that is by reading book recommendations from readers and possibly including their choices when I update these lists in the future.
So please share your favorite productivity and time management books in the comment below.
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