15 Best Books on Procrastination & Overcoming Laziness
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Have you ever procrastinated something important?
Chances are you have. Most people procrastinate from time-to-time. Often on things that are really important.
The differences between a true procrastinator and the occasional “slip-up” lays somewhere between the frequency of procrastination and the importance of what is procrastinated.
This article showcases the 15 best books on procrastination. These procrastination books will break down exactly what procrastination is (and what it is not). They will also show you how to get the better of procrastination tendencies and get more done in less time.
We procrastinate because we fear failure, feel we have no control, fear success, fear separation, are unsure of parameters or just daunted at the scope of the task.
Procrastination is rarely merely from “laziness”.
Unless you are one of the 1% of the population who never puts off tasks when they should not, there are great procrastination books that will help give you to the tools to accomplish many tasks without procrastination.
(Side note: If you're looking for something great to read related to your career or business, then join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE!)
Before you dig into the list, check out some of the basic ways to overcome procrastination. Understanding these basics will help make what you read in many of these books more effective at controlling your procrastination.
What You Will Learn
- 1. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
- 2. How to Stop Procrastinating by Steve Scott
- 3. Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change by Timothy A. Pychyl
- 4. The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done by Piers Steel
- 5. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Dr. Neil Fiore
- 6. Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time by Rory Vaden
- 7. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- 8. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- 9. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh Macleod
- 10. Getting Things Done:The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
- 11. The Science of Overcoming Procrastination by Patrick King
- 12. The Procrastination Cure: 21 Proven Tactics For Conquering Your Inner Procrastinator, Mastering Your Time, And Boosting Your Productivity! by Damon Zahariades
- 13. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkamnp
- 14. 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman
- 15. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson
- A Smarter You in 15 Minutes?
- Are there procrastination books missing from this list?
1. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
Eat that Frog is one of the new classic books on procrastination.
“Eating your Frog” refers to accomplishing your Most Important Tasks during the day instead of trying to accomplish everything on your to-do list.
This is based on an old saying explaining that if you eat a live frog each morning as soon as you wake up, you can start the day knowing that the worst thing is over and you can move on.
This is a metaphor for finishing your most challenging, yet most impactful, tasks first so you can get them out of the way. This book shows the reader how to organize their days to accomplish critical tasks efficiently and effectively.
This procrastination book is both concise and powerful. It presents the reader with simple principles and exercises to help boost productivity and accomplish long-term goals. A lot of this book includes motivational tactics that are not necessarily revolutionary, but they are written in a fun and interactive way to help the reader be engaged in the process and become motivated to follow in the author's footsteps.
I find this to be one of the most impactful techniques to fight procrastination and is a core strategy I build my own day around. If you have not read this (quick) book on procrastination and are not familiar with the idea. I highly recommend checking out Brian Tracy’s classic procrastination book.
My only critique of Tracy’s book is that it is mainly geared towards people who work in a conventional office. However, procrastination happens everywhere, and how to stop procrastinating at home is not the same as stopping procrastination at work.
2. How to Stop Procrastinating by Steve Scott
How to Stop Procrastinating is designed to be the ultimate guide to creating good habits to defeat procrastination.
The idea is procrastination often stems having bad systems in place. Once you take care of creating systems combat different forms of procrastination it becomes highly unlikely to put things off.
This book approaches procrastination all of its different aspects. Because there is a difference between procrastinating about building a fence in your backyard and completing an important project at work.
This book gives the entire approach to creating anti-procrastination habits. It shows how to design these habits. It shows how to link these anti-procrastination habits to existing habits to make the process stopping progress and if little bit easier.
This procrastination book even helps you to avoid being overwhelmed by too many ideas, by always taking the time to showcase the simplest (and most effective) techniques to combating procrastination.
This book is everything you need to know about procrastination, in a single book. If you want just one book to give you all the tricks and hacks for stopping procrastination, this is the book for you.
3. Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change by Timothy A. Pychyl
This book offers a concise explanation and guide to why people procrastinate and what they can do to stop.
With the inclusion of current psychological research and clear strategies to help make a change, this book helps readers stop their self-destructive habits and become more accomplished.
With humor sprinkled throughout this book, it is an easy and entertaining way to learn some practical tips for making a positive change. One of the best things about this book is that it is a quick and easy read, which is helpful for people who are looking to learn how to stop procrastinating in the first place.
Another especially useful thing is that it explains the cognitive and behavioral biases that are behind the habit of procrastination. While it might not be full of nitty gritty details, it gives a great overview and guide for entrepreneurs, students, parents, or anyone who wants to stop their habit of delaying their work and start living a more productive life.
This procrastination book focuses on the fact that it is not really about procrastination but creating habits to make your life easier. For example, this may be keeping tools available for recording your thoughts and ideas as soon as they come to mind so you do think about anything besides the task at hand. It also offers techniques for organizing tasks.
4. The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done by Piers Steel
In this book about procrastination, Dr. Piers Steel sets out to free his readers of procrastinating using a mix of psychology, research, biology, and self-help tools. His tried and true method helps his readers identify and understand their self-destructive habits and live a more productive life. This book will teach you how to stop making excuses and start living your best life by diving into things that are relevant and helpful for you in the long run.
While this book does not come with the magic answer of how to get past a bad habit of procrastination, it provides the reader with tools and motivations to help get them started. The reader then has to implement these methods in order for the book to be effective. There is a lot of history in this book about procrastination that may take away from the overall message at times, but it still has a lot of really powerful tools for the reader to use.
One of the best messages that is relayed in this book is that procrastination is not about perfectionism, rather it has a lot more to do with being impulsive. With the use of humor, the author writes the book as if he is having a conversation with the reader, which makes it a joy to read.
5. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Dr. Neil Fiore
The Now Habit is a book that recognizes that work is something you need to accomplish and then move away from. The main point of the book is not accomplishing 8 billion tasks, but understanding the difference between the tasks that need to be accomplished and those that don’t.
Cut free those tasks that don’t matter. Get the stuff that matters done and then move onto the things in life that you enjoy.
It is as much about reducing stress and anxiety of your day-to-day tasks as it is about giving you a blueprint to decrease procrastination.
Dr. Fiore wants you to take the perfect out of perfectionism and realize that good enough is good enough and move on.
6. Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time by Rory Vaden
This is a simple book that is able to get its message across in a powerful way. The author talks about five permissions that allow us to do our best work without stress and in a timely manner. The author urges to teach the reader to eliminate, automate, delegate, consolidate and procrastinate properly.
This guide teaches readers how to decrease their stress levels while still accomplishing all of their tasks. This book is written for people who are more advanced in their careers and are able to delegate tasks to other people, but it still has some great insight for people who are just starting off in their career. It is a great book for people who have a business career, and although some of the points may seem redundant or obvious, they are a great reminder.
It is important to note that this book is written from a Christian perspective, which may not be right for everyone. This is not made clear at the beginning, so it is good to note before starting this book.
7. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
The goal of this book is to teach the reader how to master the art of Deep Work so they can achieve great results. Deep work refers to the ability to focus on something without any outside distraction. This skill allows you to master complicated tasks and achieve better results in a short amount of time.
In our increasingly competitive society, many people are unable to do Deep Work because of the constant distractions from technology and social media. In this book, Newport turns this concept around to talk about the impact of our connected age. Rather than saying distraction is bad, he talks about the potential of its opposite.
In this two-part book, the author begins by making the argument that having a Deep Work ethic will produce great benefits. Secondly, he presents a training regimen for transforming your habits to support the skill of Deep Work.
This well-written book is useful from the start. The author wastes no time in supplying the reader with irrelevant information. This might be a great book for you if you find that the distractions in your life are what is keeping you from accomplishing your goals or getting work done in a timely manner.
8. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Unlike other books, this book does not focus on getting more accomplished in less time. Rather, it’s about only doing the things that matter. The author offers a systematic discipline for figuring out what is essential and eliminating the things that are not so you can leave all of your brain power for the things that truly matter.
Being able to determine what is essential empowers people to reclaim control of their lives instead of allowing other people to make those choices. Following the tips and tricks in this book, the reader will walk away being able to eliminate things from their life that do not add to the progress of their final goal.
This is a very useful read for leaders, managers, and people who want to declutter the tasks in their lives so they can focus more on what is important. This book does not read like a self-help book, as it talks in a clear and straightforward manner urging the reader to simplify their life, thinking, and purpose.
It shows the reader that allowing to give distractions the attention that they are looking for (such as checking email or scrolling down social media pages) they fill up your life for you instead of you making the decision about what is important.
One of the best things about this book is it takes some common-sense ideas and brings them to the reader's attention. While the ideas are easy to understand, they are also easy to forget in our busy lives.
9. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh Macleod
This book is an easy read because it's sectioned, meaning you can read it front to back or pick it up in the middle and read a short section. The author creates a powerful and honest book that makes strong points about creativity and success.
The realistic advice offered in this book is from the author's personal experiences as well as professional expertise. If you are able to really enjoy doing what you do and focus on your craft without the stress of having to make a lot of money off of it, you are destined for success. One of the main points that the author makes is that stress kills creativity.
This procrastination book is full of fun doodles and witty cartoons, making it an easy and entertaining read. While some of the information may seem obvious, it is an entertaining and motivating book.
10. Getting Things Done:The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
David Allen’s book on productivity is not strictly a book about procrastination. It is primarily about systematizing your life and accomplishing as much as possible from your efforts.
This is the core of productivity. But it is also one of the best solutions to procrastination. Often people procrastinate not due to laziness, but because they do not have a firm system in place to tell them how and when to work on specific tasks.
Due to this fact many people will put off the tasks they don’t fully like, understand or feel comfortable about.
So when you use a dispassionate system like David Allen’s GTD system, the instance of procrastination is naturally going to greatly decrease. Without even having to think about procrastination.
See some more books on productivity that will give you some backdoor insight into creating systems that will simply keep you too busy to have time to procrastinate.
11. The Science of Overcoming Procrastination by Patrick King
It is not simply a book about procrastination. It gives lots of great tips for focus, productivity, procrastination and getting things accomplished.
This book aims to teach the reader how to get more done in less time. Self-motivation is a difficult trait to have, so this book offers hacks, systems, tips, and external motivators to encourage success and productivity.
Using information from years of practice and research, the author is able to communicate how to be a high-performer and achieve long-term goals quickly. This short book has many useful tips on how to beat procrastination and increase productivity.
While some parts of the book may seem a bit repetitive and some of the offered tips are tailored to the author himself, there is a lot of room for interpretation for the reader to apply the tips to his or her own situation.
Not every reader will find every single tip in this book to be useful, but there are more than enough great tips to make it a very worthwhile read. Every tip may not be for everyone, but there IS a tip for everyone, that you may not have thought of, whether you are a newcomer to productivity or master.
Learn to cut the unnecessary out of your life and focus on the things that really matter.
12. The Procrastination Cure: 21 Proven Tactics For Conquering Your Inner Procrastinator, Mastering Your Time, And Boosting Your Productivity! by Damon Zahariades
In “The Procrastination Cure” the reader is presented with a complete guide to overcoming procrastination. The author describes operational tactics that can be slowly adopted in order to reach the final goal of getting work done in a timely manner.
One of the most important approaches in this book is to slowly make small steps toward finishing any daunting task. The author goes over time-based mini-steps to help the reader dissolve any resistance to getting work done and instead, working to continue performing the necessary task. This approach is an important technique in overcoming procrastination.
The advice in this book is legitimate, however, is a bit repetitive at times. It offers useful information stemming from the author's personal experiences though, so it is definitely a helpful book for readers who are looking for a personal and inside perspective on overcoming procrastination.
13. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkamnp
Focusing on time management, this book describes how everyone has the same amount of time each week and it is how you choose to spend that time that matters. This book serves as a great motivation to focus your time more wisely so you can do more important things in life.
The author offers great advice and gives some useful examples of people using their time as effectively as possible. For example, people often discredit the hours after work and weekend hours when thinking about the little amount of time they have to accomplish all of their goals. The author works to disprove this idea and shows the reader how much time is really available and what can be done with it.
The topic material seems to be particularly aimed at women, though the material is interesting for anyone. The author uses data to break down the hours in a day and the normal daily activities that people do to show how time spent often does not advance long term goals. She includes case studies illustrating people who seemingly have it all and how they manage their time to do it.
This is a useful book for anyone who feels like they don't have enough time to finish everything they want to do and they are looking for some ways to delegate tasks out and use every hour of the day effectively.
14. 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman
This book shows readers how busy people are able to sort through the daily clutter and common distractions to hone in on important things that are the top priorities in life. The author makes the argument that creating one's own productive distractions can take the place of distracting interruptions that keep people from being productive. His approach shows the reader how to navigate through constant emails, texts, calls, and meetings that distract our focus from the things that are actually important.
This concise procrastination book stems from years of personal experience from the author as well as well-tested principles. One of the best things about this book is that the advice given can be used right away. With the use of short stories to help the reader remember the tips that are provided, this is a fun and easy book to read that offers some long-term payoffs.
The reader will walk away from this book realizing that they will likely never get everything done that they want to, which is what makes prioritizing tasks so important. Sometimes it is best to cross things off of your to do list that you know will never get done.
Slight Edge offers a way of thinking that allows the reader to make decisions every day that will lead to success. It demonstrates how some people are able to accomplish all of their goals while others spend their lives dreaming of happiness for themselves while building it for other people.
The author describes a way of thinking that can impact one's choices every day and end in success. With lots of good advice and genuine reminders for the reader to achieve goals in every area of life, this book is an easy and encouraging read.
The layout is easy to follow and simple to understand. As the name implies, making only slight choices throughout your day can cause a ripple effect to push you over the edge and lead you to a successful life. The book is a bit repetitive and long-winded in places, but it definitely drives the point home that success can be achieved by repeating mini disciplines and taking small and increasing steps.
A Smarter You in 15 Minutes?
If you enjoy reading about happiness, you may enjoy many other nonficrion self help books. If you do 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.
Are there procrastination books missing from this list?
Or books that should be taken off the list?
Please share your thoughts on dealing with procrastination and how the books on this list can (or cannot) help you to get more done in the comments below.
If you have favorite books about procrastination please share them in the comments below, so that others can get your insight.
If you want to read more great books please take a look at the complete list of some of the best nonfiction books that can make a huge impact on your life:
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(Finally, If you'd like to start your morning on the “right foot” then join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE!)