20 Best Time-Management Books for Your 2020 Reading List

time-management books

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It’s the turn of the decade. What could be a better way to celebrate than to learn about how to create more time? True, we can’t actually create more time — but we can create the illusion of having more by learning how to manage it better. One of the best ways to learn how to manage your time is by reading tips from the experts. To make sure you don’t waste your time on mediocre books, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best time management books for 2020. Some are classics; others are new but highly acclaimed.

1. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day

A play on the common refrain of demanding bosses, this aptly-named book offers a blueprint for those looking to go beyond to-do lists. Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky break down productivity into bite-sized lifestyle shifts and productivity hacks. In addition, they offer solutions to help you focus on what matters.

2. The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Many time management books talk about lists, schedules, work style, and lifestyle. In contrast, New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores what’s happening in the brain when we face endless details. From mental fatigue caused by making too many decisions to physical fatigue, this book introduces research on how to manage your mind from a neuroscience perspective.

3. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism isn’t a concept but a movement. Piggybacking off the minimalist movement, Greg McKeown focuses on how to choose the right tasks, not just how to get more done. He addresses interruptions, cluttered schedules, and the ability to say no. This book is quickly becoming a handbook for entrepreneurs, particularly creatives.

4. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

Many people struggle to find time to complete everything in a mere 24 hours. Laura Vanderkam will guide you through an audit of your everyday life and you’ll discover the truest time suck: not realizing where you actually spend your time. This will free you up to regain control and spend the precious minutes of your life just as you want.

5. Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving

The observation that we fill our lives up by design has led award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee to examine how we can shift our focus to stop self-sabotaging and put living ahead of doing. This book will also help you improve productivity through a new way of approaching how you live and the choices you make.

6. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

There are several classics in the productivity genre — this is one of them. This book is a must-have for anyone who wants to achieve more with their time and their life. It offers workplace perspectives and proven principles for productivity. David Allen wrote this book for everyone, not just executives and creatives: it’s a productivity guide for the masses.

7. The Time Chunking Method: A 10-Step Action Plan for Increasing Your Productivity

Instead of supplying readers with lists of strategies and productivity software to try, Damon Zahariades focuses on a single method anyone can implement. The Time Chunking Method compliments your workflow and brings stability to your day, rather than forcing you to acquire new habits or philosophical perspectives.

8. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Filled to the brim with practical advice, this guide to the importance of timing is backed by scientific evidence. Daniel H. Pink consolidates all the top studies on productivity patterns, behavioral science, and business into narratives that you’ll relate to.

9. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Seth Godin is a prolific writer. He always seems to hit the nail on the head — and this book is no exception. A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller, you won’t be disappointed. This guide reframes some forms of quitting as an intelligent defense system against being too busy and protecting productivity. As you’ll learn, productivity is all about identifying when something is worth your time and when you need to stop heading down a dead-end street.

10. The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less

This is the answer to the anxiety-driven mantra of Millennials: FOMO (fear of missing out). Acclaimed author and CEO Tonya Dalton tackles the crippling sense of being overwhelmed and the liberation of missing out. Her perspective addresses a generational commitment to anxiety with the rewiring of perspective. The book also offers resources and an action plan for anyone seeking to reject pressure and live with abundance.

11. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Whereas most books focus on eliminating bad habits or removing distractions, Cal Newport maintains a holistic focus by embracing distractions to make time work for you. Deep Work explores the ability to focus on cognitively complicated tasks that need your attention, along with how to master the usefulness of distraction. The premise is that if we apply ourselves to tasks in the right way, not just through prioritizing and scheduling, we can become better at problem solving and deep thinking, resulting in a more fulfilling life.

12. Get Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, & Profitability

This is the no-nonsense guide you’ve been looking for. Honest and straightforward author Jeffrey Gitomer shares wisdom and humor in this New York Times bestseller. He gifts us with a variety of strategies — some classics, others surprisingly unique. All will help you crush procrastination and build a more profitable work life.

13. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Although this book is prescriptive, it also offers an explanation of the why behind our failures and successes. Award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg explores the science behind our choices and productivity. This book will help you transform your life through a deep understanding of the forces at work in your mind.

14. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

To say that productivity boils down to daily habits would be a disservice to this book. Mason Currey expertly identifies the types of rituals and habits that help everyone (not just artists) discover a philosophical approach to life, work, and daily living. He uses examples of historical figures, celebrities, and other people we can all learn from. However, he also teaches us how to learn from ourselves to create rituals and patterns unique to each of us.

15. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Connecting self-discipline and creativity, Steven Pressfield walks us through a Sun-Tzu approach to the battlefield of art, self-doubt, ambition, and fear. Creatives and number crunchers alike will appreciate the painstaking process of bringing discipline and productivity to the forefront while stifling fear and letting creativity flow. This is a guide for reconciling some of the most difficult internal fights. Everyone can relate to this message.

16. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was a founding father, inventor, talented negotiator, scientist (including the discovery of electricity), prolific writer, entrepreneur, and philosopher. He was also an expert on productivity. Choose just about any of his biographies and you’ll learn plenty about this great man. However, it’s in his autobiography that you can find the real gems of wisdom, a guide to his life and work, and a sense of humor that rarely comes across with such cross-generational clarity.

17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Stephen R. Covey created this seminal work to improve both personal and professional productivity. He explains how you should begin by defining your goals and priorities. Then, instead of eliminating bad habits, you should develop new habits. The focus is on defining and managing your priorities, rather than listing them and letting them manage you. This book is a must-read for everyone, whether you think you need it or not.

18. The One-Minute Manager

A classic hand-me-down, The One-Minute Manager is a guide for anyone looking for easy-to-master techniques in productivity, efficiency, and managerial time management. It covers everything from goal setting and practical leadership to praise and reprimands. Ken Blanchard even revised the book to address the modern manager’s struggle in today’s business landscape. The new edition covers the digital revolution, the multi-generational workforce, and evolving consumerism.

19. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Although only 100 pages long, the 4-Hour Workweek is packed with advice on how to eliminate 50 percent of your workload, work fewer hours, and make more money. Tim Ferriss’s advice is based the 80/20 rule of Vilfredo Pareto: you complete 80 percent of your most valuable work in 20 percent of your working hours.

20. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy is a classic that experienced managers often give to new managers. It remains one of the top-selling books about time management. The book offers 21 practical ways to minimize procrastination and complete your most important tasks fast.

Bonus: An Alternative to Time Management Books — Podcasts

It’s true that sitting down to read is a major investment of your time, even if you’re reading one of the these top time management books. When you’re on the go, a podcast may be more appropriate.

The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, has a long-running, highly-successful podcast. He covers a myriad of topics, focused around business and lifestyle, to help you be your best, most productive self.

Happier With Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin began her podcast as a way to help people focus on being happy. Her acclaimed show has since become a self-help essential for entrepreneurs and anyone else searching for a productive, meaningful life.

Akimbo: A Podcast from Seth Godin

The word Akimbo means bend, but it’s become a symbol for strength and possibility. In his podcast, Seth Godin explores how we can apply this concept to culture to make it better. The podcast worth listening to if you’re interested in modern business, including views on productivity.

Productivity Paradox

Productivity Paradox is one of the few podcasts dedicated exclusively to time management, productivity, and centering your life on personal priorities. Tonya Dalton is an author and productivity expert who connects personal discovery with success.

Even the best time management books and podcasts can only help you create so much time. Often, the solution to free up your time is to delegate. With a virtual assistant, you can delegate any tasks you lack the time to do yourself. Receive a 10-percent discount on the virtual assistant services from MYVA360 by scheduling a consultation today.

Jelena Mijajlovic

Jelena Mijajlovic is the founder and CEO of MYVA360, a virtual assistant agency filled with guardians of our ‘time bank,’ and genuinely versatile talent that help people increase productivity and get more hours out of the day. As an entrepreneur, business owner, and a full-time mom, she has developed a knack for identifying work gaps and filling them with the right people.

Jelena Mijajlovic

Jelena Mijajlovic is the founder and CEO of MYVA360, a virtual assistant agency filled with guardians of our ‘time bank,’ and genuinely versatile talent that help people increase productivity and get more hours out of the day. As an entrepreneur, business owner, and a full-time mom, she has developed a knack for identifying work gaps and filling them with the right people.

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