Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
A play on the commonplace command of demanding bosses, this aptly named book offers a blueprint for those looking to go beyond checklists of to-do items. Authors Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky break down productivity into bite-sized lifestyle shifts and productivity hacks. They offer solutions to patterns of staying busy to get the reader to focus on what really matters. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
There are plenty of time management books that talk about lists, schedules, workstyle, and lifestyle, but New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores what is actually happening in the brain when we are facing down endless details. From fatigued decision-making to fatigue in our body, we are introduced to research on how to manage our minds from a neuroscientific perspective so that we can manage our lives. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Essentialism isn’t proposed as a concept, but rather a movement. Piggybacking on the minimalist movement, author Greg McKeown focuses on choosing the right tasks to pursue, not just how to get more done. He addresses interruptions, cluttered lives and schedules, and the ability to say no to other people’s agendas. This book is quickly becoming a handbook to entrepreneurs, particularly creatives. Available on Amazon and Audible.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
While many people simply have a hard time prioritizing tasks or finding the time to get everything done in the mere 24-hours we have each day, this book guides us through a crucial missing piece. Author Laura Vanderkam walks us through the truest time-suck, not realizing where our time is actually being spent. As this guide walks us through an audit of our everyday lives, the reader realizes just how our time is really used, freeing us up to regain control and spend the precious minutes of our lives living as we want, not by accident. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving
An astute observation that we fill our lives up by design has led award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee to examine how we can shift our focus and our paradigm to stop self-sabotage and put living ahead of doing. Using an interdisciplinary scientific approach, she reveals long-held assumptions and helps us find productivity through a new way of approaching the ways we live and the choices we make. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
There have been several classics in the world of productivity, and this is one of them. The book has become a staple on bookshelves of anyone who wants to achieve more with their time and their lives. It offers workplace perspectives and proven principles for productivity. Author David Allen wrote a book for everyone, not just executives or creatives. This is a productivity guide for the masses. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The Time Chunking Method: A 10-Step Action Plan For Increasing Your Productivity
Instead of supplying readers with lists of strategies and productivity software, Damon Zahariades focuses on a single method anyone can implement. The Time Chunking Method is built to compliment your workflow and bring stability to your productive day, rather than force new habits or philosophical perspectives on choice-making. Available on Amazon and Audible.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Insightful and filled to the brim with practical advice, this field guide to the importance of timing is scientifically backed and cutting edge. Author Daniel H. Pink synthesizes all the best works on patterns, behavioral science, and business into story narratives that reach the reader at a relatable level. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
Seth Godin is a prolific writer and always seems to hit the nail on the head. This book is no different. New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller, This guide won’t disappoint. It reframes some forms of quitting as an intelligent defense system against being too busy and protecting productivity. Described in Godin’s authoritative voice, productivity is being able to identify when something is worth our time, and when to stop heading down a dead-end. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less
As an answer to the anxiety-driven mantra of the Millennials, FOMO (fear of missing out), acclaimed author and CEO, Tonya Dalton tackles the crippling sensation of overwhelm and the liberation and joy of missing out. Her perspective addresses a generational commitment to anxiety with the rewiring of perspective while simultaneously offering resources and a plan of action for anyone seeking to reject pressure, guilt-free, to live with abundance. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
While most books focus on eliminating bad habits or removing distractions, author Cal Newport maintains a holistic focus by embracing distractions to make that time work for us. Deep Work explores the ability to focus on cognitively complicated tasks that need our attention, along with how to master the usefulness of distraction when used correctly. His premise is that if we apply ourselves to tasks in the right way, not just through prioritizing and scheduling, we can achieve better problem solving, deeper thinking, and a more fulfilling life. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Get Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, & Profitability
This is the no-nonsense guide you’ve been looking for. A straightforward, honest, straight-shooter, author Jeffrey Gitomer shares wisdom and humor in this New York Times Best-Seller. He gifts us with a variety of strategies, some tried and true and some surprisingly unique, to help the reader crush procrastination and build a more profitable work life. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
While this book is prescriptive, Charles Duhigg offers a calculated explanation of the why behind our failures and successes. The award-winning business reporter draws back the curtain to reveal the science behind our choices and productivity. This work helps us transform our lives and more through a deep understanding of the forces at work in our minds. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
To say that productivity is boiled down to daily habits is 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 cites historical figures, celebrities, and others we can all learn from, but he also teaches the reader how to learn from themselves to create rituals and patterns that will work for them. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Offering a connection between self-discipline and creativity, Steven Pressfield walks us through a Sun-Tzu approach to the battlefield of art, self-doubt, ambition, and fear. Both creatives and left-brain number crunchers 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 that are relatable to everyone on a fundamental level. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was a founding father, inventor including bifocals as one of his greatest inventions, talented negotiator, scientist including the discovery of electricity, prolific writer, entrepreneur, and philosopher. It’s no wonder that he might be considered an expert on productivity. Choose just about any biography, and you’ll learn something, but it’s in his autobiography that many readers find gems of wisdom, a guide to life and work, and a sense of humor that rarely comes across with such clarity and cross-generational clarity. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Author Stephen R. Covey created this seminal work to improve both personal and professional productivity. You begin by defining your goals and priorities. Then, instead of eliminating bad habits, you develop new habits. The focus is on defining and managing your priorities, rather than listing your priorities and letting them manage you. With sharpened focus and key insights, this book is a must-read for everyone, whether they think they need it or not. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The One-Minute Manager
A classic hand-me-down from manager to manager, The One-Minute Manager, is a handbook for anyone looking for simple, easy-to-master techniques in productivity, efficiency, and managerial time management. It covers everything from goal-setting to praise and reprimands to practical leadership. Author Ken Blanchard even revised the book with a new edition to close the gap between his advice and the modern manager’s struggle in today’s changing business landscape, such as the digital revolution, the multi-generational workforce, and evolving consumerism. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
At only 100-pages long, the Four-Hour Work-Week is packed with advice on how to eliminate 50% of your workload, work fewer hours, and make more money. Tim Ferriss’ advice is based on the work of an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who developed the 80/20 rule. He supports the theorem that 80% of your most valuable work is completed in 20% of your working hours. Now, a staple on every manager and entrepreneur’s bookshelf, this is a seminal work in time management. Available on Amazon and Audible.
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 is often circulated to newer managers by experienced managers. It’s still one of the top sellers when it comes to time management. Even though eating a frog is something many people enjoy, it’s not considered savory in many countries. The frog is a metaphor for what you don’t want to do. The book generously gives you 21 practical ways to minimize procrastination and target the fast completion of your most important tasks. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Bonus! Best Time Management Podcasts
If your 2020 reading list could do with a little bump to fill in the gaps while you’re between productivity books, here are four podcasts that not only promise time management solutions, they communicate solutions for many of our work-life roadblocks.
The Tim Ferriss Show
Tim Ferriss, the author of The Four-Hour Workweek, has a longtime, highly successful podcast where he covers business, life, among a myriad of other topics 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 staple for entrepreneurs and anyone searching for a productive, meaningful life.
While Seth Godin is considered a generalist, he is a prolific writer and a respected thinker. His podcast is worth examining if you’re interested in modern business, including views on productivity.
Productivity Paradox is one of the few podcasts dedicated exclusively to time management, productivity, and living an abundant life centered around personal priorities. Tonya Dalton is an author and productivity expert who relates personal discovery to success.