It’s the turn of the decade. What better way to celebrate time than to learn about how to create more time! Okay, we can’t actually create more time, but we can create the illusion of having more by learning how to manage our time better. These are 20 of the best time management books for 2020, in no particular order. Some are true classics, others are highly acclaimed and new to the scene. All are perfect for harnessing time.
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. 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 help you 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, work style, and lifestyle. However, New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores what is actually happening in the brain when we face endless details. From fatigue from making too many decision to physical fatigue, this book introduces research on how to manage our minds from a neuroscientific perspective. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Essentialism isn’t a concept but rather a movement. Piggybacking off the minimalist movement, author Greg McKeown focuses how to choose the right tasks, not just how to get more done. He addresses interruptions, cluttered lives and schedules, and the capability to say no. This book is quickly becoming a handbook for entrepreneurs, particularly creatives. Available on Amazon and Audible.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
Many people have a hard time just prioritizing or finding time to get everything done in a mere 24 hours. Author Laura Vanderkam, though, will guide you through a crucial missing piece, the truest time suck: not realizing where we are actually spending our time. Through an audit of your everyday life, you’ll realize just how you are using your time. This will free you up to regain control and spend the precious minutes of your life just as you want. 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 to stop self-sabotaging and put living ahead of doing. Using an interdisciplinary scientific approach, she reveals long-held assumption. She also helps us find productivity through a new way of approaching how we live and the choices we make. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
There are several classics in the productivity genre — this is one of them. This book has become 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. Author David Allen wrote this book for everyone, not just executives or creatives. It’s 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 forcing 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 about the importance of timing is backed by scientific evidence. Author Daniel H. Pink combines all the best work on patterns, behavioral science, and business into narratives that you’ll relate to. 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 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 all about being able to identify when something is worth our time and when you need to stop heading down a dead-end street. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less
This is the answer to the anxiety-driven mantra of the 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. In addition, it offers resources and a plan of action for anyone seeking to reject pressure guilt free and live with abundance. Available on Amazon and Audible.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Whereas most books focus on eliminating bad habits or removing distractions, author Cal Newport maintains a holistic focus by embracing distractions to make 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. His 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. This results in 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. 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 tried and true, others surprisingly unique. All of them will help you 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
Although 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 curtains to reveal 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. Available on Amazon and Audible.
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. Available on Amazon and Audible.
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. 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. Everyone can relate to this message. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was a founding father, inventor (of bifocals, among other things), 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 many readers find gems of wisdom, a guide to life and work, and a sense of humor that rarely comes across with such 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 you think you need it or not. Available on Amazon and Audible.
The One-Minute Manager
A classic hand-me-down, 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 and practical leadership to praise and reprimands. Author Ken Blanchard even revised the book and published a new edition to address the modern manager’s struggle in today’s new business landscape. The new edition covers 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
Although only 100 pages long, the Four-Hour Work-Week 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 on the work of an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who developed the 80/20 rule. He supports the theory that you complete 80 percent of your most valuable work in 20 percent of your working hours. Now a must-have 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 experienced managers often give new managers. It remains one of the top-selling books about time management. Even though eating frogs is something countless people enjoy, many cultures don’t consider it savory. The frog is a metaphor for what you don’t want to do. The book provides you with 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, try some podcasts. These four podcasts not only promise time management solutions, they have 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. He covers business and 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 essential for entrepreneurs and anyone searching for a productive, meaningful life.
Although Seth Godin is widely considered a generalist, he is also a prolific writer and a respected thinker. His podcast is worth listening to 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 on personal priorities. Tonya Dalton is an author and productivity expert who connects personal discovery with success.