The 21 best books for productivity
Reading useful books is always a great way to use your time productively. It not only improves your knowledge but also helps you learn a lot more about certain topics such as productivity and time management.
Billionaires and great entrepreneurs always incorporate reading useful books into their daily or weekly routines. However, the big challenge is to find the best book for productivity that fits your needs.
Searching for the best book for productivity can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Therefore, we have prepared a list of the 20 best books for productivity and time management to help you.
1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
This book is definitely a good read. It’s considered one of the best books for productivity and time tracking and has already helped a lot of people.
It is an actionable guide that will help you learn how to train yourself to intentionally focus on a world full of distractions battling for your attention.
This book looks at the benefits of a steady work ethic and gives guidelines and training methods for concentration.
It also lays out tips for working more efficiently, including preventing interruptions, dealing with boredom, and blocking out social media to achieve ‘deep work.’
2. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
This book focuses on one thing that yields extraordinary results. It talks about our tendency to divide our attention between different tasks and ideas, not allowing us to fully develop any of them. But if we concentrate all our attention on one crucial thing, we will complete it successfully and move on to the next task.
The book discourages multitasking as it has been scientifically proven that it’s not the best option for the human brain.
To achieve extraordinary results, eliminate all things that are not essential and prioritize the remaining ones by asking yourself, ‘what is the most important?’ It is one of the best books for productivity and time tracking that you can find.
3. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
This is one of the great books on improving time management. The book presents some of the best practices to help readers accomplish more and worry less.
The book insists on handling tasks one after the other to avoid being overwhelmed since the human brain can only store and process restricted amounts of information at a time.
It then presents a GTD system to help you organize workflows and react swiftly to prevent a pile-up.
4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
This book recognizes that we often have many goals in life but hardly ever achieve them. It then helps you realize what really is essential to accomplish them.
In most cases, we don’t make the best use of our resources, especially when it comes to time. According to the author, we can change that by learning how to prioritize and separate essentials from non-essentials.
The book discourages doing many things at the same time to avoid dividing our attention and energy. Instead, we should focus all our energy on one essential matter that will take us furthest to our goal.
It is among the greatest productivity books that encourage readers to focus on essential things only.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
It is considered one of the best productivity books. It emphasizes building good new habits to help you stay on track and, most importantly, it encourages you to define priorities and goals.
It highlights practices that distinguish more productive people from others. It teaches readers the art of taking control of every moment to avoid wasting time on inefficient methods.
Keynote: The key is not prioritizing what is on your schedule but scheduling your priorities.
6. How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks and Breaking the Procrastination Habit by S.J. Scott
It is one of the top-rated books for productivity for those people struggling with procrastination. It gives a framework for becoming action-oriented, with the author sharing his experience with procrastination and how he overcame it.
Key quote: If you are a person who procrastinates, know that this habit limits your success in many ways, and not addressing the issue means a reduced possibility of achieving your goals.
7. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
In this book, the author explains the four steps to creating habits. A habit is created by repetitive behavior. According to this book, you can use the same habit loop to eliminate unwanted habits and create desired ones.
8. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
The book revolves around the philosophy that if your job is to eat a frog, do it in the morning as the first thing, and if your job is to eat two, you should start with the biggest one.
According to the author, the best way to beat procrastination is by first handling the tasks that are demanding.
The book offers important tips to help readers, such as planning before time, breaking big tasks into smaller parts, being aware of the consequences, and using technology.
Key quote: One of the worst ways to use time is to do something well that didn’t have to be done.
9. The 4-Hour Workweek Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
It offers a step-by-step guide to help you earn a monthly five-figure income working just four hours a week. This way, you will be able to live the life you want without having to be just an extra.
The author highlights over 50 practical tips to help you live more and work less. It is among the best productivity books that sound too good to be true.
Key quote: An integral part of being a winner is being able to quit things that do not work.
10. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
The book gives a framework for structuring your day to leave more time for what matters to you. The author aims to overrule the myth of time crisis and challenge readers to start time tracking, prioritizing crucial activities, and eliminating non-essential ones.
11. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life by Dr. Jason Selk and Tom Bartow
The book outlines the eight most effective ways of optimizing your organization. It would be best to focus on process-oriented goals to allow you to get rid of bad habits and maximize your time.
12. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Zeratsky and John Knapp
This is among the most appreciated books for time tracking and management. The authors stress the importance of one priority per day and focusing all your available time and energy on it.
It shows how you can take control of your daily attention and avoid non-essential things that are not worth your time.
It describes time management as an individual’s intentional exercise that involves looking at the modern life demands and reducing them to the most essential and meaningful tasks.
13. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch
It is about using minimal efforts to achieve great results. It asserts that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort.
The logic behind this good read is, being busy is not the determinant of success but rather investing most of your focus and energy in the most essential and meaningful tasks.
The book concludes that reducing time wastage, claiming more free time, and being efficient in all life aspects is actually a good way to improve productivity.
14. Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick by Wendy Wood
The author of this book explains how we can develop habits and apply the knowledge to bring desired results and changes in ourselves.
Being a psychology professor, the author explains the necessary conditions for an activity to become a habit by using numerous research.
When we want to change something about ourselves, we should use the extraordinary power of our subconscious mind and not willpower alone.
15. Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
In the current work environment, success is measured by the number of hours worked, and breaks are seen as a contradiction to work. However, being busy has nothing to do with being productive. Most people can only concentrate and be creative at work for a limited time a day.
According to this book, the brain needs rest to be able to process information and develop new ideas and new connections. For increased productivity, moderated physical activity is also necessary.
16. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker
In his book, Peter Drucker shows how one can be an effective manager, whilst developing the motivation of his employees, as well as promoting company success.
The focus of this book is achieving more effectiveness and productivity through self-management, which is an important skill not only for managers but for everyone.
For effectiveness, be clear about focusing your time, energy, resources, and priorities. According to Peter, effectiveness has no innate meaning; it can be learned. The author offers a step-by-step guide to achieving effectiveness, making it one of the best books for productivity.
17. The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey
The book revolves around creating ideal working conditions. The author carried out several experiments regarding productivity on himself and gained important knowledge about how to effectively manage time, which is what he shares in his book.
The book is a summary of techniques that have been tested that reminds readers that work is all about results and not how much time is spent.
18. Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life by Jim Kwik
The author of this book is a coach and expert on improving mental performance. His main message is that we all can improve our mental abilities limitlessly and continuously. According to him, we can all be more productive and achieve goals that seem unattainable and hence the life we desire.
It takes 3Ms, that is, methods, mindset, and motivation. The author suggests that we need to replace negative ideas with positive ones and redefine the boundaries we have set for ourselves of what is achievable and not.
The strength of this book is in the step-by-step actionable techniques for performance improvement.
19. First Things First by Stephen Covey
In my opinion, this is among the top productivity books for entrepreneurs. It discusses everything from prioritization and effective time management to organizing tasks and activities.
It is a good read for reducing stress levels and increasing productivity. It helps readers avoid procrastination by being organized and putting first things first.
20. The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
In this book, the author explains the importance of checklists in managing and organizing complex tasks. A checklist helps you avoid omitting or overlooking tasks essential to achieving your goals.
He explains that we are prone to failure because of the volume and complexity of knowledge surrounding us. For this reason, we all need a checklist. He explains what checklists are and how they will assist you in achieving your set goals.
21. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management – The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs by Kevin Kruse
Finally, in this book, the author asked 200 successful people in different fields the same question ‘what is the secret to your productivity?’ He then analyzed all the results and realized they shared 15 secrets, such as:
- Not using a to-do list
- Delegating tasks
- Doing one thing at a time
- Avoid meetings
So what is the best book for productivity after all?
It’s the one that helps you. We can’t choose only one, that is why we suggested 20 books.
Investing a few hours reading a good book will help you learn new productivity tips, skills, and techniques for achieving the desired results.
Productivity and time management are often intertwined. If you effectively manage your time, then productivity is guaranteed.
If you are still struggling with managing your time, these best books for productivity will for sure help you.
Additionally, you may be interested in time tracking, since it’s one of the best ways to improve productivity and time management. You can also use different time tracking software or some of the best time tracking apps to manage your time for productivity effectively.
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