These days, we’re inundated with technology, information and things to do. We have so many resources at our fingertips, but often we’re not productive. Sometimes, even if we do get things done, we still feel like we haven’t accomplished anything.
Sometimes, it takes a new perspective to improve the way we manage our time. These 15 excellent time-management books offer just that. From prioritizing to goal setting to improving self-control, these gems will help you manage your time and be more productive.
“Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” — Greg McKeown
This time management book isn’t about cramming more into less time — it’s about figuring out what’s really important. Anyone who feels overworked, unproductive and just too busy will benefit from McKeown’s advice. When we focus only on the really important things, we do those things better, regain control of our lives and still get the essential things done. This book will show you how to do just that.
“The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It” — Kelly McGonigal
This book, based on a course by Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal, explores the science of willpower and how to harness it. “The Willpower Instinct” will drastically change the way you see self-control and give you actionable advice for using willpower to accomplish goals and be happier and more productive.
“The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” — Atul Gawande
Atul Gawande’s latest book, “The Checklist Manifesto,” explores one of the mainstays of productivity: the checklist. As it turns out, this simple solution can do wonders for improving efficiency, accuracy and productivity in a variety of fields — something Gawande explores in a host of fascinating stories.
“First Things First” — Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R. Merrill
“First Things First” focuses on figuring out what’s really important and prioritizing those tasks. Rather than just getting more done, the authors emphasize making sure what you’re doing is leading you in the right direction. This book will make you more productive, as well as happier and more fulfilled.
“Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” — Brian Tracy
“Eat That Frog!” has sold more than 1.5 million copies, and for good reason. This book offers a variety of easy-to-implement tips for time management. One of the main pointers, and the one the book is named after, can be referred to as “eating the frog.” By that, the author means getting the task you’re most likely to procrastinate on done first.
We tell ourselves stories all day long about our successes and failures, our pasts and futures. “The Power of Story” explains how those stories change how we see ourselves and affect our productivity. He then explores how to create new stories that will make you more effective, instead of less.
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” — Stephen R. Covey
This book, first published in 1990, has become one of the most popular time-management books ever. It guides the reader through adjusting how they believe the world works, and then presents seven habits to adopt in order to improve their effectiveness. The tips, which apply to both professional and personal success, are fairly in-depth. They require a bit of studying, but are also highly effective themselves.
“The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal” — Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
Although this book is on our list of time management tomes, it proposes that managing energy is actually more important than managing time. The author’s scientifically based advice will help you employ four different sources of energy, balance spent energy and energy renewal, increase your energy and establish energy management habits.
“Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time” — Jeff Sutherland
Scrum is a management process that’s been adopted by organizations from Amazon to the FBI. The creators of Scrum say it can increase productivity by up to 1,200 percent. It’s mostly been applied to business, but this book shows how it can be applied to virtually anything else in life.
This one will appeal to busy folks, because its method for increasing productivity takes just 18 minutes a day. Based on Bergman’s weekly column in Harvard Business Review, “18 minutes” provides you with simple ways to better prioritize, cut through distractions and get the important things done.
“The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” — Charles Duhigg
This book, by New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg, explores the science of habits, why they exist and how we can change them. “The Power of Habit” explores how various successful people accomplished their goals by changing their habits and how you can do the same. This book will change the way you look at your life by exploring new ways to think about your habits.
“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” — Cal Newport
In a world full of smartphone notifications, overflowing email inboxes and wandering thoughts, Cal Newport sings the praises of the exact opposite. By focusing on one demanding task without distraction — what Newport calls deep work — you’ll produce dramatically improved results, according to this book. “Deep Work” explains the benefits of this level of concentration and provides exercises for developing the ability.
“The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play” — Neil Fiore
This book shows readers how to avoid procrastination, reduce stress and increase their available time. It also focuses on fun! By getting tasks done more efficiently, you have more time for the fun stuff, and you can enjoy it without guilt.
“Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” — Robert C. Pozen
Getting more done in less time sounds pretty good, right? This book shows you how it’s done. It focuses on business, but can definitely be applied to your personal life, as well.
In this title, J.D. Meier lays out a time management system designed to help you achieve both long-term and short-term goals and to find a work-life balance. It’s applicable to all aspects of life and emphasizes flexibility. You can implement just parts of or all of Meier’s system and change your plans as needed. This book will help you get more done in all areas of your life in a sustainable, adaptable way.
Time is one of the most valuable resources we have, and we sure do have a lot to get done! Managing our time is important for a productive and happy life. These 15 books will help you to do just that.