19 Best Books on Task Management

Best Books on Task ManagementA

re you having difficulty managing your tasks? Are you always struggling to keep track of your work? If so, you’re not alone. It can be difficult to find the time and motivation to stay organized. But with these books on task management, you can become more productive by learning how to manage your time in a way that suits your needs. From time-management skills for entrepreneurs, to getting rid of distractions, here are the best books on task management for professionals who want to get more done in less time.

Best Books on Task Management: THE LIST

1. Getting Things Done | By David Allen

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Since it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. “GTD” is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.

Allen has rewritten the book from start to finish, tweaking his classic text with important perspectives on the new workplace, and adding material that will make the book fresh and relevant for years to come. This new edition of Getting Things Done will be welcomed not only by its hundreds of thousands of existing fans but also by a whole new generation eager to adopt its proven principles.

2. Deep Work | By Cal Newport

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One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you’ll achieve extraordinary results.
 
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.
 
In DEEP WORK, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
 
A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories — from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air — and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. DEEP WORK is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

3. The ONE Thing | By Gary Keller

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YOU WANT LESS. You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of e-mails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll. And what’s the cost? Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller pay cheques, fewer promotions-and lots of stress. AND YOU WANT MORE.You want more productivity from your work. More income for a better lifestyle. You want more satisfaction from life, and more time for yourself, your family, and your friends.NOW YOU CAN HAVE BOTH-LESS AND MORE. In The ONE Thing, you’ll learn to cut through the clutter, achieve better results in less time, build momentum toward your goal, dial down the stress, overcome that overwhelmed feeling, revive your energy, and stay on track, master what matters to you. The ONE Thing is the New York Times bestseller which delivers extraordinary results in every area of your life–work, personal, family, and spiritual. WHAT’S YOUR ONE THING?

4. Eat That Frog | By Brian Tracy

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It’s time to stop procrastinating and get more of the important things done! After all, successful people don’t try to do everything. They focus on their most important tasks and get those done. They eat their frogs.

There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re done with the worst thing you’ll have to do all day. For Tracy, eating a frog is a metaphor for tackling your most challenging task—but also the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life.

Eat That Frog! shows you how to organize each day so you can zero in on these critical tasks and accomplish them efficiently and effectively. The core of what is vital to effective time management is: decision, discipline, and determination. And in this fully revised and updated edition, Tracy adds two new chapters. The first explains how you can use technology to remind yourself of what is most important and protect yourself from what is least important. The second offers advice for maintaining focus in our era of constant distractions, electronic and otherwise.

This life-changing book will ensure that you get more of your important tasks done today.

5. The 4-Hour Workweek | By Timothy Ferris

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Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
• How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
• How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
• How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
• How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
• How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

The new expanded edition of Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek includes:
• More than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point
• Real-world templates you can copy for eliminating e-mail, negotiating with bosses and clients, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal
• How Lifestyle Design principles can be suited to unpredictable economic times
• The latest tools and tricks, as well as high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either

6. The Effective Executive | By Peter Drucker

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The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.

Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned:

  • Managing time
  • Choosing what to contribute to the organization
  • Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect
  • Setting the right priorities
  • Knitting all of them together with effective decision-making

Ranging widely through the annals of business and government, Peter F. Drucker demonstrates the distinctive skill of the executive and offers fresh insights into old and seemingly obvious business situations.

7. The Productivity Project | By Chris Bailey

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A fresh, personal, and entertaining exploration of a topic that concerns all of us: how to be more productive at work and in every facet of our lives.
 
Chris Bailey turned down lucrative job offers to pursue a lifelong dream—to spend a year performing a deep dive experiment into the pursuit of productivity, a subject he had been enamored with since he was a teenager. After obtaining his business degree, he created a blog to chronicle a year-long series of productivity experiments he conducted on himself, where he also continued his research and interviews with some of the world’s foremost experts, from Charles Duhigg to David Allen. Among the experiments that he tackled: Bailey went several weeks with getting by on little to no sleep; he cut out caffeine and sugar; he lived in total isolation for 10 days; he used his smartphone for just an hour a day for three months; he gained ten pounds of muscle mass; he stretched his work week to 90 hours; a late riser, he got up at 5:30 every morning for three months—all the while monitoring the impact of his experiments on the quality and quantity of his work.

The Productivity Project—and the lessons Chris learned—are the result of that year-long journey. Among the counterintuitive insights Chris Bailey will teach you:
·         slowing down to work more deliberately;
·         shrinking or eliminating the unimportant;
·         the rule of three;
·         striving for imperfection;
·         scheduling less time for important tasks;
·         the 20 second rule to distract yourself from the inevitable distractions;
·         and the concept of productive procrastination.
In an eye-opening and thoroughly engaging read, Bailey offers a treasure trove of insights and over 25 best practices that will help you accomplish more.

8. Strategic Project Management Made Simple | By Terry Schmidt

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The comprehensively updated and revised edition of Strategic Project Management Made Simple cements this series’ status as the leading resource for anyone looking for step-by-step guidance on project design and action initiatives.

Written by celebrated management consultant Terry Schmidt, this book fully covers the necessity of systems thinking and the logical framework approach to solve today’s challenging problems. Strategic Project Management Made Simple also includes:

  • An expanded section on turning ideas, problems, and opportunities into projects
  • A newly created chapter on managing your “inner game” to achieve project excellence
  • Fresh case studies that cover how to pivot your business to meet changing needs
  • A new approach, Iterating to Excellence, to create your Minimum Viable Project and produce solutions smoother and faster

Strategic Project Management Made Simple, Revised and Updated is an indispensable volume for leaders and workers seeking to transform their approach to planning, driving, and executing projects in their organizations.

9. First Things First | By Stephen Covey

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From the author that brought you the New York Times bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People comes a guide to prioritizing your personal and professional goals.

I’m getting more done in less time, but where are the rich relationships, the inner peace, the balance, the confidence that I’m doing what matters most and doing it well?

Does this nagging question haunt you, even when you feel you are being your most efficient? If so, First Things First can help you understand why we so often prioritize things that are unimportant to both our larger goals and our inner happiness. From the author that brought you the New York Times bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People comes a guide to building your work on the principles of effectiveness so that your life can spent cultivating genuine relationships, investing in pursuits you enjoy, and achieving balance in both your personal and professional lives.

In First Things First, Stephen M. R. Covey advocates categorizing tasks by urgency and importance so that you can focus on what actually needs to be done in the limited amount of time that you have. Using personal examples and insight from years of business experience, he argues for a new way of looking at your “to-do” list. Rather than offering you another clock, First Things First provides you with a compass, because where you’re headed is more important than how fast you’re going.

10. Organize Tomorrow Today | By Jason Selk

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In Organize Tomorrow Today (OTT), two of the top minds in human performance come together to deliver the pathway to extreme success: Doing more is not the answer, and Selk and Bartow walk you through how to achieve more by doing less.
 
Dr. Jason Selk helps well-known professional and Olympic athletes as well as Fortune 500 executives and organizations develop the mental toughness necessary to thrive in the face of adversity and achieve elite-level results. Tom Bartow, following a career as a winning college basketball coach, became one of the country’s top financial advisors and is now one of the premier business coaches nationwide. Together, Selk and Bartow reveal the secrets of how both elite athletes and business leaders climb to the top.
 
There is a huge difference between knowing something and understanding. There is an even wider gap between understanding and doing. Highly successful people never get it all finished in any given day; however, they always get the most important things completed. Selk and Bartow offer the 8 fundamentals of doing what is most important. OTT will show you the performance gains that athletes, executives, and salespeople spend tens of thousands of dollars to achieve

11. Making It All Work | By David Allen

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he companion to the blockbuster bestseller, Getting Things Done.

Since its publication in 2001, Getting Things Done has become, as Time magazine put it, “the defining self-help business book” of the decade. Having inspired millions of readers around the world, it clearly spoke to an urgent need in an increasingly time-pressured society. Now, in the highly anticipated sequel Making It All Work, Allen unlocks the full power of his methods across the entire span of life and work. While Getting Things Done functioned as an essential tool kit, Making It All Work is an invaluable road map, providing both bearings to help you determine where you are in life and directions on how to get to where you want to go.

12. The Checklist Manifesto | By Atul Gwande

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In his latest bestseller, Atul Gawande shows what the simple idea of the checklist reveals about the complexity of our lives and how we can deal with it.

The modern world has given us stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, the law, the financial industry—in almost every realm of organized activity. And the reason is simple: the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people—consistently, correctly, safely. We train longer, specialize more, use ever-advancing technologies, and still we fail. Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument that we can do better, using the simplest of methods: the checklist. In riveting stories, he reveals what checklists can do, what they can’t, and how they could bring about striking improvements in a variety of fields, from medicine and disaster recovery to professions and businesses of all kinds. And the insights are making a difference. Already, a simple surgical checklist from the World Health Organization designed by following the ideas described here has been adopted in more than twenty countries as a standard for care and has been heralded as “the biggest clinical invention in thirty years” (The Independent).

13. Zen To Done | By Leo Babauta

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Zen To Done is a simple system to help you get organized and productive–keeping your life saner and less stressed–with a set of simple habits. Zen To Done takes some of the best aspects of popular productivity systems (GTD, Stephen Covey, and others), then combines and simplifies them, giving you just what you need–and no more. Simply put, ZTD teaches you: (1) The key habits needed to be organized and productive. (2) How to implement these habits. (3) How to organize the habits into a simple system that will keep everything in your life in its place. (4) How to simplify what you need to do. (5) How to implement an even simpler version called Minimal ZTD. If you’re tired of doing things the hard way and just want a simple, easy, yet effective way to accomplish your goals, Zen To Done is just what you need.

14. When | By Daniel Pink

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Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don’t know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of “when” decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.

Timing, it’s often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.

Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?

In When, Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesizes them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Task Management

Successful people don’t try to do everything. They focus on their most important tasks and get those done. Eating a frog is a metaphor for tackling your most challenging task, but also the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life. Eat That Frog! shows you how to organize each day so you can zero in on these critical tasks and accomplish them efficiently and effectively. The core of what is vital to effective time management is: decision, discipline, and determination. These books will ensure that you get more important tasks done today.

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

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