very day can seem like a race against time when you have so much on your plate. Whether you’re a student, entrepreneur, or just someone who wants to stop procrastinating, you know it’s tiring to end the day feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything. While you can’t extend the hours of the day, you can try learning more about the art of time management. This compilation of the best books on time management will help you get there.
No one is born with a perfect sense of productivity; most people who do have spent a lot of time and effort polishing their habits and experimenting on which schedule can help them achieve the most results. These notable individuals have shared their insights through several award-winning books, and all you need to do is to pick one to begin your journey to getting better time management habits.
|What is Time Management|
|Best Books on Time Management: The List|
|Final Thoughts on Best Books on Time Management|
What is Time Management?
Time management is the systematic process that requires goal setting, planning, and the organization of your time into divided activities that allows you to become the most efficient and productive as possible. Time management allows you to produce more and perform more work in less time. Time management may reduce the pressure of high-stress load and anxiety.
Best Books on Time Management: THE LIST
|1. Make Time|
|2. Eat That Frog|
|3. The 4-Hour Workweek|
|4. Getting Things Done|
|5. Deep Work|
|6. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management|
|8. 168 Hours|
|9. The Checklist Manifesto|
|10. 80/20 Principle|
|11. The Procrastination Cure|
|12. Get It Done|
|13. The Unstoppable Organization|
|14. The Art of Saying No|
|15. The Now Habit|
|16. Manage Your Day-to-Day|
|20. The Productivity Project|
|22. The Power of When|
|23. The Inefficiency Assassin|
1 – Make Time | By Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
In Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day, Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky propose to build your day around a four-step framework that gets the things you want to be done actually done. They don’t try to suggest any radical changes in your lifestyle but rather offer small-scale tips that you’re free to try and see if they fit in your desired schedule.
Inside, this short book is filled with fun sketches that explain practical anti-distraction strategies such as removing your email and browser app from your phone. This is all so that you can reclaim your day from constant interruptions detracting you from your real goals. You find out that you have the ability to permit yourself to take the time for what you want and not what society says you should.
Jake and John are the creators of Google Ventures’ “design sprint,” where they tackle critical business decisions by designing prototypes that can save teams months of meetings and discussions. Bringing their experiences from their time there, they’ve written Make Time in a friendly and non-judgemental tone that will appeal to any reader.
Quotes from Make Time;
“Every time you check your email or another message service, you’re basically saying, “Does any random person need my time right now?”
“That is, one new tactic to help you make time for your Highlight, one that keeps you laser-focused by changing how you react to distractions, and one for building energy—three tactics total.”
“Make Time is a framework for choosing what you want to focus on, building the energy to do it, and breaking the default cycle so that you can start being more intentional about the way you live your life. Even if you don’t completely control your own schedule—and few of us do—you absolutely can control your attention.”
“We’re the descendants of those ancient humans, but our species hasn’t evolved nearly as fast as the world around us has. That means we’re still wired for a lifestyle of constant movement, varied but relatively sparse diets, ample quiet, plenty of face-to-face time, and restful sleep that’s aligned with the rhythm of the day.”
“Although some of our tactics turned into habits, others sputtered and failed. But taking stock of our results each day helped us understand why we tripped up. And this experimental approach also allowed us to be kinder to ourselves when we made mistakes—after all, every mistake was just a data point, and we could always try again tomorrow.”
“You know the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest ….
The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness. —BROTHER DAVID STEINDL-RAST”
“Every distraction imposes a cost on the depth of your focus. When your brain changes contexts—say, going from painting a picture to answering a text and then back to painting again—there’s a switching cost. Your brain has to load a different set of rules and information into working memory. This “boot up” costs at least a few minutes, and for complex tasks, it can take even longer. The two of us have found it can take a couple of hours of uninterrupted writing before we’re doing our best work; sometimes it even requires several consecutive days before we’re in the zone.”
2 – Eat That Frog | By Brian Tracy
Eat That Frog is based on a simple yet effective concept with an eye-catching title: you must begin your day with a task that you dread doing the most, that is to say to “eat the frog.” It then becomes the worst thing that you would have to do that day, leaving you to be more productive with the rest of your tasks.
This book mainly deals with procrastination problems using ideas that may seem common sense, but it reminds you of them through its straightforward advice. It’s tailored for the office workers out there, but anyone can apply the concept of creative procrastination in their studies or even their hobbies.
Eat That Frog was first published in 2001 and was updated when it was reprinted in 2007. Brian Tracy’s goal for this book was to get his readers to act and apply his ideas instead of just reading about their concepts. Its writing can’t match the youthful voice of the other entries in this list, though its contents are solid enough to have stood the passage of time.
Quotes from Eat That Frog;
“You can get control of your time and your life only by changing the way you think, work and deal with the never-ending river of responsibilities that flows over you each day.”
“Do not wait; the time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. NAPOLEON HILL”
“If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.”
This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first.”
“One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not to be done at all.”
“Simply put, some people are doing better than others because they do certain things differently and they do the right things right.”
“The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success.”
“Clarity is the most important concept in personal productivity.”
3 – The 4-Hour Workweek | By Timothy Ferriss
Do you dream of getting out of the usual 9 to 5 workday? This book by Timothy Ferris tells you how you can change your working lifestyle and get more done in less time. Timothy presents a step-by-step guide to increasing your income so you can work smarter, not harder.
The 4-Hour Workweek, in essence, instructs you to create automatic profit centers, taking the time to go on mini-retirements throughout your career. It’s a very different idea to the usual career timeline where you grind as much as you can early on in hopes of retiring early.
Many startup founders have read and recommended this book, and for those aspiring to be one, Timothy also provides his practical advice based on true-to-life cases. The book’s claims can seem a bit too good to be true, but it can put you on the right track to success.
Quotes from The 4-Hour Workweek;
“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”
“The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”“To enjoy life, you don’t need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren’t as serious as you make them out to be.”
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”
“But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”
4 – Getting Things Done | By David Allen
David Allen’s book stresses the importance of the ability to relax in increasing your productivity. Here, he points out that it is only when the mind is clear and organized that your creativity can come out to play.
Getting Things Done contains tips on overcoming negative feelings like anxiety and that of being overwhelmed, some of the obstacles that are preventing you from being efficient at work. You have to study how you can tackle your to-do list head-on before those feelings set in. Once you push through that initial bout, you’re now in a relaxed state as you can’t be both stressed and relaxed at the same time.
This book teaches you to use different tools and filing systems that can help you get organized. If you’re someone who loves making lists and labels, then Getting Things Done is the book for you. The explanations for each piece of advice are also very systematized and highly detailed, so you don’t have to struggle with vague instructions that don’t really help.
Quotes from Getting Things Done;
“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
“Everything you’ve told yourself you ought to do, your mind thinks you should do right now. Frankly, as soon add you have two things to do stored in your RAM, you’ve generated personal failure, because you can’t do two things at the same time. This produces an all-pervasive stress factor whose source can’t be pin-pointed.”
“Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does.”
“Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it’s not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I just suggest that you do this weekly instead of yearly.”
“You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it “done.”
5 – Deep Work | By Cal Newport
Deep Work is about stripping away all distractions that impede your ability to focus. It also has a commentary on how the world seems to be teeming with constant interruptions that are messing with our ability to solve complex problems.
The modern world has allowed for emails and instant messaging to reach us whenever and wherever, but these do not make us more productive. Rather, they prevent us from doing “deep work.” Deep work is what lets us be able to push our limits in terms of cognitive ability and thinking.
The concept of deep work is a skill that anyone could make use of, becoming a secret weapon in this distracted world. The book informs about the different disciplines that you can utilize so you can concentrate better than before. It further details how you can sustain this state of deep work and bring out your peak performance.
Quotes from Deep Work;
“If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.”
“As the author Tim Ferriss once wrote: “Develop the habit of letting small bad things happen. If you don’t, you’ll never find time for the life-changing big things.”
“Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.”
“The task of a craftsman, they conclude, “is not to generate meaning, but rather to cultivate in himself the skill of discerning the meanings that are already there.”
“To simply wait and be bored has become a novel experience in modern life, but from the perspective of concentration training, it’s incredibly valuable.”
“Two Core Abilities for Thriving in the New Economy 1. The ability to quickly master hard things. 2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.”
“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”
6 – 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management | By Kevin Kruse
The best way to learn about success is to interview those who have attained it, and that is what this book aims to do for its readers. Kevin Kruse found that these 15 individuals shared certain habits and values that became the key to their time management skills.
He then tries to identify what these similarities are, and his writing does not disappoint since success in this book is defined across several types of careers and ages. It can be quite surprising to find out some unconventional methods such as not using to-do lists, saying “no” to most other things, and even simply doing one thing at a time.
What’s unique about this book is that it focuses on each of these successful people’s accounts, so you’ll learn a lot through their personal insights on their experiences. It’s striking that they don’t see time as their basis for organizing their day, but rather it’s their goals and the energy that’s used in their daily tasks.
Quotes from 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management;
“Actually, highly successful people don’t think about time much at all. Instead, they think about values, priorities, and consistent habits.”
“You need to start paying other people to do stuff for you even before you feel you are ready.”
“I work more on time alignment. Is this part of my mission? Does this serve others or strengthen my ability to serve others? Those two questions keep me tight to my map. That’s how I best manage my time and priorities. –Chris Brogan is a bestselling author and CEO of Owner Media Group.”
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”—Warren Buffett”
“Yes, you receive too much email, but you need to take responsibility for handling it.”
“If you aren’t busy working on your own goals, you’ll be working to achieve somebody else’s goals.”
7 – Essentialism | By Greg McKeown
Most days, it’s all about getting the most important things done and not to sweat non-urgent tasks. Prioritization is what Essentialism wants to teach to its readers. It’s not always easy to distinguish which item on your to-do list should go first, and it can be excruciating to accept that you won’t be checking every single one off your list.
Here is where Greg McKeown comes in with his selective criteria of which task should be considered as essential. This concept is further detailed in light and easy-to-read chapters using popular topics as examples.
As the title suggests, you can do more with a lot less. And this is exactly what the book provides with its sound advice that’s easy for anyone to apply to their own to-do list for the day. To add, the book answers any questions by helping you understand the principles behind his suggestions, instead of just listing down the barebones advice.
Quotes from Essentialism;
“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”
“Today, technology has lowered the barrier for others to share their opinion about what we should be focusing on. It is not just information overload; it is opinion overload.”
“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?”
“Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?”
“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.”
8 – 168 Hours | By Laura Vanderkam
It can be difficult to understand that not everyone experiences time the same way others do. This is what Laura Vanderkam wants to explain; that while we live the same 168 hours, some end up tired and overworked while some achieve results that far exceed others’.
You lose the hours when you believe that work is done in terms of days. Once you adjust your mindset to the fact that you have several hours in a day, you can see the possibility of doing more than just one thing for a whole day. The book tells us how, with a little creativity, you can “steal time” back from yourself.
168 Hours identifies an eye-opening fact, one that reminds us that we are in control of what we do and what we don’t do. It emphasizes that life should be spent mindfully, even in leisure. When you accept this, you can maximize your time and get more off of your plate.
Quotes from 168 Hours;
“This is what happens when you treat your 168 hours as a blank slate. This is what happens when you fill them up only with things that deserve to be there. You build a life where you really can have it all.”
“There’s little point, though, in being too scattered to master something, or in spending much time on activities in which you can’t excel.”
“when you focus on what you do best, on what brings you the most satisfaction, there is plenty of space for everything.”
“They found that people were happiest when they were completely absorbed in activities that were difficult but doable, to the point where their brains no longer had space to ruminate about the troubles of daily life.”
“The majority of people who claim to be overworked work less than they think they do, and many of the ways people work are extraordinarily inefficient. Calling something “work” does not make it important or necessary.”
“Reading fiction as you commute to a job you don’t like will make you feel somewhat more fulfilled; being in the right job will make you feel incredible.”
9 – The Checklist Manifesto | By Atul Gawande
A humble checklist is a common tool when you need to be more organized or productive. But this book shows just how much a checklist can be vital in other situations, such as the operating room. Atul Gawande is a former surgeon who, in this book, explains how our minds can only hold so much working knowledge at a time and that a checklist is all we need to prevent lapses in our decisions.
It’s odd how we can fail when information surrounds us almost constantly, but this can result in an overload that would, ironically, make us miss important details. A checklist serves not just to remind us of what we may forget but also so that we can focus on what should be prioritized.
At first, you may think of checklists as handy notes inside a planner, but they are also those long forms used in hospitals that help describe a patient’s condition. The Checklist Manifesto can grant you insight into how you can create checklists for your more complicated work or further simplify the ones you already have.
Quotes from The Checklist Manifesto;
“What is needed, however, isn’t just that people working together be nice to each other. It is discipline.
Discipline is hard–harder than trustworthiness and skill and perhaps even than selflessness. We are by nature flawed and inconstant creatures. We can’t even keep from snacking between meals. We are not built for discipline. We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at.”
“Good checklists, on the other hand are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”
“There are good checklists and bad, Boorman explained. Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. They are too long; they are hard to use; they are impractical. They are made by desk jockeys with no awareness of the situations in which they are to be deployed. They treat the people using the tools as dumb and try to spell out every single step. They turn people’s brains off rather than turn them on. Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything—a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps—the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical. The power of”
“One essential characteristic of modern life is that we all depend on systems—on assemblages of people or technologies or both—and among our most profound difficulties is making them work.”
10 – 80/20 Principle | By Richard Koch
Richard Koch uses the Pareto Principle as the core of his book. It expounds on how 80% of results come from only 20% of our efforts. In short, we have to concentrate and prioritize on the most significant tasks that we have, instead of vying for the illusion of perfection.
This means that you can save on the time and energy that could be put to better use. By identifying which of your daily tasks make up the top 20%, your day can become a lot more fulfilling. You need to stop wasting time being busy when it doesn’t even contribute to your happiness.
Quotes from 80/20 Principle;
“Those who seize the day become seriously rich.”
“THE 80/20 PRINCIPLE AND CHAOS THEORY Probability theory tells us that it is virtually impossible for all the applications of the 80/20 Principle to occur randomly, as a freak of chance. We can only explain the principle by positing some deeper meaning or cause that lurks behind it. Pareto himself grappled with this issue, trying to apply a consistent methodology to the study of society. He searched for “theories that picture facts of experience and observation,” for regular patterns, social laws, or “uniformities” that explain the behavior of individuals and society. Pareto’s sociology failed to find a persuasive key. He died long before the emergence of chaos theory, which has great parallels with”
“The way to create something great is to create something simple.”
“There are people who want to achieve–and then there are sane people.”
“It may be that you will be happiest in the rat race; perhaps, like me, you are basically a rat.”
“Not only is happiness not money, it is not even like money.”
“80 percent of products, or customers or employees, are only contributing 20 percent of profits; that there is great waste; that the most powerful resources of the company are being held back by a majority of much less effective resources; that profits could be multiplied if more of the best sort of products could be sold, employees hired, or customers attracted (or convinced to buy more from the firm).
11 – The Procrastination Cure | By Damon Zahariades
According to getAbstract, “Procrastinators often create delays because of self-defeating emotions or attitudes. Some are perfectionists who can’t start projects because they know they cannot complete them perfectly. Others fix everyone else’s problems and have no time to improve their own lives. If your work suffers from procrastination, seminar leader Jeffery Combs offers some practical remedies. His helpful manual covers interesting pop-psychology insights about procrastinating personality types and provides good curative tips, despite some repetition and proofing errors.”
Quotes from The Procrastination Cure;
“Break projects down to their smallest parts. Then, treat each part as a separate task. Focus on each one’s completion, at which point you can cross it off your to-do list.”
“Our energy levels affect our tendency to procrastinate. So it’s worth identifying when your energy levels are at their peak and making maximum use of those times of day.”
“Procrastination is a difficult habit to break. As with any habit, the longer you allow it to persist, the more deeply rooted it becomes.”
“Sometimes procrastination is helpful, and it makes sense to embrace it rather than try to curb it.”
12 – Get It Done | By Michael Mackintosh
According to getAbstract; “In this engaging guidebook, creative entrepreneur and motivational guru Michael Mackintosh offer proven, practical techniques that you can apply to end self-destructive procrastination, turbocharge your productivity, and finally get things done. Mackintosh’s productivity system, the “Unstoppable 21-Day Challenge” can help you expand your life and embark on a hero’s journey. His inspirational approach will awaken those who just need to get started. Even if you have no productivity issues, his good-humored advice will help you get out of your own way, and work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.”
Quotes from Get It Done;
“Today is the beginning of your life becoming the life you were meant to live.”
“If you don’t have an idea of what you want or where you want to end up, you’ll invariably end up at the whims of other people’s desires, floating around like driftwood in the ocean.”
“Bringing our ideas to life isn’t easy and too often we find ourselves stalling, procrastinating or holding back.”
“You truly are the hero of your own life.”
“Life isn’t about forcing ourselves into rigid systems. Systems are here to help us have a better life.”
13 – The Unstoppable Organization | By Shawn Casemore
According to getAbstract, “All businesses want to increase sales and profits and attain “unstoppable growth.” But, for many, achieving sales growth is an uncertain, even chaotic, affair: one quarter up, the next quarter down. Consultant Shawn Casemore advises leaders to focus on their employees. He provides tactics, tools, and tips leaders can use to help employees please customers and build sales and profits. After interviewing dozens of CEOs from North America’s leading companies, Casemore offers recommendations based on their advice for any organization that depends on the tripod of employees, customers, and sales.”
Quotes from The Unstoppable Organization;
“An unstoppable organization…provides customers with a customizable experience…supported and delivered by employees who have the freedom, knowledge and desire to provide such an experience, recognizing as they do so why it’s important.”
“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” (J.C. Penney founder James Cash Penney, 1875–1971)
“There is no sense perfecting your operating model if you first can’t attract and retain customers to bring in consistently growing revenue.”
“Even in the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace, customers are still people and social media and various other online technologies are necessary to engage with customers.”
“Defining value for your customers can seem quite difficult, but you need to find ways to remain in direct contact with them to ascertain the range of value they place on the service or product you provide.”
14 – The Art of Saying No | By Damon Zahariades
According to getAbstract, “Are you a professional doormat? Do people constantly push you around to get you to help them? If so, author Damon Zahariades’ best-selling instruction manual gives you useful techniques for saying no. Zahariades explains why you should speak honestly and directly about what you want to do and don’t want to do. This includes saying no when appropriate. He promises that the more often you say no now, the less often you’ll need to say it in the future.”
Quotes from The Art of Saying No;
“Saying no to people is one of the most important skills you can develop. It frees you to pursue your own interests, both personal and professional.”
“Saying yes is an ingrained habit for many of us. It’s something we learn to do over a long period of time. The longer we do it, the more entrenched the habit becomes until it’s instinctive.”
“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” (essentialism advocate Greg McKeown)
“Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. The problem is [that] if you’re constantly saying yes to other people, putting their priorities ahead of your own, you won’t have the time or energy to care for yourself.”
“The best way to help people over the long run is to ensure your needs are met first.”
“It’s unsurprising that we often say yes when we know we should say no. It’s an instinctive response born of our longing for other people’s approval.”
15 – The Now Habit | By Neil Fiore
According to getAbstract, “Psychologist Neil A. Fiore’s believes procrastination is an outdated habit used to protect yourself from fear of failure and self-criticism. Fiore offers examples, strategies, and concrete exercises to help you escape the anxiety, unhappiness, and alienation that result from procrastination. Learn why you procrastinate, how it serves you, and how to start taking charge of your life and time.”
Quotes from The Now Habit;
“Procrastination is a habit you develop to cope with anxiety about starting or completing a task.”
“Some of the most essential and complex learning and ‘work’ we ever do is achieved while playing.”
“One of the most devastating consequences of procrastination is that it leads to putting off living.”
“Both workaholics and chronic procrastinators are either working or feeling guilty about not working.”
“The three major fears that block action and create procrastination are the terror of being overwhelmed, the fear of failure and the fear of not finishing.”
“A ‘failure’ wants a guarantee before starting a project that everything will go perfectly, without any problems. A successful person is willing to take reasonable risks.”
“By recording time worked, you see your progress rather than your failure to meet an unrealistic schedule.”
16 – Manage Your Day-to-Day | By Jocelyn Glei and Scott Belsky
According to getAbstract, “Editor Jocelyn K. Glei offers a selection of practices that leaders use to encourage inspiration and to avoid multitasking. To help your ideas bloom, she says, structure time for your own creativity. Her fascinating compilation, part of the 99U Book Series, draws on the insights of various creative thinkers, including coach Mark McGuinness, Behance founder Scott Belsky, and behavioral economist Dan Ariely. Glei offers sound advice to help you work in tumultuous situations, connect with yourself instead of constantly communicating with everyone else, avoid the distractions of email and social media, and develop a productive routine. She also provides links to the websites of the thinkers whose insights she features.”
Quotes from The Unstoppable Organization;
“To create something worthwhile with your life…draw a line between the world’s demands and your own ambitions.”
“Everybody who does creative work has figured out how to deal with their own demons to get their work done.”
“We are losing the distinction between urgent and important…It’s easier to do the trivial things that are ‘urgent’ than it is to do the important things.”
“Being friendly while standing in line for coffee at a conference might lead to a conversation, a business card exchange and the first investment in your company a few months later.”
“Curate “who you follow on social media. You’re letting those people into your brain and they’re going to influence your thoughts.”
“When we focus on fulfilling our core needs and helping others do the same, we feel more satisfied and, consequently, are more effective.”
“Block off a substantial chunk of time, most days of the week, for applying sustained focus to your most important creative tasks.”
17 – When | By Daniel Pink
According to getAbstract, “Daniel H. Pink makes a compelling argument that “timing is everything” as he examines the role that time plays in human interactions. A large existing body of work already evaluates how to address projects, trends, and issues; this book launches what Pink calls a new genre of “when-to” books. He delves into the science of timing and taps into research from various fields. He presents valuable analyses as he addresses the time-related factors that affect people’s daily habits. He discusses the importance of “beginnings, midpoints” and “endings” and the role of timing in group dynamics. Pink complements each chapter with a “Time Hacker’s Handbook” that offers worthwhile exercises to help readers incorporate his when-to concepts into their personal and professional worlds. Pink’s guide will particularly help those who’d like to improve the flow of their days, projects, work, and personal schedules, as well as managers who want to boost productivity and workplace satisfaction.”
Quotes from The Unstoppable Organization;
“Afternoons are the Bermuda Triangles of our days. Across many domains, the trough represents a danger zone for productivity, ethics, and health.”
“decisions and negotiations should be conducted earlier in the day”
“If we stick with a task too long, we lose sight of the goal”
“The typical worker reaches the most unproductive moment of the day at 2:55 p.m.”
“Temporal landmarks slow our thinking, allowing us to deliberate at a higher level and make better decisions”
“I call time-outs like these “vigilance breaks”—brief pauses before high-stakes encounters to review instructions and guard against error.”
“Each of us has a “chronotype”—a personal pattern of circadian rhythms that influences our physiology and psychology.”
18 – Finish | By Jon Acuff
According to getAbstract, “Setting new goals is easy, but finishing them is hard. In this blockbuster bestseller, blogger, and popular speaker Jon Acuff shares his plans to help you actually achieve your goals. Acuff explains that perfectionism, the main blockade to reaching your objectives, delivers a negative message: the lie that something isn’t worth doing unless it’s perfect. People also fail to reach their goals because they set targets that are too ambitious. Acuff advises cutting your goal in half, breaking it down into smaller, more achievable chunks. He also advocates doubling your timeline, choosing how you will fail, and making your goals enjoyable. You’re more likely to finish tasks that are fun, exciting, and easy. Acuff goes off on long tangents, but his stories remain funny and relatable.”
Quotes from The Unstoppable Organization;
“More than likely, you’ve spent most of your life choosing to do more than is possible and beating yourself up for not being able to keep up.”
“Perfectionism will do its best to knock you down when you work on a goal.”
“The exercises that caused people to increase their progress dramatically were those that took the pressure off [and] did away with the crippling perfectionism that caused people to quit their goals.”
“Perfectionism has no sense of gray, things are only black or white. You do it perfectly or you don’t do it at all.”
“Some goals are difficult to cut in half. For those, don’t cut them in half; give yourself more time.”
“To use a term coined by author Josh Davis, “‘Strategic incompetence’ is the act of deciding ahead of time that you don’t care about your yard.”
“You have only two options right now. 1. Attempt more than is humanly possible and fail. 2. Choose what to bomb and succeed at a goal that matters.”
19 – Rest | By Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
According to getAbstract, “Are longer hours the answer to greater productivity? They’re not, according to Silicon Valley consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. A workaholic lifestyle may feel like the road to success, it’s not, but the real secret to an effective, creative life is learning to practice “deliberate rest.” Pang leverages an entertaining, persuasive blend of neuroscience and anecdotes from the lives of influential figures to present his case for physical and mental rest. Pang’s explanation of why deliberate breaks enable better work repositions resting as an active endeavor, a skill to practice, and a right you should claim. By showing how the best and brightest rely on skillful rest to achieve at the highest levels, Pang reveals why addiction to empty busyness harms more than it helps.”
Quotes from The Unstoppable Organization;
“Work and rest are not polar opposites. You cannot talk about rest without also talking about work.”
“Creative people don’t engage in deep play despite their high levels of activity and productivity; they’re active and productive because of deep play.”
Over the course of a life, deliberate rest restores your energy, gives you more time, helps you do more, and helps you focus on doing the things that matter most while avoiding those that don’t.”
“Like other forms of deliberate rest, walking for creativity involves skills that we can cultivate.”
“The most creative and most productive workers are the ones who are able to unplug from the office, recover their mental and physical energy, and return to their work recharged.”
“When it’s competitive, deep play has high symbolic stakes. When it’s personal, it offers lasting benefits and satisfaction that shallow play does not.”
20 – The Productivity Project | By Chris Bailey
According to getAbstract, “Productivity expert Chris Bailey has delved into this specialty for his whole career. After college, he took a year off to research productivity and to conduct carefully controlled and monitored productivity experiments. After that, Bailey spent ten years investigating “thousands of productivity hacks” to determine what people can do to increase their productivity and become consistently more productive. Bailey used that decade of experimentation to identify 25 effective productivity techniques.”
Quotes from The Unstoppable Organization;
“It’s difficult to be productive when you try to cram as much into your day as possible, because you’ll inevitably create a mental logjam as unexpected tasks crop up.”
“People like Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall and Steve Jobs all willed into existence some of the most brilliant ideas and inventions humanity has seen – and they had the exact same 24 hours every day that we do.”
“One of the biggest mistakes people make when they invest effort in improving their productivity is that they continue to work automatically, in response to the work that comes their way.”
21 – Unsubscribe | By Jocelyn Glei
According to getAbstract, “As time management expert Jocelyn K. Glei explains, many people have a love-hate relationship with email, but can’t imagine a business or socializing without it. The business world can’t function without email, but if you don’t have a proper handle on it – and most people don’t – you’re likely to find it difficult to work at peak efficiency and productivity. This manual warns that checking your email too frequently interferes with your productivity and your happiness. It also includes scripts that address common email problems.”
Quotes from The Unstoppable Organization;
“Staying engaged with meaningful work – and fending off the allure of email – is all about making progress visible.”
“Every email is a conversation, a social interaction that requires politeness, sensitivity, finesse and kindness.”
“If you don’t think email is the best means for responding, trust your instincts and choose a better approach.”
“If you want to make time to accomplish meaningful work, you have to let go of the notion of an empty inbox.’’
“You – and no one else – choose what to respond to and when. You don’t have to do anything.”
22 – The Power of When | By Michael Breus
According to getAbstract, “Your internal biological clock oversees the physical systems that determine your sleep and waking times and regulate your energy and attentiveness levels throughout the day. This internal timekeeper evolved when people planned activities around the rising and setting of the sun. People today often live in conflict with their internal timekeepers. Living out of sync with your “bio clock” causes insomnia and fatigue, undermines your health and contributes to mood disorders. Psychologist Michael Breus asserts that realigning your lifestyle with your body’s natural rhythm is relatively simple. Small changes to your schedule, such as altering when you go to bed, when you eat lunch or when you drink coffee, will provide a big payoff in terms of energy, mood, and effectiveness.”
Quotes from The Power of When;
“Just by making small tweaks to your schedule – such as when to have the first cup of coffee, when to answer emails, when to nap – you’ll nudge the rhythm of your day back in sync with the rhythm of your biology, and then everything will start to feel easier and flow naturally.”
“If you didn’t change a thing about what you do and how you do it, and only made micro-adjustments to when you do it, you’d be healthier, happier and more productive.”
“Getting sufficient quality sleep will do as much to fight and prevent disease as quitting high-risk behaviors such as smoking, drinking and eating junk food.”
“We created civilization and societies and made incredible advances that, ironically and effectively, turned our finely tuned and evolved inner clocks against us.”
“Five to 15 minutes of direct sunlight in the morning signals to the brain that it’s time to wake up and stops the production of melatonin.”
22 – The Inefficiency Assassin | By Helene Segura
According to getAbstract, “Productivity consultant Helene Segura, who bills herself as the “Inefficiency Assassin,” has a clear theme: Time management is life management. She details her “CIA framework” for time-management, advising you to “create clarity,” “implement structure and flow,” and “assemble your team” to manage your time productively. She offers tips and techniques you can use to make your personal and professional spheres more efficient. She advises against multitasking, interruptions and “flooded inboxes,” just as she advocates prioritization and her “DID” method for “Dealing with Daily Papers.”
Quotes from The Inefficiency Assassin;
“We find ourselves chasing what we think will help our career dreams to come true, and we end up missing the highlights in life.”
“Are there activities you are doing now that you could live without – ones that you could cut back…which would save you time?”
“Knowing what our top three or four priorities are in our lives gives us the clarity to make better decisions about how we use our time.”
“The more connected we are to our devices, the more disconnected we are from the people who are in front of us and the tasks for which we’re responsible.”
“If you don’t invest the time now to decide where you’ll store your items, you’ll spend far more time looking for supplies when you need them.”
“What you as a business professional need to do to be productive is not scientific. It’s a choice of mind over matter – making better decisions and implementing them.”
“Getting specific about the kind of life you want to have and the personal accomplishments you want to attain will help you to carefully guard your time.”
Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Time Management
Time is a resource that we seek to make the most out of since it dictates much of the activities that bring us both happiness and purpose in life. These books all try to provide tips and valuable insight into those who have utilized their time to be more efficient.
The bottom line is that your daily habits make up your lifelong success; changing your habits can be key to improving your work-life balance, letting you build a life that truly feels worth living.
Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.