Time management books are an affordable and efficient way to improve your skills and become more productive, but only if you read the right books. Unfortunately, the market for management and self-help books is huge, and many of these books wear attractive labels, such as 'best-seller', 'recommended by', 'approved by', and 'award winning'. However, you can find inspiring and helpful books among them if you know what you need and what to look for. Here is a comprehensive guide for choosing time management books that deserve to be in your library.
To find out more, keep reading this article. We will expand on the following:
Let's dive in!
No one has inborn time management skills. We learn how to manage time efficiently; most of the time, we learn by making mistakes. However, many times, self-teaching through a try-and-error process doesn't have the expected results. Furthermore, it's time-consuming and exhausting. Do you have to be late a thousand times to understand what you are doing wrong? Using solutions experienced by millions of people and proven helpful is a better idea.
In addition, time management books are always at hand, on your bookshelf. You can reach for them whenever you find yourself in a difficult period. Maybe you highlight your favorite paragraphs and go straight to the practical solutions. Whatever worked for you and worked in the past, too, is there. You receive instant advice with no effort.
But reading new books is also important. New time management methods and practices appear all the time. Authors keep up with the work environment changes and adapt to new work habits, such as remote work. Therefore, keep an eye on new books, too.
Following our methodology got us to a short list of 10 time management books that should, from our point of view, be in everyone's library. The order is not essential. You can start with the most appealing to you and move to the next one when and if needed. However, all our choices are endorsed by significant publications and experts and represent a good starting point.
Management and productivity consultant David Allen is best known for his time management method called Getting Things Done. The book "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" presents his approach and teaches the reader how to be productive and relaxed simultaneously. The author claims that our ability to relax determines our productivity because only well-rested, clear, and organized people can reach their potential. Both author and book enjoy wide popularity beyond the business field.
Artur Worsley from The art of living, put toghether a simple diagram highlighting the productivity system of David Allen.
Popular quote: "We (1) capture what has our attention; (2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it; (3) organize the results, which presents the options we (4) reflect on, which we then choose to (5) engage with."
Renowned author Stephen Covey focuses not only on time management for business purposes but also on our day-to-day life. He shows simple and practical actions we can all do to become more successful and have a good life. Covey looks at habits and traits, personal and professional life, and all the small choices we make every day. He writes with humor and addresses all individuals.
Image via The Voice of Inspiration
Popular quote: "In more than 25 years of working with people in business, university, and marriage and family settings, I have come in contact with many individuals who have achieved an incredible degree of outward success, but have found themselves struggling with an inner hunger, a deep need for personal congruency and effectiveness and for healthy, growing relationships with other people."
Time management skills are essential when it comes to avoiding procrastination and getting things done on time. Eat the frog is a well-known method for planning your day. You've probably already read about it, but reading the original book and having it in your library to look over the 21 methods for conquering procrastination any time you want is the right way to do it. Furthermore, the book has been revised and updated periodically. If you prefer the e-book, you can download it here.
Image source: Top Results Academy
Popular quote: "Decide exactly what you want. Either decide for yourself or sit down with your boss and discuss your goals and objectives until you are crystal clear about what is expected of you and in what order of priority. It is amazing how many people are working away, day after day, on low-value tasks because they have not had this critical discussion with their managers."
With a focus on habits, James Clear's book provides methods for improving your time management skills from a personal perspective. It doesn't matter if you work in an office or from your home. It doesn't matter if you try to improve your work productivity or bring order to your lifestyle. Good habits and bad habits are Clear's way to make things right. The book includes biology, psychology, neuroscience facts, true stories, and a straightforward guide everyone can follow.
Image source Reggie Paquette
Popular quote: "You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results."
We have so many technologies and informational resources that we lose the ability to focus and to be in the flow. The book "Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World" aims to teach you to focus intensely and avoid distractions. Newport shows you the benefits of deep work and gives you a training program to adjust your mindset and habits. The book includes relevant stories and examples to help you digest and relate the information.
Image source SketchingDev
Image source 7pace
Popular quote: "Deep work is necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity. We now know from decades of research in both psychology and neuroscience that the state of mental strain that accompanies deep work is also necessary to improve your abilities. Deep work, in other words, was exactly the type of effort needed to stand out in a cognitively demanding field like academic psychiatry in the early twentieth century."
Simple and efficient, "The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" shows you that only six things are blocking your success, and seven are stealing your time. If you overcome those, your road to success becomes smooth. All you have to do is to simplify your workload, prioritize, and focus on the most important tasks. This time management book advises you to find the one task that will help you do all the others faster and forget about multitasking.
Images via MeaningfulHQ, NJlifehacks
Popular quote: "Success isn't a game won by whoever does the most."
Did you know the 80/20 ratio is found in almost everything around us? For example, 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. If we translate this statement into financial impact, then 80% of a business's revenue comes from 20% of its customers. That's the principle behind Koch's book, "The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less." The author demonstrates that we can achieve more by doing less and defines the 80/20 principle for time management: only 20% of what we do matters actually, so identify and prioritize it. Download the book here.
Image sources Readingaphics
Popular quote: "What is the 80/20 Principle? The 80/20 Principle tells us that some things are likely to be much more important than others. A good benchmark or hypothesis is that 80 percent of results or outputs flow from 20 percent of causes, and sometimes from a much smaller proportion of powerful forces."
Are you running out of time for important activities? Laura Vanderkam teaches you how to plan your week, such as you have enough time for everything, from sleeping to sports to family. The 168 hours a week are enough, but you must learn to manage your time more efficiently. The book is based on true stories and study cases. Although the main principle may not be new to you (do the important stuff first), Vanderkam's demonstrations and methods are useful tools in transforming the principle into practice.
Image source Mastermindevent
Popular quote: "I approach this not as a productivity guru, but as a journalist who is interested in how successful, happy people build their lives. I am particularly interested in how people who are not household names achieve the lives they want, and what we can learn from their best practices."
"Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" is not another time management book but a new discipline that will teach you to identify the essentials and eliminate the nonsensical stuff that fills your day. McKeown demonstrates how finding the essential help you avoid being overwhelmed, unutilized, confused, or stressed. Instead of providing a time management strategy, the author offers a strategy for reclaiming our time, making better decisions, and doing less while accomplishing more.
Image source Toby Sinclair
Popular quote: "The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away – it can only be forgotten."
In his best-seller, Tim Ferriss explains how you can increase your income without working more. The book covers much more than time management and addresses outsourcing, automation, delegating, working methods, and more. It helps you avoid procrastination, be productive, and enjoy life. Leaving for later what you can do now is not an option for Ferriss.
Popular quote: "Gold is getting old. The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility. This is an art and a science we will refer to as Lifestyle Design (LD)."
Horray, you've reached the end of the article. Here are the top 10 time management books that we have discovered according to our research:
The answer differs from one person to another. For example, some people may need better time management skills to plan their workday and finish their tasks on time. Others may need methods for improving annual leave planning, productivity at work, and balancing work and family life. Nowadays, many people realize they lack self-management skills. For them, working remotely is stressful, inefficient, and demoralizing.
You may want to rely on peer reviews and read time management books recommended by your colleagues and managers. Or you may want to do your research and evaluate the books based on public feedback, experts' reviews, sales levels, or the publisher's popularity. Once you have your criteria, you can gather data, aggregate the results, and create your 'best of' time management list of books to read next.
Our methodology for choosing the best time management books includes a few aspects:
No one book solves all the problems. Time management books provide inspiration, knowledge, and possible solutions. It's up to you what you take from each of them and how you apply the information to your lifestyle. However, it's important to admit that time management skills aren't just for the office. They influence your mindset and change how you live, relate to others, and grow. So don't waste time; it's our most precious thing.