Learning how to be more productive can be difficult at first. Some of us are used to trying to do many things at once and aren’t quite sure if we’re doing any of it right. Others can never seem to set and meet goals, and we don’t know why.
These top books on productivity will teach you how to live a more productive life, and answer many if not all of your questions about whether or not you need to change your habits.
1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
If you have ever tried breaking a bad habit before, you have probably wondered how you came to adopt that habit in the first place. Science has an explanation for why we have to work so hard to undo the habits we no longer wish to keep, but it can be easily explained through The Power of Habit. This book by Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Duhigg discusses habits, why they exist and how we can change bad habits into better ones. You will learn how to practice forming habits that will make you more productive in your personal and professional life.
2. Life Hacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster and Better by Adam Pash
Unlike many other productivity books out there, Adam Pash’s productivity guide is about making the reader’s life easier, and even more fun. By using smarter, more effective and creative techniques that work for you on a personal level, you will come to enjoy the ways you spend your life, something you may never have realized you could do while working.
3. Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
The hardest thing about learning to live a more productive life is learning how to do it without becoming too stressed. You can be productive without stressing out, and David Allen’s bestselling book on productivity proves it. Allen has a theory that we as people are actually more productive the more we relax: the amount of work we are able to get done is related to how much time we spend not doing work. Though it might seem a little backwards, his methods and teachings actually make sense. Being productive should not make you more stressed, and by reading this book you will learn all you need to know to get more done and relax while doing it.
Whether you are aware of it or not, most likely your primary barrier to improved productivity in your life has to do with distractions. We all have them; we all give into them. This book will teach you how to separate the things in your life that are absolutely essential from the things you do not need to spend your time focusing on. That way, you will be able to put more time and effort into the things that really matter.
5. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change by Stephen Covey
Sean Covey’s productivity guide focuses primarily on problems, and how to use personal development techniques to solve those problems. Productivity, and learning all the various ways we can avoid common problems by managing our time and relationships and making smarter decisions, will not lead to fewer problems, but solutions will be much easier, and often quicker, to find.
6. The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
In general, we like to do a lot of stuff. Being busy is what makes us feel good … that is, until we realize there is too much stuff to do and we become stressed and have trouble meeting demands. This book is a toolkit for those who want to be productive without having to drop everything in order to do it. It considers the idea that the ways we use the energy we have at our disposal are much more important than the ways we attempt, and often fail, to manage our time.
In a way, productivity isn’t even really about the things we spend our time on, at least, according to J. D. Meier. Instead, productivity can be viewed as a process that focuses more on outcomes than inputs. This book introduces a simple system for measuring results as a different way to look at productivity, why we do the things we do and how we can somehow figure out how to do more.
8. Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done by David Allen
When we are struggling to get things done, we are quick to blame ourselves for not working hard enough. David Allen doesn’t think you’re lazy: he just thinks you could do this whole productivity thing a little better. The theory behind the methodology in this book is that, in order to be more productive in our lives, we need to work better, not harder. This book will teach you smarter ways to manage your time and organize your tasks so that you can accomplish more without having to put in more effort than is necessary.
Have you ever reached into a container of Oreos, intending to only eat one, but instead you eat half the package? The urge to eat those Oreos was one you were unable to fight because you did not have the willpower to do so. The good news is, this is normal, and it can be fought. This book by Kelly McGonigal explores the science behind willpower and how to obtain better self control in order to live a happier and much more productive life. Self control won’t just help you eat fewer Oreos: it will also help you set and achieve goals no matter what the cost.
Which of these books will you read first?