Have you ever found yourself wondering how time flies when working on your projects? We’ve all been there.
It begins with a feeling that you have all the time in the world, and then suddenly, you just have minutes before the deadline.
Time is one of the most precious yet scarcest resources we have. Once spent, time can never be regained. Michael Altshuler, peak performance and sales expert, put it nicely:
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
However, how can you govern the clock so that you get the most done out of your day?
We share some of the best books on time management that offer valuable advice on the essential skills for improving your productivity and boosting your career.
1. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Most of us are always trying to get more done in less time. However, Greg McKeown suggests accomplishing only the right things. His book is about prioritizing tasks and determining what’s essential and then eliminating everything else that is not.
Doing so leaves you only with what really matters. Essentialism is more than just a time management technique. The book shares valuable information on how to declutter your life and minimize time loss while working more efficiently.
- Focus on finding tasks that are important and get rid of those that are distracting and non-essential.
- If you have a lot on your plate, you can’t focus on what’s important and this will affect your effectiveness.
- Focusing on tasks that bring results improves your efficiency and productivity.
2. Eat that Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
Stephen Covey once said, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important.” Eat that frog is a metaphor used to describe doing the hardest task first thing in the morning.
The idea comes from the reasoning that if you eat the frog in the morning, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your day can’t get any worse.
- Eat that Frog! is a book on prioritization. Create a list of things to do and then rank them from the hardest to the easiest.
- Always plan your work beforehand. Being proactive can help you become more successful at work and in life.
- Discipline is one of the top principles of top achievers. Always strive to finish what you started.
3. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferris
Timothy Ferris addresses the various aspects of wealth creation. Just because you’re earning more than someone else doesn’t mean you’re richer. Ferris argues that richness depends on the underlying factors that contribute to wealth.
Let’s say Joe is working 60 hours a week and earning $80,000 annually and Jane is working 10 hours a week and earning $50,000. Who would you say is richer among the two? Joe, right? While $80,000 is definitely more than $50,000, Joe is breaking his back working overtime most of the time. He rarely has time for himself.
Jane, on the other hand, has a flexible schedule and time to do other personal activities like socializing.
- Be open-minded and think about working outside the office. It’s more liberating and offers more flexibility.
- Set clear objectives in life and define what you really want to achieve.
- Ask yourself if you’re content with your life right now. Is this what you really want to do?
- Eliminate distractions and time-wasters that are dragging you behind.
- Avoid multitasking. Automate what you can and outsource things that are not essential at the moment.
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4. Atomic Habits by James Clear
One of the greatest time management books and The New York Times Bestseller Atomic Habits highlights effective steps to build good habits and break bad ones. James Clear advises that it’s the small changes that matter.
He shares strategies that will teach you how to break bad habits and find a system that makes you more efficient at time management. This book will inspire you to implement simple behaviors in daily life and work, and rise to the level of your goals.
Clear shares inspirational stories of Olympic gold medalists, business leaders, and award-winning artists who have applied the science of tiny habits that reshaped their success.
- You’ll understand why you keep repeating bad behavior and how to make time for good habits.
- You’ll learn how to design an environment that makes success easier.
- You’ll learn how to overcome a lack of motivation and willpower.
5. How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks and Breaking the Procrastination Habit by S. J. Scott
“While we waste our time hesitating and postponing, life is slipping away.” Seneca.
Procrastination—we all do it sometimes, and it’s one of the obstacles blocking you from making progress in life and at work. It’s what’s holding you back from living the life you always dreamt of.
However, that stops now. How to Stop Procrastinating by S. J. Scott is one of the must-read books on time management. The author uses a specific framework to help you become action-oriented. He shares his own experience and how he overcame procrastination and offers advice on how to avoid procrastinating in the simplest ways.
- Find out what makes you procrastinate. Is it out of sheer laziness, lack of motivation, or fear?
- Learn how to break free of this vice and turn your life around.
- Develop a positive mindset and healthy habits to get things done, even when you don’t feel like it.
6. 168 Hours. You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
All of us get 168 hours per week—no more, no less. Even so, some people seem to get the most out of that time than others. What’s the secret? Well, grab yourself a copy of 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam to find out.
She drives the point home using real-life stories of successful and happy people. In her interviews, she discovered that to succeed in life and at work, you must put the important stuff first.
- Find out where you actually spend time and determine whether or not it’s adding value to your life.
- Learn to think in terms of hours, not days. Eventually, you’ll be able to focus on your core work and get the most out of the time you have.
- She recommends keeping a journal so you can identify time wasters and unnecessary activities.
7. 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman – One of The Best Time Management Books!
Most books on time management advocate doing fewer things that add value rather than struggling to do multiple things at once. We all have the same hours in a day, and how well you plan that time determines how much you can achieve.
In his book, 18 Minutes, Bregman shares that you don’t really need that much motivation, just enough to get you started. More importantly, don’t spend a lot of time switching between tasks. Otherwise, you’ll end up with lots of half-done tasks.
- Do not multitask.
- Take five minutes at the start of the day to schedule your time.
- Take one minute every hour to pause and reset.
- Take five minutes at the end of the day to reflect on what you achieved and make changes accordingly.
8. How Did I Get Busy? by Burton Valorie
Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing important things with your time. Sometimes we work too much to the extent we lose sight of our goals. Valorie will help you rediscover your purpose and true priorities.
- Learn how to find a perfect balance between time management and productivity.
- Discover ways to shift out of overdrive and reclaim your schedule and life.
9. Time Efficiency Makeover: Own Your Time and Your Life by Conquering Procrastination by Dorothy K Breininger and Debby S. Bitticks
Time Efficiency Makeover is another book about procrastination. When things don’t go according to plan, it’s all too easy to get distracted. The authors share step-by-step guidelines on how to stop postponing things in your life.
From chores at home and work projects to neglected relationships and unpaid bills, you’ll find the advice in this book truly life-altering.
- Understand what’s holding you back and how to get back on track.
- Discover whether you’re a procrastinator or what other life challenges are affecting your progress.
- Learn how to stay focused and motivated in everything you do.
- Discover how to maximize your time and improve efficiency.
10. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse
If you like reading stories about how successful people got where they are today, this book is for you. Kevin Kruse asks 13 Olympic athletes, 239 entrepreneurs, 29 straight-A students, and seven billionaires their number one secret to productivity.
He then summarizes the results and shares them in his book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management.
- Successful people focus on values, priorities, and consistent habits.
- Delegate tasks that don’t add value to your life.
- Remember to take care of yourself – sleep enough, eat healthy, and work out.
11. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Charles Duhigg, an award-winning business reporter, shares fascinating stories and the science behind our habits. If you crave change but never seem to get it right, start reexamining your habits.
Duhigg shows us how habits shape everything we do, whether at work or in life.
He argues that you can’t eliminate bad habits, you can only change them. This book will transform your life through a deep understanding of the choices you make.
- Your journey to mastering the art of time management starts with focusing on good habits.
- Establishing a habit is one thing, making it stick is another. You must have strong willpower to maintain good habits.
- Learn the three steps of habits: Cue, Routine, and Reward.
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12. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Whether you work from home or in-office, distractions are all around you. Be it from work colleagues, neighbors, pets, friends, or the Internet, many things can peel your attention away from work.
Cal Newport shares how you can focus without giving in to distractions. Deep Work is a time management book that reminds us of the importance of setting aside time for deep meaningful work. The book explores the four principles you can use to change your approach to work and achieve more in life.
- Establishing a good work ethic results in notable benefits.
- Discover the four rules you can apply to transform your mind so you can concentrate on your tasks in an increasingly competitive digital world.
- Know what distracts you and try to minimize it.
- Deep work takes practice and commitment to master. However, once you do, it adds considerable value.
- Entering a highly concentrated deep state enables you to learn new skills faster.
- Shallow work is easier, but if you do it a lot, you begin to lose the ability to perform deep work.
13. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Zeratsky and John Knapp
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn.
Time management skills help you stay on top of things. However, life isn’t a smooth-flowing river. No matter how much you try to hit your targets, you can’t get everything done. Make Time offers thought-provoking points to help you focus on what’s important.
The authors, best known for their experience designing popular tech products like Google Ventures, YouTube, and Gmail, share 80 tactics to manage your time more efficiently. Experiment with these points and find out what works for you.
- Highlight one priority per day and focus all your energy and time on it.
- Proactivity leads to better productivity and a step closer to achieving your dreams.
- Read insightful four-step daily framework to optimize time, energy, and focus at work.
- Design your environment such that you can stay focused and complete your highlight task.
14. No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy
Did you know that your time is worth $340 per hour? At least, according to Dan Kennedy, it is. While it’s not possible to start as a $340-per-hour entrepreneur, you certainly can start implementing steps towards reaching such a goal.
No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs has heaps of advice on the best strategies for being a successful entrepreneur. It should make interesting reading for anyone who wants to quit their 9-5 jobs and grow their own business.
- Identify time vampires and eliminate them before they suck you dry.
- Self-discipline is the driving force behind reaching unstoppable heights in business.
- Focus on the things you do best. Unnecessary activities will only waste your time.
15. The Checklist manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
In a competitive world where your schedule is always full, checklists are critical in organizing your day. The Checklist Manifesto explores the importance of checklists in managing complex day-to-day activities.
A checklist ensures you don’t omit or overlook tasks that need to be tackled to achieve your targets. If you don’t use checklists, this book introduces you to this simple, yet effective tool that will make your life much easier.
- Writing down tasks that need to be done can help you become more focused.
- Checklists show how much work awaits you and ensures you don’t forget a single task.
- When writing a checklist, make it short and clear. Checklists are meant for remembering, and long sentences just won’t cut it. Additionally, update your checklists regularly to stay on top of things.
We hope you enjoyed this collection of the best books on time management. You’ll realize that changing bad habits and eliminating procrastination is the key to success and happiness. These values help you learn to reclaim your time and govern the clock instead of letting the clock govern you.
We must point out that you can’t manage time without an intuitive time tracking app. Try the Traqq time tracker to get detailed reports of how you actually spend your working hours. Figure out which apps you use often and eliminate those that waste your time.
What’s more, you’ll get notified of every hour worked so you can keep track of time and take the necessary breaks.