Looking for the best books on time management and productivity? I’ve got you covered.
The list below contains bestsellers that’ll help you improve your time management skills and get things done in a much more sustainable way.
—Books on Time Management—
1. The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran & Michael Lennington
The 12 Week Year is a time management book that aims to teach you how to get more done in 12 weeks than others do in a year.
The book shows you how to break down your year into 12-week chunks and get the most out of them.
Combining scheduling and goal setting, the authors offer a deep understanding of the concept of execution, how to apply it in the right way, and how to make your goals happen.
- Excellent framework for staying laser focused in your business and personal life
- Lots of tips and strategies you can implement immediately
- Some ideas seem overly complicated
2. Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
You try a time management system.
It doesn’t work for you or you fail to follow through on it.
Then you feel guilty. And start afresh with a new productivity system only to find yourself going through the same cycle again.
Four Thousand Weeks aims to liberate you from that vicious cycle.
The book focuses on the shortness of life and doing what really matters now—not tomorrow, not next time—now.
It aims to shift our perspective on time by emphasizing how limited we are on this planet—encouraging us to accept our limits.
Four Thousand Weeks is for anyone who has tried several time management strategies and tools and still can’t get everything done.
- Will help you create a healthier relationship with time and productivity
- Not your classic time management book; more philosophical in nature
3. Make Time by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
Make Time offers 87 tactics for better prioritizing your time and making the most of it.
It focuses on how to set up your digital environment, like your phone or computer, and your physical environment—the layout of your room/workspace—to support deep, focused work.
You’ll learn how to design situations to be less distracting in your work life and home life and how to make bad habits harder to do while encouraging good ones.
- Easy to implement strategies for becoming more productive
- A good introductory handbook to being more productive in our digital era
- Offers a holistic view of productivity
- Many of the ideas are a bit simplistic
4. 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
That’s how many hours we have in a week.
The premise of the book is that we should consider our time as a week-long chunk.
The author argues that the problem is not we don’t have enough time; rather, we don’t use our time wisely.
In the book, Laura Vanderkam offers creative ways for rearranging your schedule to make time for the things that really matter to you.
- A unique way of looking at time and productivity
- Not for everyone; some of the ideas apply to specific groups like two-parent households
—Books on Productivity—
5. Getting Things Done by David Allen
Getting Things Done is a productivity book that provides groundbreaking strategies for stress-free performance.
In the book, David Allen asserts that our ability to perform is directly related to our ability to relax.
Only when you have a clear, relaxed mind can you be effective and reach your creative potential.
The book’s strategies aim to transform the way you work and help you perform at a sustainable pace without burning out.
- Provides an excellent system for properly organizing everything on your plate—in both your personal and professional life
- Will help you become more productive, clear your mind, and relax knowing everything on your to-do list will get done
- Can take weeks or even months to fully learn, use, and adjust to Allen’s system
- Wordy and redundant in some parts
6. Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
Eat That Frog! promotes the habit of prioritizing the most important/tedious task on your to-do list.
In essence, Brian Tracy argues that if we do our most challenging task first, the rest of the workday becomes easier.
Eat That Frog! offers several tactics for focusing on your most important tasks and getting them done.
- Short, concise, easy to read
- Simple strategies you can apply immediately
- Most of the strategies are common
7. Deep Work by Cal Newport
We live in a distracted, distracting world.
Where with the advent of technology, the internet, and social media, we’ve all but lost our ability to concentrate for a long period.
Yet focusing deeply on one thing is crucial for meaningful work.
In this book, Cal Newport offers tried and true strategies for working deeply.
The deep work approach has been around for centuries and has helped individuals achieve incredible feats in the arts and sciences.
Newport systematizes this approach, helping you understand why deep work is such a powerful tool.
He also teaches you how to find the time and discipline to concentrate deeply.
If you feel like you’re constantly distracted, barely getting things done, and craving to do deep, fulfilling work, Deep Work is for you.
- Great for helping you cultivate the habit of focusing deeply on a task and making the most of your time
- Wordy in some parts
8. Essentialism by Greg McKeown
We’re all being bombarded with information in our current world.
So it’s critical we decide what’s truly essential to us as individuals.
In Essentialism, Greg McKeown provides a system for discerning what’s essential, eliminating everything else, and making the most contribution to the things that matter.
If you’re overwhelmed with the choices in your life and are looking for more direction and focus, Essentialism is for you.
- An excellent introduction to the art of doing less
- The ideas don’t work for everyone
9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
The 7 Habits is a perennial self-help classic that focuses on aligning your character with seven universal principles that’ll help you become more effective and get results in your personal and professional life.
- Simple, everyday examples that are relatable and easy to implement
- Wordy in some parts
10. Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
Smarter Faster Better focuses on personal and organizational productivity.
The book reveals the profoundly different ways in which the most productive people and companies view the world.
Using compelling stories to explore the science of productivity, Charles Duhigg shows how you can succeed with less struggle and stress while becoming smarter, faster, and better at what you do.
- Easy, enjoyable narratives
- Real-world examples that demonstrate the book’s advice
- The focus of the book seems a bit scattered as it flits between personal and organizational productivity
11. The ONE Thing by Gary Keller
This book encourages you to do the one thing that has the highest impact and results in your life and career.
It emphasizes focusing on the process instead of the reward.
In The ONE Thing, Gary Keller shows you how to achieve remarkable results by cutting through the clutter and focusing on your one thing.
- A transformative look at success
- Helpful for zoning in on your most impactful activities
- The ideas aren’t applicable to all lifestyles
12. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
This book focuses on the importance of creating simple checklists.
Checklists are crucial for tackling routine tasks and can make your life simpler, better, and more effective.
In the book, Atul Gawande makes a case for the effectiveness of checklists and shows how they work to prompt remarkable, immediate improvements.
- Applicable to almost anything you do in life and work
- Compelling examples of why checklists matter
- More of a manifesto than a how-to guide