Productivity Lifestyle | January 28, 2020

The Top 8 Best Selling Time Management Books to Read

Whether an entrepreneur or not, you need structure and balance in life. Running out and doing things without a plan or goal is the same as getting out of your house every day and running to a cliff and then jumping off the cliff. 

Time management is only one of many ways to achieve structure and balance in life. And learning about best practices can take many shapes and forms. If you are an avid reader than the list we have compiled will satisfy your needs. However, if you don’t read than we suggest tunning to LinkedIn Learning, Udemy or any other educational platform to learn about those practices through videos.

As an individual who enjoys reading, I am always visiting bookstores and libraries looking for literature that will help me start thinking about new ways of approaching life. Among the books that I love reading the most are those that use experiences as a means of connecting with the reader. But, finding the right books across bookshelves can be a challenge, possibly even a nuisance. To help you find the best time management books, we have dug the web and compiled a list of 11 best selling time management books for you to read.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

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Author/s: Stephen R. Covey, Jim Collins (Foreward, Contributor)

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Ebook

Goodreads ratings: 4.20/5 (459,255 ratings)

Date published 1989

This book was written two and a half decades ago and it is still a favorite among readers. Through this book, author Stephen Covey draws upon 200 years of literature to help us understand success and the means of achieving success. Among others, Covey focuses on habits as tools of growing independent with a set of skills that foster continuous growth. The use of examples and analogies in the book helps the reader grab concepts with relative ease.

The underlying facts and lessons disclosed in the book emulate the experiences of highly effective people and how those experiences have contributed to their successful life.

Definitely, an old but gold reading that you should not forgo.

Related: Change Management Tools to Help Adapt to Organizational Changes

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business 

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Author/s: Charles Duhigg

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, AudioBook, E-book 

Goodreads ratings: 4.09/5 (287,795 ratings)

Date published 2012

The power of habit is the second book in our list that looks at THE POWER OF HABIT. The way we manage time is closely associated with our daily habits. For example, waking up in the morning and taking a bath every day is a habit. But is that habit efficient? Would we be more efficient if we allocated time differently every other day or not?

The power of habit is evident, we just don't think about it on a daily basis. However, an individual by the name of Charles Duhigg did think about the relevance of habit in our daily lifestyle, and he wrote a book that everyone has heard of in one way or the other. According to author Duhigg, habits are a byproduct of many internal and external norms. Through examples backed by science and behavioral studies, Duhigg takes us through the process of addressing bad habits and fostering good ones. 

Additionally, certain sections from the book move away from the individual’s perspective to discuss the habits of organizations. It assesses, among others, how leaders can address dysfunctional habits that prohibit productivity within the organization. 

A truly remarkable book for those looking to understand what their good versus bad habits are.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

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Author/s: David Allen

Availability: Paperback, AudioBook, E-book 

Goodreads ratings: 3.99/5 (115,055 ratings)

Date published 2001

Today at 2 PM: I will have to send an email to a potential client by 5 PM

Tomorrow at 8 AM: Oh no, I forgot to send my client the email! What have I done? 

At this point, you may have lost that client. But how could you forget to send that email? Finding the answer to that question is the first step to not having to repeat it in the future. If you have had this dialogue with yourself in the past then GTD, short for Getting Things Done” is a book you should take a look into.

Habits are only one of the many obstacles that separate you from productivity. Another challenge that is discussed in detail by this book is the notion of distractions. The reason why you forgot to send the email to that potential client is that you got carried away by responsibilities. Managers, who wear multiple hats in a small business are one of the many victims of distractions. In an attempt to help people create a stress-free life, author David Allen has built a framework designed to help you keep in mind different tasks, ideas, and projects. 

If you have been in a situation like the one we described above then GTD should be something worth your time.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

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Author/s: Timothy Ferris

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, AudioBook

Goodreads ratings: 3.88/5 (146,018 ratings)

Date published 2007

There has been much controversy around this book, partially because of its spammy looking subtitle “Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” - idealistic right?

But, Ferris does a great job addressing a trend that has been on the rise for almost a decade, remote working and freelancing. The book talks about a new approach to being rich; Rather than looking at income in absolute terms, what if we analyzed the underlying factors that determine that income and see whether that person is rich or not. 

The example used in the book compares two individuals, who we are going to name Jack and Josy. On one hand, Jack is a consultant working 80 hours a week on a hypothetical 9-5 work schedule earning $100,000 per year. On the other hand, Josy is a graphic designer working 10 hours a week on a flexible work schedule earning $50,000 a year.

So who would you say is richer in this case? Jack, right?

Well, Ferris argues that it depends on the underlying factors that contribute to wealth. In absolute terms, $100,000 is more than $50,000; but Jack is tied to a schedule working overtime most of the time, while Josy enjoys her “freedom”. An additional point made by Ferris is that if we look at the hourly rate for both - $24/hour for Jack and $96/hour for Josy - than the end result changes.

Who would you say is not richer? Josy? Confusing, is it?

The idea that wealth can be looked into many perspectives is rather interesting. If you are a business owner looking to understand how your employees react to different types of work schedules and wages than we recommend this book.

Related: The Art of Time Mastery: How to Manage Time More Efficiently

The One Minute Manager

Author/s: Kenneth H. Blanchard, Spencer Johnson M.D. 

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, AudioBook, E-book 

Goodreads ratings: 3.89/5 (92,505 ratings)

Date published 1981

Published almost 40 years ago, the one minute manager is a book that is practiced to-date by leaders and managers from around the world. The goal of this book is to introduce a mindset that time is a valuable resource where every minute counts. As managers and/or leaders, one minute has tremendous value and there are many incorrect ways that that one minute can be spent.

The book introduces three concepts, One-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands. These concepts are tightly packed in a story which authors Blanchard and Johnson have tailored for the audience. The book tells the story of a young man looking to learn the ways of effective leaders. In his journey, the young man meets the so-called one minute manager who introduces the young man to various personalities that help the young man understand the ways of effective leadership.

If you are bored of reading theoretical books than “The One Minute Manager” is the candy you'll enjoy consuming.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

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Author/s: Cal Newport

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, AudioBook, E-book 

Goodreads ratings: 4.20/5 (54,469 ratings)

Date published 2016

In this book, Cal Newport looks at the impact that 21st-century trends have had on human behavior. The primary purpose of this book is to identify different types of work behavior and how they have changed as a result of modern technology. According to Newport, people either do shallow work or deep work. Shallow work requires little cognitive effort, like replying to emails, filling out timesheets, answering calls and tasks of similar nature. While deep work is an immersive process with which the individual has to stay engaged over long periods of time. A common example that illustrates deep work is Bill Gates’s “Think Weeks” where he isolated himself for weeks learning and thinking about great things.

The general idea behind deep work is that to do great work, people have to have the ability to retain focus and remove distractions. The rise of the entertainment industry, the internet, and social media has turned deep work into a scarce skill that individuals can hone to stay ahead of the competition. Knowing what distracts you and minimizing it is the first step to success.

Another key point elaborated by Newport is the relationship between productivity and busyness. Newport argues that being busy does not mean your productive, although popular belief says so. Being in a deep work state, however, does imply that you’re productive because it is assumed that you're 100% devoted to the work and no external factors can change that. 

We won’t spoil any more of the fun from you, go read the book and learn what exactly deep work and how successful individuals have used it to get to where they are today. Think big, think smart!

Related: How to Stay Focused at Work: Helping you succeed in the digital age

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Author/s: Greg McKeown

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, AudioBook, E-book 

Goodreads ratings: 4.03/5 (43,065 ratings)

Date published 2011

Friend: Can you do this for me, please? 

Your thoughts: Yes or no, what should I say…

More often then not, the answer is YES. We struggle to say NO, especially to those we hold dear. However, we never take into account the sacrifice that has to be made in order for that “yes” to be fulfilled. In Essentialism, the author talks about the effects of that “yes” and the unproportionate number of “no’s” that result from it. Simply said, for every yes, be ready to say many no’s.

The concept of yes and now is easy to grasp, but difficult to assess. How does one figure out when to say “yes” or when to say “no”? The answer to that question is not something the book defines, rather it helps you unveil the path to the answer through exploration, elimination, and execution - which are the three chapters of the book.

In many ways, this book addresses many concepts of deep work - which we just briefly discussed. A simple, minimalistic and in many ways essential book for new entrepreneurs to read.

Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

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Author/s: Brian Tracy

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, AudioBook, E-book 

Goodreads ratings: 3.87/5 (39,868 ratings)

Date published 2001

The book begins with the following quote by Mark Twain:

Eat a Live Frog Every Morning, and Nothing Worse Will Happen to You the Rest of the Day 

The analogy uses a “frog” to depict a task, a challenging one that you are likely to procrastinate on if no action is taken against it. A life-changing task that can shift the tides of your career if properly addressed. Tracy takes us through 21 unique ways of eating this frog.

Brain Tracy is a multi best-selling author who has captured business literature with great success. His depiction of procrastination in this book is exciting, concise and at the same time comprehensive. If you have read any of the Tracy books than we suggest you follow it up with this. As Tracy would say, Eat that frog and start conquering your goals.

The above collection is based on preference and we have worked hard to ensure that the list is as comprehensive as possible for people looking to jump into a new book. Similar to much of the self-help literature, today's best time management books talk about how personal habits have changed as a result of external factors (i.e. distractions) and how we can work to find clarity and retain focus in an attempt to achieve higher levels of success.


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