Among all the goals employees thrive to reach daily, staying productive seems to be the most difficult. Many of them wish they could get more done in less time. Luckily, some experts were willing to teach the art of productivity, and we have reviewed the top 20 productivity books that’ll help you get things done faster.
Employees have always been in a battle to stay productive and work smarter. There always seems to be distractions lurking around and little motivation to fend them off, so getting so many things done on time gets tough and exhausting. Isn't that just makes you wish for more time?
Well, the brutal truth is having more time is pointless if you haven’t learned the art of self-control and time management.
The good news is, several authors with proven real-life experiences have compiled personal lessons and professional advice in books to help us out. If you’re struggling with staying productive, here are 20 books to read that can boost your productivity
Best productivity books of all time
If you're embarking on a self-development journey, here are some book recommendations to inspire and carter for your well-being:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Author: Stephen Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a self-help productivity book published in 1989. Founded on the "Character Ethics" and its principles, the book helps readers see how the cultivation of their character can breed success. It also explains the effects of perception and assumption on progress. Reading this book teaches persona and professional efficiency. The seven habits highlighted in this book takes its readers on a journey to self-discovery.
Since its publication, the book has been elected the most influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century and was awarded the No. 1 best-selling hardcover book about family life.
Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity
Author: David Allen
Getting Things Done is a book written on the personal productivity GTD system developed by David Allen, a veteran coach and management consultant.
The book explains how the will of a strong mind make accomplishing other tasks impossible if the already-set task on your mind is still incompleted. In this book, David emphasizes the importance of relaxation in productivity and shares the breakthrough methods of a stress-free assignment.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Author: Charles Duhigg
Award-winning NY Times business reporter Charles Duhigg illustrates the science of habit in his book; Why habit exists, influences productivity, and how it can be changed. This book explores how reforming our habits can completely change our lives.
Duhigg's book has reached the bestseller list for The New York Times, Amazon, and USA Today. In 2012, it was also long-listed for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.
Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life
Author: J.D. Meier
Taking charge of your life activities and directing your energy into achieving results is key to productivity, and Meier didn't hesitate to let us know that in his book. In this book, Meier offers readers a simple system for achieving meaningful long and short-term results both personally and professionally.
This book also focuses on doing impactful things instead of checking off tasks on your to-do list.
Eat that Frog!
Author: Brian Tracy
Are you much of a procrastinator than you thought? Then you need to Eat that Frog! Brian Tracy highlights twenty-one steps to eliminating procrastination from personal experience. The principle behind the title and content of this book is to focus on the most difficult task when faced with several tasks.
For employees that want to drive higher results at work, here are some book recommendations:
The Power of Full Engagement
Author: Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz show the power of energy management over time management. In this book, readers are taught to protect their energy to strike a balance between work and life assignments.
The book scientifically approaches the different ways to manage energy using athletes and other high-performers as a case study, explaining how this set of people conserve energy, not time. The four sources of human energy; physical, mental, emotional, and mental, are introduced as the key to performance.
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get It
Author: Kelly McGonigal
Kelly teaches readers how to harness self-control in enhancing health, happiness, and productivity. This book was inspired by her students at Stanford University and how they struggled with the workload at school.
In this book, she explains how self-control takes charge of emotions and attention, allowing them to make healthier and happier steps as they strive to live a more productive life.
Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done
Author: David Allen
David offers readers a more extensive version of his iconic book, Getting Things Done. Ready for Anything gives readers an insight into how to stay focused, creative, and proactive. The book teaches readers how to work better and not harder because only then can you actually get things done.
Working alone, and need to motivate yourself as a one-man-army. Here are some books that'll inspire you to stay productive:
The One Thing
Author: Garry Keller with Jay Papasan
The One Thing is another book that teaches readers the power of prioritization – completing the task with the most impact. Garry also illustrates successful habits to overcome the six lies keeping our success away and beat the seven-time thieves.
The book has won a total of 12 awards and has been translated into 26 languages. It was also the Top 100 Business Books of All Time on Goodreads. The One Thing was named a best seller by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon.com.
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
Author: Jocelyn K. Glei
If your job is fast-paced in nature, you'd need to live day-by-day. This book consists of contributions from twenty creative and successful minds. In this book, you learn to manage time, stay focused, and create time for the things that matter.
Best productivity books on time management
Want to master the art of time control? Here are a few books you should read.
Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours
Author: Robert Pozen
Teaching a full course load at Harvard while serving as the full-time chairman of a global financial-services firm, Pozen shared about how the workload of both jobs prompted him to be super productive.
In this book, he reveals his secret to productivity and high performance and the different ways to achieve both. Pozen has just the right advice for you for people overwhelmed by several deadlines and workload pressure. He also prompts his readers to measure productivity by results, not hours spent.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
Author: Laura Vanderkam
Many think getting a grip of time is impossible, but not Laura Vanderkam. After interviewing several successful and happy people, she realized that the secret to their positive emotions is their ability to prioritize. Laura teaches readers to prioritize and allocate their time effectively. This way, when they are left with little time, they only have the least important stuff to deal with.
Laura Vanderkam made an inspiring speech on Ted Talk about time management and getting the most out of life by learning how to control our free time
15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management
Author: Kevin Kruse
To find the secrets of effective time management, Kruse thoroughly researched and interviewed billionaires, straight-A students, Olympic athletes, and 239 entrepreneurs - including Kevin Harrington, Mark Cuban, James Altucher, Lewis Howes, and Grant Cardone.
This book is best for people who struggle to optimize their time. It sheds light on the ways of achieving more in less time.
Best productivity books for laser focus
For laser focus to enhance productivity, here are some highly-recommended reads:
Free to Focus
Author: Michael Hyatt
Free to Focus is a book about the influence of time on productivity. In this book, Michael explains how many of us spend all our lives working for time, instead of making time works for us. He also offers readers nine effective ways to succeed at work and other life aspects by defining goals, re-evaluating, and managing time.
First Things First
Author: Stephen Covey
Here we have another self-help book from Stephen Covey, First Things First. He illustrates how we mistreat ourselves by prioritizing things that have no impact on our happiness and our bigger goals.
Stephen further advises readers to prioritize based on urgency, emphasizing reaching your destination no matter how slow.
Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
Author: Jake Zeratsky and John Knapp
With four simple steps, Jake and John have created a model for workers based on their experience designing iconic tech products. If you think this book is for employees in the tech department only, you're wrong. The four-step daily framework cuts across all departments at work and in life too. This book focuses on making small daily changes till you take charge of the dynamics of time.
Best productivity books of 2021
Here are some top picks for you to read in 2021;
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Author: Greg McKeown
Greg had this book specially written for people who get hit with the anxiety of not doing enough or feel overwhelmed by the pressure at work. The book doesn't illustrate any productivity or time management technique but illustrates a systematic discipline that gives readers the power of discernment.
Greg teaches readers how to set their priorities straight and stay in control of their choices.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Author: Cal Newport
In Deep Work, Newport embraces the idea of social media and the distraction it provides. His vision is to embrace these distractions as a reward for every deep work you do. His book eliminates the tedious work life many employees believe helps them stay productive. Newport divided this book into two – one part embracing little distractions and the other embracing deep work ethic in getting massive results.
The 4-Hour Workweek:
Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich
Author: Timothy Ferris
The 4-hour workweek is a guide for people who want to control their life instead of working all their lives. The book highlights Timothy's "lifestyle design" and discriminates against the traditional system of working.
Think Like da Vinci: 7 Easy Steps to Boosting Your Everyday Genius
Author: Michael Gelb
Michael Gelb dives into the creative life of the historical genius da Vinci. In this book, you get to understand the ways of creative thinking using da Vinci as a model. The book helps you tap into your inner genius as you read exercises and provocative lessons inspired by the iconic genius.
Get more done in less time
Reading productivity books is excellent to help you take charge of your life and work. While these books are self-sufficient, we recommend that you complement these books by listening to productivity podcasts and leveraging productivity apps that can ease the burden of distractions and time wastage.
For HRs and managers, visit the Grove HR resource for templates and tools that'll make managing subordinate employees more effortless, and of course – more effective.