17 Must-read Books for Time Management

We all know time management can be difficult. This is especially true if you never had to organize your time before. In other words, you may need some additional help if you

  • Are a new college student
  • Just started your first job
  • Recently switched companies and/or industries
  • Are facing burnout and overworking

And in many other cases. Fortunately, there are many books for time management. These books explain different time management techniques in depth.

We have found the 17 most useful books on this topic. They contain a wide variety of information and different techniques and approaches. The one thing they have in common is their usefulness and reliability. Hence, we hope to help you find the perfect one for you.

Books for time management

1. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch

The 80/20 Principle has the goal of achieving fantastic results with as little effort as possible. In other words, 80% of results should come from 20% of the effort. This reduces the stress and helps in controlling how busy a person is.

To put it plainly, Koch develops a time management technique that helps reduce the amount of work needed for exceptional results. The goal isn’t to do more, but to put the bulk of your energy and creativity into the biggest (essential) priorities.

The book contains a brief history of the principle and its versions from an academic point of view. Then, you can learn how to apply the 80/20 principle to thrive in the business world.

2. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management- The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs by Kevin Kruse

In contrast to the previous entry, Kruse takes a more hands-on approach. it isn’t focused on a single technique. Instead, it focuses on what works on a personal level. This is a great book for people who want to learn about a variety of time management techniques. It is also a great example of how different techniques can work perfectly for one person and have no effect on another person’s results.

One of 15 Secrets’ biggest advantages is the wide scope of the people contributing to the books. In other words, the readers can also come from a variety of backgrounds and have different goals.

3. The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey, the author of this book wondered about the best time management techniques and strategies. That is why he started a year-long experiment. He conducted multiple productivity tests with himself as the subject. Now, The Productivity Project stands before us.

The book is a record of the experiments, as well as observations Bailey made. These include, first and foremost, the tactics that had the biggest impact on the author. For example, it contains great insight into mindfulness and deliberate work.

Additionally, the author explains the scientific research on the topics. That is to say, this isn’t a simple personal account. Instead, it contains a lot of research and different perspectives.

4. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Newport understands the effect different distractions can have on anyone’s work. It isn’t difficult to recognize the distractions in our lives. Yet, battling them is extremely difficult.

Deep Work focuses on teaching the reader exactly how to train themselves to ignore these distractions. If you are looking for exercises and guidelines for better focus and deep work, this book may be the right choice for you.

The specific nature of this book, as well as its practical tips, make this time management book one of the most famous ones in this field.

5. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life by Jason Selk and Tom Bartow

The authors of this time management book come from a background in sports. More specifically, they both have experience in sports psychology. Hence, the book focuses on perseverance and willpower in the context of business. the approach is very successful, as both authors became business advisors.

Again, Organize Tomorrow Today gives practical tips. These include pep talks (for yourself and your team), planning your days, and surviving critical periods. In other words, it teaches you to include sports psychology and work ethics into your everyday work life.

6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

The 7 habits, published in 1989, is one of the oldest and most famous books for time management. It has brought useful principles like the Eisenhower Matrix, prioritizing the most important tasks, and others, to the wider public.

The book doesn’t exclusively focus on work. Instead, you can use practical tips and analogies in all aspects of your life. All seven habits are explored and explained in depth in simple language and through specific anecdotes. In other words, the book is very accessible to anyone.

7. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

The lack of time is one of the biggest hurdles to productivity. Yet, we all have the same amount of time in a week – the titular 168 hours. In that case, how do some people manage to finish all their tasks and others don’t?

Vanderkam shows how there is enough time for all important aspects of our lives – work, relationships, hobbies, and rest. The book is told through several specific examples. Hence, you’ll be reading about the creative approaches different people have toward time management and prioritizing.

This is a great book for you if you are looking to improve your work-life balance through structure.

8. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

This is one of the most popular books for time management of all time. The reason? It speaks to all people who want to escape their daily rut. Especially if the rut is full of menial and repetitive tasks. Ferriss suggests automating all tasks where using a time management app is possible, or even outsourcing a part of your work.

These easy and unconventional tips are also accompanied by 50 other strategies to make life easier and more fun. One of The 4-Hour Workweek’s main messages is to enjoy life more. In other words, it’s important to optimize your time so you don’t need to sacrifice your personal life on the count of business.

9. “The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right” by Atul Gawande

As the title suggests, The Checklist Manifesto will tell you everything you need to know about checklists. It teaches its readers to organize complex processes by breaking them apart into smaller parts and finishing them one by one. It also focuses on completing the to-do lists, as skipping tasks can be detrimental to the entire process.

Gawande describes checklists – what they are and what they’re not. Their importance in efficiency is also underlined. Namely, writing things down will help us focus on doing rather than remembering our obligations. This is a great read for people who want to use checklists but don’t know how to make them work

10. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Do you feel like your tasks keep piling up, no matter what you do? Getting Things Done could be the perfect time management book for you! The author explains how to tackle more tasks and reduce the stress of impending deadlines.

The basic idea of the book is that a human brain can only focus on a limited number of tasks (aka information) at a time. So, it teaches readers how to reduce the number of current tasks by handling them quickly and preventing them from piling up. The book is especially useful for readers who don’t have an organizational principle for work.

11. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Many books for time management tackle the problem of priorities. None of them do it as thoroughly as Essentialism, though. The book teaches its users how to identify the essential tasks in their workload and focus on them.

Some of the methods the book discusses include saying No to overwhelming, yet menial, work and reducing your work to a small number of activities. McKeown insists that fewer tasks show a greater degree of discipline than long task lists as long as you’re focusing on the right things.

12. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink

Are you interested in timing’s effects on success and motivation? When is one of the best books for time management that tackle this topic. Pink uses a combination of scientific studies in psychology, economics, sociology, and anecdotes from real-life workplaces.

The book shows the patterns that occur when it comes to different views of the time. It points out how important all aspects of work are – the beginning, the middle, and the end. Additionally, it includes the importance of breaks. Finally, you’ll be able to learn about organizing your team into a synchronized group. That is to say, the book is a great choice for team managers as well.

13. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

Make Time has become one of the most influential books for time management even though the first edition came out in 2018. The book compiles over 80 different ways to become more productive. This approach is great due to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for time management.

The point of the book is to experiment with both new and tried and true methods and find the ones that work for you. Many tips are related to being able to focus despite distractions. Yet, you can also find tips on keeping up with your social circle, staying healthy, and eating well. The book practices a holistic approach without limiting the methods to work exclusively. The MO reflects the need of the modern man to live an interesting and fulfilling life.

14. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

Eating the frog refers to a famous Mark Twain quote:

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

Translated into business terms, this piece of advice becomes “do the most harrowing tasks first”. Eat That Frog! Takes a deeper look into this popular technique. The book teaches its readers how to recognize the frog first (aka plan and prioritize). Then, they can apply the skills to their own workdays, plan ahead, and use all tools necessary for the job.

This may not be the most popular method for obvious reasons. However, it has been useful to many great thinkers and industry leaders.

15. Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day: Simple Strategies to Increase Productivity, Enhance Creativity, and Make Your Time Your Own by Holly Reisem Hanna

Being able to plan quickly and efficiently is a great first step toward increased productivity and efficiency. The length of Hanna’s book may fool you. Even though it’s mere 100 pages long, Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day contains a plethora of useful and simple advice that varies from task automation to organize your files more efficiently.

In other words, this is a great read for people who are looking for different planning and organizational tips and suggestions. There is no inherent philosophy to the book. Instead, you can work out which tips work for you. Remember – you should adjust and modify any method to fit your style of work instead of vice versa.

16. Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz

Micromanaging is one of the biggest obstacles both employers and employees face. For the employer, looking over employees’ shoulders can take up a lot of time and energy. On the other hand, having someone constantly controlling your work is extremely stressful and discouraging.

Clockwork teaches managers, business owners, and other higher-ups how to set up a workplace without the pressure of micromanagement. It talks about specific methods of teaching your staff how to face obstacles and solve issues on their own.

That is to say, the employees will have more agency. On the other hand, employers won’t have to worry and be available at all times.

17. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

We are finishing our list with one of the newest books for time management. If you are looking to understand time management, rather than read specific examples, Four Thousand Weeks can be a great book for you.

Burkeman takes a historical approach to time management. The book is full of different views on productivity and compares them to today’s norms. It encourages the reader to invest their time into things that bear more meaning, rather than menial tasks.

In contrast to 168 Hours, this work looks at the week from a different perspective – we all have a limited number of weeks on this Earth and should use this time to do something we care about.

Why do We Need Books for Time Management?

Humans have changed their behavior when it comes to working in a relatively short period. From a historical standpoint, the last two hundred years have brought us more technological advancements than all previous history together.

Work hasn’t been an exception, and many of us find ourselves overwhelmed. In other words, we cannot deal with the amount of pressure. This pressure is coming both from work itself, but we cannot forget about all other pressures of modern life either.

We are curious, social creatures. The vast majority of us have an inherent need to do something meaningful. However, the obligations and menial tasks we do at work often eat up the bigger picture. These are the moments that make us feel like we don’t have enough control over our lives.

Fortunately, there are many ways to gain this control back. Whether you are simply looking to increase your efficiency at work, get more free time, or enjoy it more – there are some steps you can take.

To Conclude

A good time management book can truly help us understand and fix our mistakes. However, as we are all different people, it is natural to have different goals and priorities. We tried to present a wide variety of books for time management. Hopefully, you’ll find one that can give you just the advice you need.

Finally, we recommend experimenting with the techniques to make them work for you.

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