Figuring out how to manage your time can be tricky, but many experts claim that time management is the most critical success variable. Managing your time allows you to strengthen your self-discipline and hold yourself accountable. To master time management, you may have to ask yourself a few questions: what are your priorities? What does your typical day look like, and what would you like to change in that routine?
For students, employees, and especially those who are their boss, time management is imperative to personal growth and success. Whether you're looking to become a better leader, involved in project management or property management, or just want to do a little self-improvement, knowing how to manage your time is essential. According to Dovico, the average person uses 13 different methods to control and manage their time. Yet, the most effective way to manage your time is by sticking to 1 consistent practice.
Best Time Management Books
Fortunately, there are many helpful books out there to help you hone in on your time management skills. Here are the best 9 time management books that provide you with actionable tools. With these books at your service, you’ll be able to apply useful tools to your own life, identify your top priorities, and be purposeful and productive. After all, reading a book about time management is always a great use of your time.
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey gives the reader actionable advice that anybody can apply to their own life. He goes deep into the power of accountability and being proactive by assuming responsibility for your life.
This book will teach you how to understand others before seeking to be understood. Productive people provide value first and become known as their go-to person in their industry. With this win-win mindset, you’ll foster positive relationships with others in and out of the workplace.
Covey also explains one of his most famous habits: sharpening the saw. Sharpening the saw is a strategy to avoid burnout, or working yourself to death. If you strive for a sustainable lifestyle that allows you time to recharge, you’ll be more effective in the long-run. With this sustainable lifestyle, you’ll be able to put your priorities first and get rid of mundane tasks that don’t contribute to your vision of success.
2. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
This book will teach you how to overcome procrastination, define your vision of success, and find purpose at work. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Eating the frog means completing your most significant, most important task first thing in the morning, making the rest of your day a piece of cake. After all, this task is the one you’re most likely to procrastinate later on. By eating the frog and tackling your most challenging task head first, you’ll avoid hesitation and procrastination.
Eat the Frog teaches you how to take action without a doubt. Brian Tracy dives deep into the science of procrastination and claims that at the root of procrastination is confusion about why you are trying to complete the task in the first place. According to Tracy, the #1 way to beat procrastination and take control of your time is clarity.
He teaches you how to gain clarity and know the purpose and potential impact of your work. One way to do this is to avoid vague tasks and be specific about what you want to achieve. Write down your specific goals, or else they’re nothing but a fantasy. Next, select the goal that will have the most significant impact on your life, and set a deadline for when you will accomplish it. Make a plan and take action every single day.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you achieve your goals? One step at a time. This is the importance of making a plan. The hardest part of any task is just to get started! Once you begin, you will naturally gain motivation along the way.
3. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is an educational activist and entrepreneur, so it only fits that he created one of the most popular books for entrepreneurs and self-starters.
The 4-Hour Workweek is perfect for anyone tired of their daily routine or wanting to escape a corporate job and seek more freedom. Ferriss will help you understand the real value of time and teach you how to make meaningful goals that inspire motivation and action. This book teaches the reader how to get the best results with the least amount of effort. In other words, the importance of working smart, not just hard.
This is a step-by-step guide on how to start your own business, take responsibility over your time, and live like a millionaire, even if you aren’t one. It gives you actionable tips on how to manage your time effectively and contains links to websites and outside resources on time management.
4. Getting Things Done by David Allen
David Allen is a productivity consultant and practically an expert on time management. In this book, he goes deep into his most popular time management method, the GTD method, and the ways that you can apply it to your own life to get more done. The GTD method will allow you to reduce stress about planned tasks by recording them externally and then breaking large tasks into actionable items. With this method, you can execute more often and stress less about your to-do list.
This book will allow you to accomplish things faster by identifying clear steps to get there. You’ll have less doubt about managing your time, and you’ll feel more confident about your work.
5. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Deep Work is a comprehensive guide to productivity that explains the power of removing distractions. It also analyzes the science of productivity, and how you can trick your brain into being motivated.
Newport claims that the best way to get more meaningful work done is to work deeply. According to the expert himself, deep work means working on one task in a state of high concentration without distractions.
This book will remind you of the value of time and the danger of distractions. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker spends 2 hours recovering from distractions. Deep Work will teach you how to develop the habit of working with 0 distractions.
6. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Make Time is a simple 4-step system that improves focus, written by 2 New York Times bestselling authors. Knapp and Zeratsky explain that if you work on something you don’t love, burnout becomes inevitable. They’ll teach you how to find joy in your work by consistently finding purpose, despite the lack of visible results.
This book teaches you how to get more out of each day; this is what time management is all about. We all have 24 hours, but how we manage our time differs from the competition. To better manage your time, this book teaches you how to build smart habits that stick, such as starting each day by setting an intention and setting up your workspace.
The skill of time management cannot be held up by willpower, or the hope that you’ll gain motivation in the future. You must create your space to work, eliminate distractions, and construct your schedule to get things done. This will allow you to be more focused and energized at work. To optimize your time management strategies, you must continuously rethink your schedule defaults and fix them accordingly.
Time management isn’t about working every second of the day, but by creating the time to work on what you love.
7. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
This is the go-to book about habits. The Power of Habit will help any reader manage their time more effectively, whether you want to get more done in business or life. Charles Duhigg is a New York Times reporter and expert on the science behind habit creation and reformation. This book will help you conceptualize the power of habits, and why they are at the core of time management success.
He’ll also teach you how to change your habits. According to him, up to 40% of your daily actions are based on patterns alone. If you change your habits, you change your life.
Duhigg explains how habits are challenging to get rid of since you get a reward once you complete a habit. This is how they become routine. Further, he teaches you not how to resist a craving, but how to redirect your behavior and still get the reward at the end. This is the importance of time management: changing your routine and getting more rewards. You can do this by substituting your actions with something more meaningful than before.
Habits are about consistency, and consistency is the key to success. Will power is a muscle, and you can strengthen it by engaging in practices that demand resolution. A significant achievement is made up of small wins from your willpower, the muscle that you can reinforce with powerful habits.
8. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Are you feeling busy but not productive? This is the book for you. Essentialism teaches you how to eliminate the non-essentials and obstacles to structure a clear path of action. An overload of useless information can lead to too much time spent on meaningless tasks, and if you don’t prioritize your time, somebody else will.
Warren Buffett’s 5/25 strategy says to write down 25 goals you plan to accomplish, and then only work on the top 5 goals most important to you. There’s a reason he didn’t advise anyone to work on all 25.
Taking a minimalist approach to each task will allow you to cut out anything that wastes time, maximizing progress in the end, and mastering your skill of time management.
9. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
The Checklist Manifesto guides you on how to thrive in an increasingly complex world. The solution is simple: create a checklist. Since anyone can create a list, this book is one big actionable tool that any reader can implement to manage their time better.
Checklists prevent failure by addressing all of the problems and paying attention to detail. Gawande explains the unreliability of memory. Even if you remember that you have to do a task, failing to record them externally allows you to skip them with ease. To lower the mistakes of your unreliability, a checklist will make you more likely to follow through. It protects against failures by reminding you of the essential steps in each task.
Not only does this book explain the importance of a checklist in regards to managing your time, but it tells you exactly how to create the most practical list for yourself.
Final Thoughts: Best Time Management Books
With these best time management books, you’ll be able to eliminate distractions, find purpose in your work, and get more meaningful tasks done in less time. So use this guide, and find out how to manage your time in the best way.