by Josh Millar
There are so many ways to look at how we manage our time and how we can manage it better. Whether you’re driven by the desire to accomplish more at work, spend more time with your family, or grow your social life — or all three, and then some — so many of us are on a quest to maximize our time. I want to share these four books because I think each one shares a unique perspective on time management and productivity that can really change the way we work and live.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think — Laura Vanderkam
Some people seem to do it all — they’re building a career, going to networking events, spending time with their family, hosting social gatherings for their friends, and learning French. Then there are those who feel constantly strapped for time, with never enough hours in the day. And perhaps most of us fall somewhere in between. No matter where you are on that spectrum though, we all have the same number of hours in a week. I like this book because it goes beyond strategies to manage the chaos and delves into how to get rid of it — at least a good portion of it.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity — David Allen
If you haven’t yet read this classic, it’s definitely worth a read. Allen makes the connection between productivity and stress, noting that with high stress levels, we can’t work at optimum productivity. He doesn’t just throw quick tips at you because he knows that if you’re already stressed, they’re not going to be effective. Instead, he gets to the root of the productivity dilemma — stress — and from there, builds a framework for accomplishing more with a calm, clear mind.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less — Greg McKeown
This book is a great reminder to be selective, to prioritize, and to remain disciplined. McKeown explains that to start feeling more productive and less overwhelmed, we need to isolate the things that are most important and direct our focus there. He offers a new perspective that helps to free up time and accomplish the things we value most. His ideas are widely applicable, and I often find myself coming back to them when I feel my focus is being pulled in too many directions.
There’s no denying the prevalence of distraction in most of our lives. The multiple devices, constant notifications, and this overarching ability to be always plugged in can make it challenging to harness your focus and maintain it throughout the day. Newport doesn’t just focus on distractions and how to manage them though. Instead, he shares his perspective on a deep work ethic and offers real actionable tips for readers to cultivate that.
If you’re already feeling strapped for time, perhaps picking up a book is the last thing you were thinking of tacking on to your to-do list. But these reads are worth it. They’re interesting, enjoyable books, and when you’re done, chances are your productivity levels will feel a bit different. If you can make even a fifteen-minute window in your day, grab one of these books for some serious time-management inspiration.