Let’s face it, the workplace is stressful. No matter what time management tool or “hack” you try, time management always seems like a game whack-a-mole. The moment you try to get more work done, you get something that knocks you off track.
Most of us deal with this reality with procrastination, pushing off the assignment until the last minute and then a make a last-minute scramble to the deadline. Some of us even pride ourselves on the adrenaline rush we get from waiting to the last minute.
At the same time, we (meaning Americans) are at the office longer. We At the same time, we (meaning Americans) are at the office longer. We work more hours and take fewer vacations than other countries. et, all of this work isn’t making us more productive.
What does America get as a result of all this? A less productive workplace.
That’s why this list of books was created. It won’t single-handedly save the American workforce, but it might expose you to some concepts or practices to conquer more of your workday in less time.
In short, if you’re looking for the keys to a more productive workday, this list may have you covered.
Yoga for Leaders: How to Manage Self-Disruption in a World of Self-Destruction
by Stefan Hyttfors
Despite the title, this book isn’t about stretching your muscles on a yoga mat. It’s about stretching your mental muscles using the philosophy of yoga. With all of the disruptive changes we all face on a daily basis, it can be hard just to keep our overflowing inbox cleared by the end of the day. As our world continues to evolve, technology will disrupt our society in ways that we can’t even imagine.
The key, according to futurist and author Stefan Hyttfors, is to focus our attention on the things we can control (ourselves) instead of the things we can’t (future). Embracing that skill with an agile mind and workforce is the key to adapt to thriving in a constantly changing world.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted Work
by Cal Newport
What is preventing you from doing your best work? Is it emails, telephone calls, meetings, or your boss dropping by to get you yet another assignment. If you ask Cal Newport, the answer is you. Specifically, what you are choosing to work. Most of us, Newport, engage in “busywork”, work that looks productive but doesn’t leave us fulfilled.
Cal Newport urges to spend less time in “busy work” and more time in “deep work”. As the book “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” explains, “deep work” is work that builds important skills, is challenging, and meaningful. The more time we spend in “deep work”, the less time we have to spend on daily distractions that actually drain the productivity of out our workday.
Manage. Lead. Transform: A Project Manager’s Guide to Reducing Project Timelines by 50% or more
by Shakeel Akhtar PMP and Ayesha Hakim MBA PMP
Although “Manage, Lead, Transform: A Project Manager’s Guide to Reducing Project Timelines by 50 or More,” might not be on your radar, this little eBook should be. Although intended for project managers, the book provides actionable strategies (many of which can be implemented in less than 5 minutes to the question: “Why can’t we complete projects time?”
As “Manage, Lead, Transform” shares, the reason most projects fail isn’t willpower or the right time management system. It’s the tiny habits, from the way we set goals to the way we organize our workflow, that keep us (individually and in groups) from meeting our deadlines. Using this book, readers learn how to tweak those tiny bad habits so they can achieve big results.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
by Tim Ferriss
“Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers“ gives readers a glimpse at the ”behind-the-scenes“ success behind some of the world’s most talented performers, intellectuals, creative people, and business people in the world. After interviewing hundreds of high-performing guests Ferriss realized that the key to these guest’s success lied in something very simple, their habits. The daily habits of a world-class professional, not some magical quality, separated these performers, business people, and creative individuals from the rest of us.
If you ever wondered about the daily habits of the world’s top performers, this book will provide a glimpse into those habits. The book will also shed some insight into the mindset behind those habits. If you’ve ever wondered what simple habits you can do to become healthier, wealthier, or wiser in your daily life (even just a little bit), this book offers guidance on how mere mortals can start down that path.
by Jason Fied and David Hansson
For so long, the path to business success was laid out perfectly for us. It meant going to the best school, creating the best business plan, and checking off our to-do lists as we move up the ladder of success.
“Rework” challenges that perception, arguing that following the well-trodden path to success can leave us overworked and unfulfilled. Written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the book completely overturns the definition of what a successful business operates. In doing so, the book serves as an anti-manifesto against an overworked culture obsessed with start-ups, growth, and meetings. In place of this overworked and growth-obsessed culture, Fried and Hansson argue that business leaders should create a business that is efficient, inexpensive, and productive instead of a copycat business like everyone else.
The Key to Get More Work Done? Stop Looking, Start Doing
Despite their different approaches, the common theme among all of the books on this list is simple and consistent action, not complicated systems or a fancy-sounding technique from an overpriced “time management” guru. While you can’t control what happens in your workday, you can control what you do in response. You can choose to limit your time clearing out your inbox. You can choose to break down your projects into achievable milestones. You choose which morning routines that you follow at work each day. You decide what “success” in business looks like.
It all revolves around you, so stop chasing productivity and do the work. If you need help, these books will give you some tips to get started. Just remember that the key to getting more work done doesn’t begin with anything on the outside. It begins with you.