Wish there where more hours in the day?
Looking for ways to be more productive?
Here are some of the small biz community's top books on productivity and time management! Enjoy!
The best productivity books
While reading a good book takes time, it can be a good investment in making yourself or your team more productive day to day. Whether that's by minimising distractions, learning from others, managing time, or something else, there are various ways to increase productivity – here are a few of the favourite books that teach you how.
For productivity through action and team dynamics:
Smarter, Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in life and business by Charles Duhiggg
"What stuck out was biased towards action and how teams dynamics worked. My philosophy is never to be busy, but always be genuinely productive. So for me, that resonated big time. And to have fun!! Fun is key!
My key takeaway point would be to figure out the science of what makes humans tick the cultures we establish as leaders to drive innovation; the way we interact with data: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive." – Dharmin Polra
For managing distractions to get more done:
Deep Work, by Cal Newport
"It takes about 4 hours of undistracted time to be able to concentrate on details and get meaningful, high-quality work done. Therefore you need to find ways to block the endless drop of tech distraction and somehow find some quiet, undistracted time to actually do proper work.
The book relates to a point that everyone knows instinctively to be true (i.e. that most of the time we are just responding to distractions rather than getting meaty work done) – but does it with compelling data and is therefore very persuasive.
The key takeaway points from the book would be to batch your most important (or at least technical/ concentration requiring) work into periods of bulletproof quiet, distraction-free slots. Batch respond to emails. Reduce responses to non-critical emails (replies beget replies)
I'm about to re-read Nine Lies About Work (Ashley Goodall and Marcus Buckingham). It looks at some of the oldest corporate cliches and accepted truths (about teams, feedback, decision making) and explodes them with v strong method and data. I'd also recommend Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall." – Will Jukes
For being selective with your time and efforts:
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch
"The book is based on the 80/20 rule, created by the Italian Economist Pareto in 1896. The rule states that '80 percent of results or outputs flow from 20 percent of causes, and sometimes from a much smaller proportion of powerful forces'.
Richard Koch applies the 80/20 principle in many areas of life, from business to personal happiness. The book gives you advice about the ways you can achieve more by doing less, by working on and implementing that 20% in life.
I found it useful how the book makes you realise what the important things in your life, and in your business, are.
The book is a good read for learning how to be more selective. We all live a life where we are constantly overwhelmed with information and things to do, so we don’t pay attention to the few key things (that 20% that Richard talks about) that make us succeed or happy.
The first key point to take is that, in life and in business, there is no real balance.
Many people already know the notion that in many businesses only 20 percent of customers are responsible for 80 percent of profits. Based on this principle, Richard says that the most important aspect that any company has to do is to optimise the product range and focus on 2 or 3 top products and perfect them.
Another key point of the book that I liked is the idea that 'simple is beautiful', and complex products are the worst and lead to waste. 'The way to create something great is to create something simple.'
The next business books I would like to read, are 'The 5-second rule. Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage' by Mel Robbins, and 'The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time' by Rober Maurer.
And I haven’t read this book yet, but I know that got many good reviews. It’s “Start Now. Get Perfect Later.” By Rob Moore" – Filomena Raia
The best time management books
A huge factor in being more productive is to look at the way time is being managed – and ask yourself are you spending the majority of your time on things that'll help you achieve your objectives? Or is the day flying by without much structure, causing key tasks to be incomplete and rushed?
It's all about time management – and, like productivity in general, there are lots of books on the subject to get tips, advice and inspiration from. Here are a few of your faves...
For being more proactive: 7 Habits of effective people by Stephen R. Covey
"It's an old-school classic, but still super duper relevant.
To summarise the book... Focus on important & important things, don't get sucked in on non-urgent things! You are the leader. Be proactive. Begin with the end in mind. BOOM!
It’s not a self-help BS book, it goes to the heart of what makes us human. It focuses on genuine fairness. Genuine love and appreciation of others. And the authenticity of human dignity and honesty.
It’s a life-changing book so the takeaway points are hard to summarize! But stuff like specific points on leadership and managing yourself and others are key." – Dharmin Polra
For improving your time-management mindset:
Off The Clock by Laura Vanderkam
"I loved Laura Vanderkam’s Off The Clock. It’s her latest on time management. Her “What the most successful people do before breakfast” was literally a life changer for me.
It’s really about shifting your mindset around our perception of time. Laura takes a number of principles - including tracking your time, resisting the urge to fill time and investing in your happiness – to take you through the process of feeling less busy.
Off the clock will help you readdress your relationship with time – the truth is, even though we feel time-free and overwhelmed, we probably aren’t using it wisely.
The key takeaway points for me were:
1. Laura encourages you to track your time – which makes for interesting results
2. Creating daily intentions – set 3 each day that will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something
3. The reminder that people are a good use of time and to invest in the relationships that matter – she circles in on how a thriving network can be built by reaching out to one person daily.
As for others, I also really enjoyed Erin Falconer How to get S**t done and I’ve just ordered James Clear’s Atomic Habits as I’ve had so many recommendations for it." – Antonia Taylor
Wow, so much to read! Sending a massive thank you to everyone who took part in this blog! It's been wonderful getting to see the business books you've been loving – and we really hope you find them just as useful!
Hope you've found some to add to your reading list today... we know we have!
Be sure to check us out on Twitter and let us know what your favourite productivity and time management books are – we're always looking for suggestions :)