Productivity Books:
Fun, Challenging and Motivating

7 min readJun 27, 2017

Being not satisfied with what you get is a great start for progress. But when we get stuck and hardly can get things done, sometimes we need theoretical and practical advice on how to get more in less time. Productivity books are a source of knowledge about how our brain works, how our habits are built, and how to make them work for us. So here’s a list of books that cover all aspects of productivity and efficiency, combining scientific facts and practical steps to the success.

Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done

by David Allen

What’s the first excuse for not taking an important step? “I don’t feel ready for that”, most of us say or think. Sometimes we keep not being ready for years, unable to get things moving and stuck in what we’d like to change. In his book, David Allen tells us how to get ready for anything. The author shows the ways to discover creativity, increase the ability to work without stress and overload, and finally take efficient actions.

How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do

by Graham Allcott

Beating procrastination requires extraordinary habits? Then Graham Alcott’s book will show you the path of the productivity ninja: the author describes techniques that will help you stay concentrated, reclaim your Zen, and master the jitsu of getting things done. ‘How to be a Productivity Ninja’ is a fun and helpful guide to developing mindful approach to your work and being productive.

Time Warrior: How to defeat procrastination, people-pleasing, self-doubt, over-commitment, broken promises and chaos

by Steve Chandler

Many of us feel tired of too much struggling when carving out time to accomplish what has been planned. A victorious time warrior definitely wouldn’t experience this problem: his non-linear approach for managing time reduces chaos around him and makes him great at work. Steve Chandler offers a revolutionary way to deal with time. With all major enemies listed right on the cover — procrastination, people-pleasing, self-doubt, over-commitment, broken promises and chaos — this book will help you defeat everything that gets in the way to your success.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

by Laura Vanderkam

There are 168 hours in a week. Is it enough for everything we want to do? Job, family, gym, hobbies, friends — is it really possible to find time for all that and still sleep 8 hours a night? Laura Vanderkam claims that it is. She interviewed dozens of successful and happy people to figure out how they allocate their time and shared this knowledge with the readers. Re-prioritizing things is not always easy, but the effect of making room for what really matters is inspiring. The book is a practical guide to get more out of your time.

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

by Brian Tracy

Do you know that feeling when a really challenging task is looming but you do every task but that one — just to put off the hardest work? There’s an old saying: if the first thing you do after waking up is eat a live frog, you can be sure you’ve done with the worst thing of the day. Well, just eat that frog! Brian Tracy tells us how to organize each day so that critical tasks get accomplished efficiently. Focus on the important instead of trying to do everything and not be afraid of challenges is what successful people do — so developing these habits is the shortest way to the success.

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day

by Michael J. Gelb

Creativity is often what we lack when learning something new or solving problems. Michael Gelb shows in his book how to think like Leonardo Da Vinci — if we start thinking creative, we all can discover our hidden abilities and expand our minds. Genius is made, not born, and the author suggests that the reader develops the new creative way of thinking. As an inspiration, Da Vinci’s inventions and masterpieces are shown, and his principles are introduced as a guide to the non-trivial way of thinking.

The Idiot Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head is Really Up To

by Dean Burnett

Okay, we decide to be focused on the work, to stop giving in to the temptations of the unlimited Internet — and end up missing things, forgetting important to-dos and, basically, unconsciously sabotaging our work. Why? Welcome to the idiot brain, — says Dean Burnett, neuroscientist. He explains how our gray matter works and what our brain is actually up to. It’s about many aspects of our life, not only work. When you understand how it all works, you can handle it… or just rely on your brain, again.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

Procrastination is a bad habit, and bad habits often are stronger than us. Overcoming it might require a deeper understanding of its roots. Charles Duhigg shows us scientific facts behind the power of habit: what we do in our life and why we choose to do that. With this knowledge, we can develop new habits and make them work for us.

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.

Speaking of the scientific approach to productivity problems, we shouldn’t forget about the science behind the willpower. Self-control mechanisms are based on the willpower instinct, and Kelly McGonigal explains how it works. Knowledge from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine provides some surprising insights. For example, willpower is a mind-body response, hence a biological function. Or, willpower failures are contagious — and willpower peaks too. The good news is that we can improve our self-control by training the brain.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

by Gary Keller

We all know that multitasking at work ruins the workday and dramatically decreases productivity, but we seldom think that it works for the entire life too. Psychologists suggest that you choose the ONE thing to focus on instead of dissipating your energy — and Gary Keller shows how. By focusing on the one thing you’ll get less — less stress, clutter and chaos — and more: more satisfaction, time for yourself, and more results in less time.

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

by Neil Fiore

“I’ll do it later”, — we think of challenging tasks. Tomorrow, next week, or never. The problem is we don’t have the now habit for useful things. What we choose for now is relaxing, and feel guilty afterwards about it. Neil Fiore offers techniques that help start tasks sooner and enjoy guilt-free play. Not only procrastination gets in the way: perfectionism is one of the strongest productivity blockers too, and the author suggests ways to beat both of them.

Work Smarter: 500+ Online Resources Today’s Top Entrepreneurs Use To Increase Productivity and Achieve Their Goals

by Nick Loper

Work harder to be successful, they say. But why not just work smarter? Nick Loper discovers the secrets of those super-productive and super-successful people we read and hear about. And they do have secret weapons: there are many tools and resources that can help us make the most out of the time. Some of the suggested resources might seem to be obvious, but the simplest tool is the most efficient one. They work for many people — and they’ll work for you.

Superhuman By Habit: A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time

by Tynan

Our habits have great power over what we do and what we get. So a thoughtful approach to building good habits and beating bad ones can transform any of us into a superhuman by habit — a person who doesn’t need to rely on willpower for accomplishing harder tasks. Tynan tells how to do that: build necessary habits to make tasks automatic and independent from the willpower. A combination of theoretical research and practical advice makes this book a great guide for implementing useful habits in work and life.




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