As an entrepreneur, your day-to-day life is likely flooded by work, meetings, and other commitments. Effectively managing your time is crucial for your professional, personal, and emotional well-being.
But effective time management is often easier said than done.
The good news is that time management is an art you can master by learning the right techniques and refining them through experience and practice. If you’re looking to get started or improve your skill, books about time management are a great resource.
Best Time Management Books
Over the years, experts from various industries have written books on time management, drawing from the wisdom they’ve learned through experience.
Here are 10 of the best time management books.
1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ve probably had trouble getting things done amid constant distractions like email and social media notifications. That’s where “deep work” comes in. The term means fully immersing yourself in a complex task without distractions.
Cal Newport’s book Deep Work is a bestseller that emphasizes how essential it is to avoid distractions. The book provides four strategies to immerse yourself in deep work:
- Shut yourself down until the work is done
- Block four to six hours a day for deep work
- Do it in small chunks of time
- Dedicate a random time slot for it
The book also promotes productive meditation and a shutdown routine at the end of the day.
Trinity Owen, CFO and founder of the financial career advice website The Pay at Home Parent, says, “Deep Work has been an absolute game-changer in transforming the way I approach my workday and prioritize my tasks.”
What we like: The book tackles issues most of us are prone to: distractions and the inability to do deep work.
2. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
What’s the toughest part of getting your work done? The book says, “The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place. Once you actually begin work on a valuable task, you seem to be naturally motivated to continue.”
This productivity book gives you 21 ways to complete complex tasks on time, such as:
- Defining goals and making plans for what you’ll do
- Focusing on the most important 20% of tasks
- Using technology wisely to your advantage
- Making use of high energy levels and finding your flow
What we like: The end of the book sums up all 21 tips in two pages for quick reference.
3. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
How many days have you spent catering to other people’s needs and demands, only to end up having no time for your own tasks? Make Time urges readers to focus on the most important task and say no to work that doesn’t matter.
It offers four strategies for prioritizing your own work:
- Decide on one highlight task for the day — it should be important, meaningful, and joyful
- Have a laser focus — don’t take up too many new tasks, and don’t get distracted
- Stay energized by following healthy habits
- Reflect on what you’ve done
The book tells readers to move on to new tasks rather than polishing or perfecting the one they’ve been working on. It states, “Perfection is a distraction — another shiny object taking your attention away from your real priorities.”
What we like: Written by two former Google employees, this book is especially helpful for those working in tech.
4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
This classic time management book emphasizes you can only achieve peak productivity if you’re stress-free. The author believes work-related stress “comes from not finishing what [you’ve] started.”
The book gives a practical workflow to finish any task. It includes collecting, processing, performing, and reviewing them.
Alex Shekhtman, CEO of mortgage lender LBC Mortgage, highly recommends Getting Things Done if you’re looking to improve your time management skills.
What we like: The book provides a well-defined framework for tackling your tasks.
5. Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination, People-Pleasing, Self-Doubt, Over-Commitment, Broken Promises, and Chaos by Steve Chandler
Time Warrior is a must-read that offers a different perspective on time management by encouraging readers to take a nonlinear approach to work. The book puts forth an interesting argument:
“Keep your life creative and simple: what needs to be done now in these three minutes? That’s all you ever need to ask, and you’ll never have anything like procrastination bother you again.”
The author believes procrastination leads to fear. So, choosing to do tasks now rather than in the future will reduce anxiety and increase productivity.
What we like: It’s short and simple with a unique approach to time management. It can help you overcome self-doubt, overcommitting, and chaos.
6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Everyone has the same amount of time. But how do some people manage to achieve more with it? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People demystifies that question. The book is about the power of habits to make you successful.
The seven habits are:
- Being proactive
- Keeping the end in mind
- Putting first things first
- Sharpening your skills
- Nurturing creative cooperation
- Creating a win-win situation for everyone
- Seeking to understand others
The book’s essence is: “To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.”
What we like: It’s more than a time management guide. It doesn’t just give you productivity hacks but also helps with personal development.
7. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
The One Thing is for people who want both more and less: more time to focus on crucial work and fewer distractions along the way. The book debunks popular beliefs about multitasking, work-life balance, and willpower.
It discusses the importance of simplifying tasks, prioritizing, making habits, and discovering your strengths. The book has an interesting take on success: “Success is actually a short race — a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.”
What we like: The book is simple and has practical advice to focus on the one thing that matters most to you.
8. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker
The Effective Executive is specifically for executives who want to be efficient by avoiding unproductive tasks and doing what others overlook.
It suggests five practices for executives to boost effectiveness. This includes mastering your time and making unique contributions. It also urges executives to concentrate only on a few crucial areas and make effective decisions.
The book inspires executives to pay attention to everything they do. It states, “If there is any one ‘secret’ of effectiveness, it is concentration. Effective executives do first things first, and they do one thing at a time.”
What we like: The book focuses on the productivity issues executives face and includes interesting case studies.
9. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
Atomic Habits doesn’t just focus on time management but on how to create good habits that will, in turn, result in having more time. The book emphasizes the importance of habits in success. It notes, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”
Atomic Habits will help you find the willpower to make new habits and break bad ones.
What we like: The book is practical and gives specific instructions on creating small habits, stacking them together, and turning them into a routine.
10. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
168 Hours works on the fundamental premise that we have more time than we think if we spend it wisely. The author has interviewed dozens of happy, successful people to understand their time management techniques.
According to the book, “People who get the most out of life spend as much of their time as possible on these core competency activities, and as little as possible on other things.”
This book urges you to account for your time and outsource when possible.
What we like: It helps readers break the mentality that “they don’t have enough time” and works on the premise that we have enough time to do what matters.
The list of time management books is nearly endless. However, they differ in the techniques and perspectives they offer. Pick a book that suits your work and caters to your time management needs.