i love to read. and i value purpose and productivity in life. so i suppose it’s no wonder that i always have one life-changing book or another to recommend. in this post, i’ve rounded up my current top 10 productivity books.
for me, productivity isn’t just about knocking out as many items as possible from your to-do list in a day. it’s about making sure that you’re spending time and energy on the right things and getting value and meaning out of life.
so, my top 10 list covers everything from finding purpose in life and achieving business goals to decluttering your home and painlessly planning an event.
read this is it by alan watts if…
you want to live in the moment more.
watts was a westerner writing about eastern spirituality and wisdom for other westerners. that means that he knows where you’re coming from as a rational–and Judeo-Christian-thinker. i think that’s helpful in describing the shifts in thinking that need to happen in order for someone to really start to grasp “mystical” concepts like zen, mindfulness, and enlightenment.
read steering by starlight by martha beck if…
you feel like you are not living your true destiny.
okay. i can’t say enough about this book. it LITERALLY changed my life. if you feel like you’re on auto-pilot and wasting away your days because you don’t find meaning in your work, READ THIS NOW. it single-handedly made me realize i hated my life as a lawyer. it reminded me–so obviously–that i longed to be a teacher since before i could read! life choices are much easier to make when you are, in beck’s words, “steering by starlight.”
beck is a little new agey, yes. but she knows it and knows that you know it. which helps you to keep reading and follow her exercises instead of thinking she’s too far out to be practical.
read the life-changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo if…
you’re sick of a messy house.
sure, this book can be seen as a guide to decluttering. but, as the title suggests, it’s not just about tidying up. it’s about changing your life in the process. if you are really fed up with clutter and a home that doesn’t “speak to you” or inspire you to be creative and productive, going through kondo’s steps can remedy that.
read getting things done by david allen if…
you are constantly overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have to do.
if you have so many to-dos that you don’t even know where to start sometimes, this book will rescue you.
allen breaks down the art of making to-do lists in a way that is so logical that you start to wonder why you ever did it any other way. and i will vouch for his claim that after months–much less years in my case–of implementing his “gtd method,” it becomes second nature. which means increased organization and productivity become second nature. and that, in turn, yields a mind freed up for increased creativity and joy.
who doesn’t want that?
read the 4-hour workweek by timothy ferriss if…
you think full-time jobs with two weeks of paid vacation a year are for suckers.
ferriss doesn’t claim that you can be lazy. or that if you read this book you’ll be swimming in millions and thus won’t have to work ever again. he gives you tips on how to harness your entrepreneurial spirit and make the best use of your time. you know, work smarter–not harder.
read the power of full engagement by jim loehr and tony schwartz if…
you always feel tired.
the authors of this book come from the sports world, where optimal performance is nonnegotiable. the secret to their method is routines.
routines refocus and reenergize you so that you can perform at your highest level. learn what routines you need and how best to implement them into your life so you operate at your best.
read better than before by gretchen rubin if…
you have trouble making good habits or breaking bad ones.
this book is thorough and includes lots of practical advice for forming habits based on your personality type.
for instance, the best hope i have for sticking to a habit is if i “piggy back” it onto something else i have to do. my sister succeeds with habits when she periodically rewards her progress. my brother-in-law, as yet another example, sticks to a habit when he has an accountability partner.
read this book and then tell me which personality type you are.
read loving what is by byron katie if…
you are sick of anxiety, fear, or anger.
this book is tough. not because it’s difficult to understand or a bore to read. but because you truly must be sick of your negative feelings and ready to take responsibility for them and work past them.
that said, if you’re fresh out of a divorce with a spouse you endearingly call the devil incarnate, you might need to simmer before you take this one on. but do take it on at some point.
read the 7 habits of highly successful people by stephen r. covey if…
you want to set meaningful goals and actually achieve them.
what does it mean to succeed anyway? get as much done as possible each day? earn as much money as possible? according to covey, part of it requires you to clarify what your values are in the first place. only then can you move in the direction of success.
part of that journey is to create a personal mission statement.
read you are a badass by jen sincero if…
you’ve ever said the words “i wish…” followed by “yeah right, i could never do that!”
sincero guides you past those limits. for instance, if you wish you “could be a writer,” then be a writer! if you want the new audi convertible more than anything else, save up and buy the damn thing already.
there’s more to it, of course. but i won’t give everything away.
so which of these books have you read? and what would you put on your list? let me know in the comments below!