Did the days get shorter? They're still 24 hours long, right? Is it just me or is time flying faster than before? It's not you, it's the exhausting fast-paced modern life. We're all infected with busyness and flooded with information from every possible direction, so it's normal to feel overwhelmed. Our brains just aren't used to processing so much. This is especially true if you're an entrepreneur in the first stages of a business. As a Jack of all trades, you're all over the place, trying to accomplish everything in the shortest time possible. And all those success stories of how others made it? Yeah, not really helping. On the contrary, it's frustrating to read them - especially when you're struggling to keep your head above water. If you're looking for ways to manage your time more efficiently and regain control over your professional life, here arethe best productvity books to start with. Don't expect them to be a magic wand that will do the work for you, but they will help you set some healthy systems in place. By the way, if you read any other books that helped you with this matter and aren't on this list but feel like they should be, please let us know. We'd also like to hear details about how you applied those lessons! So, if you're willing to share, you know where to find us.
This is probably the most known and recommended business productivity book from the past couple of decades. I'm usually skeptical and try to stay away from books that have so much hype built around them, but I did read this one and understood why it's so popular. There's a simple reason for that: it works. The methodology presented in Getting Things Done is easy to follow and efficient. As long as you follow the steps, of course. It was published in 2001 and updated in 2015 by David Allen, one of the most known experts on organizational and personal productivity. Based on thirty years of experience and research as a coach to corporate managers and CEOs, it wasn't written especially with entrepreneurs in mind, but it will help you set up a solid base. It's also filled with detailed, practical guidance, so it's not just hard-to-apply, generalist type of advice. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, considers it essential reading and recommended this book to his employees. He also has something in common with the author: in 2011, David Allen implemented holacracy in his organization, the same self-management system adopted by Zappos.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It - Michael E. Gerber
Michael Gerber's E-Myth will help you distinguish between being a self employed and a business owner. The main difference between the two is this: when you're self employed and working in your business, your income depends on you doing the job. When you're the business owner and working on your business, you're setting systems in place that will help you run the business in a predictable and productive way. First written in 1986, the author will walk you through all stages of running a business, from entrepreneurial infancy to maturity, and show you how to apply lessons of franchising (even if you don't have a franchise). It's more inspirational than practical, so don't expect lots of concrete advice for your problems, but the principles listed in it are timeless. This was one of the books that helped Tim Ferriss ask himself some questions that dramatically changed his life.
I'm sure you've all heard of Pareto's principle, also known as the 80/20 law. The basic idea is that 80% (or more) of your desired outcomes are the results of 20% (or less) of your efforts. It's based on observations made more than a hundred years ago, when Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, noticed that 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. Richard Koch went on to demonstrate that Pareto's principle is also common in business management and life. His book shows you how to use that principle in your favor, to improve your effectiveness and profitability. More quality, not quantity! This one's another book recommendation from Tim Ferriss - it helped him manage his business differently and inspired the methodology he later described in The 4-Hour Workweek.
- Tim Cook recommends it to every new hire.
- John Sculley, former CEO of Apple and Pepsi, said that it's a provocative and well-researched book with some insightful ideas for competing in the 1990s.
- Frederick W. Smith, FedX Founder and CEO, lists it as one of the few profound business books.
- Donald Petersen, CEO of Ford, mentions this book as essential reading for businessmen who want to set, rather than follow, the pace in their industries.