The 8 Best Productivity Books of 2019
Become more efficient, both at work and at home
We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.
Are you looking to become more efficient in your personal and professional life? Doing so requires organizing your to-do list, prioritizing what’s important and figuring out an organizational system that works for you. But it can be a challenge figuring everything out on your own, so we rounded up the best books that discuss productivity and how to achieve it. Professionally, productivity growth is important because the more goods and services you can create, the more money you can earn. Below, we explore different methods from experts who have had great success and can help you get results even faster. This could be the start of a new beginning. A more efficient and productive work life awaits, so keep reading to find the best productivity books to buy today.
This book doesn’t try to be anything beyond a simple and effective roadmap for planning and reorganizing your life. It doesn’t claim to have any secrets or that it will make you a millionaire, but it does outline the seven habits that all productive individuals have. The book contains pearls of wisdom, advising the reader to “seek first to understand then be understood,” and helps you “Put First Things First,” or organize your life in a way that aligns with your values. The book is a quick read and is organized in a straightforward and easy-to-implement guide. The newest version also includes beautiful and powerful infographics, which give the book and its wisdom additional sticking power.
This book is the book to read when it comes to personal productivity. Devotees of David Allen’s method, which will revolutionize the way you approach your to-do lists, refer to their way of life simply as “GTD.” While this book was first published at the start of the decade, it’s been almost completely overhauled with fresh and relevant material for the modern workplace. Along with teaching you an easy to implement organizational system, Allen walks you through the theories behind his methods. Some people might find the method a bit too restrictive, but it provides a solid foundation for type-A and type-B people alike to build off of.
If we’re being honest, the idea of working only four hours per week sounds miserable to us, it's like being retired for a lifetime. You should definitely read this book with a grain of salt: the solid advice Tim Ferriss dishes out also comes with a lot of unrealistic expectations you might have from his intro, like thinking you can go from making $40,000 a year to $40,000 a month easily once you read this book. But this book became a fan favorite for a reason: It contains many solid tips that will help you shape your life in a more productive manner, whether you’re a seasoned businessperson or a freshman in college. The biggest takeaway from this book? Outsource the work that you don’t like or aren’t good at, and your life will be that much more of a breeze. As one reviewer put it, "The 4-Hour Workweek is a new way of solving a very old problem: Just how can we work to live and prevent our lives from being all about work? A world of infinite options awaits those who would read this book and be inspired by it!"
Lots of people have big ideas, but this book is all about helping you discover the power of…small ideas. Rather than trying to be many different things to many different people, trying to do it all, trying to constantly outperform your peers, this book has a humble proposal: Focus on just one small thing that you should be doing rather than all the things you could be doing. It might sound simple, but in practice, doing this requires letting go of all the things that try to weigh us down. It requires narrowing your focus in a world that asks you to constantly expand your horizons. Don’t worry, this book doesn’t ask that you pick just one thing to focus on your entire life – it just proposes that you should stick to one thing at a time, and pursue your biggest goal with a single-minded focus. This book will help you lower your stress levels while also building towards goals that matter to you.
If you’re looking for a book on productivity, you’re probably running away from, not towards, procrastination. But Rory Vaden’s book turns the idea that procrastination is bad on its head and instead posits that purposeful procrastination is actually a good thing. You only have so much time in a day, and rather than trying to cram as much as one possibly can into it, Vaden argues that you should give yourself permission to simplify your life through elimination (just saying no), automation, delegation, consolidation and yes, procrastination. This is less a book about controlling your time and more a book about prioritizing your life. Rather than taking on more and more, this book will teach you how to say no to things that don’t add value to your life and bring you joy. The bullet points at the end of each chapter are helpful when you’re looking to apply the advice to your own life as well.
If reading about the aforementioned systems for carefully organizing your life and to-do lists through a complex process is enough to stress you out, then this book is probably more your style. It doesn’t give any complex, fancy procedures – but it does propose that you cut the complicated stuff and make a system that works best for you. By using a personality quiz, the author categorizes readers into three broad categories: the goal-oriented prioritizers, big-picture centered visualizers and detail-oriented planners. Once you’ve identified your own classification, you’ll learn how to design a system that fits the way your brain works – as well as helpful tips like how to decide whether or not meeting someone in person, or cleaning up your messy desk, is really worth it for you. The book is written in a friendly and approachable style that will make it a joy to read and integrate into your own life.
Does the idea of decluttering your entire life in one fell swoop freak you out? If so, this book might be more your speed. Inside, you’ll find a year-long guide to getting your entire life in order – really! The author, Regina Leeds, is an expert declutterer and has helped thousands of even the messiest hoarders get their stuff together. This book is easy to use, and you don’t need to wait until January to make a new year-long resolution – the book is broken into weekly chapters and is designed so that you gradually build habits, rather than cleaning everything only to fall back into the same old behaviors that got you into this mess in the first place.
This book is all about making your life as streamlined and effective as possible. You’ll learn to eliminate distractions, get rid of clutter, prioritize your to-do list, break down long projects into manageable tasks and build new lifelong habits that will make you a more efficient and effective worker.