10 Best Books for Increasing Productivity

Productivity, Reading

Productivity by itself is not an end; it’s a means. As believers, we should strive for grace-based productivity in our work hours (whether in an actual workplace or in the home) so we can be completely present and at rest with the people who matter most. Everything I teach on productivity points to this end!

Much of what I share comes from my own independent study of productivity, habits, and time management. Today I’m sharing the ten most influential productivity books in my own life. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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Do More Better by Tim Challies

A friend of mine bought me this book at the Ligonier Conference (so it’s signed! Yay!). It’s a slim book, a very quick read, and if you’re looking for a biblical approach to productivity, this is the book for you. The only thing I’d mention is he takes a very electronic approach to simplifying systems – using Evernote and other apps to increase productivity. Personally, I find these apps counterproductive for my work style, as they encourage me to be on my phone MORE. I prefer to use a physical planner and write out my goals and to-do’s, avoiding excess technology time ala The Tech Wise Family.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

If you’re a nerd about facts, this book will give you all the psychological and historical research you crave! Using practical stories of how habits are formed, Duhigg teaches you how to think about your own habits and personality.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

One of my all-time favorites – but really, I own all of Gretchen’s books and have never NOT loved a single one! This book gives super practical tips for overcoming your habit “loopholes”; those excuses we make to procrastinate and fail to follow through on goals. If you read The Happiness Project and wondered how Gretchen managed to try so many new things in a year, this book gives you the answer!

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Another Gretchen work, a follow-up to concepts mentioned in Better Than Before. This book gets into the details of your habit forming tendency (you can take the quiz here) and how knowing your tendency can help you form habits that stick! I’ll be talking about the tendencies in my productivity e-course. You can join the free version of the course here!

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

This is another favorite of mine. You could read this in one sitting! I love that it breaks down practical things you can do early in the morning to get a jump on your day. I use many of these principles in my own life as a work from home mom. Bonus reads: two of Laura’s other books, 168 Hours and I Know How She Does It. 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

This one is a classic, but if you haven’t read it, get it on your list! Whether you’re in college, starting your post-grad career, or a mom at home, these habits will help you be more effective in everything you do.

A Simplified Life by Emily Ley

First of all, this book is beautiful. I love everything Emily produces. If you need a super basic starting point for simplifying all areas of your life, this is the book for you! It’s a pleasant read, very personal, with a gorgeous layout and photos. Each chapter has practical tips you can apply and sections for journaling and next steps in your own simplification journey. She talks about simplifying laundry, cooking, work, family, and technology.

Make It Happen by Lara Casey

I own both of Lara’s books and have been using her Powersheets Goal Planner for three years (it’s AMAZING. So worth it. Get yours here). This book is so gracious and encouraging. If you want to approach your goals with a positive view and stop white-knuckling your accomplishments, get this book!

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

I will preface this recommendation by saying that Timothy Ferriss comes off as a bit of a jerk in his book. If not a jerk, then definitely a know it all. But he IS very smart, and his chapter on moving a job from an office to working remotely resonated deeply with me, since that’s what I did before I resigned my full time job. A great read for entrepreneurs or those who want to eventually work from home.

Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson

For a spiritual approach to time management, no better book than this one. I also read Lysa TerKeurst’s The Best Yes and recommend this one over that one (no offense to Lysa, but this is more in depth). I heard Susie speak on this topic, and can’t recommend the book enough. It’s covered in my notes!

I hope you love these as much as I did!

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