Most professionals want to achieve maximum efficiency, and when it comes to productivity, there are countless quick tips and hacks out there. Though the internet is full of these suggestions, it can be highly beneficial to grab a book and go a bit more in depth. Not only does reading help increase productivity by stimulating brain activity, but great books also give a doorway into the mind of other professionals and highly productive people. If you’re in a productivity rut or simply looking for ways to improve, here are some books I’d recommend adding to your summer reading list:
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World – Cal Newport
Do you find yourself frequently distracted by technology? Do the notifications on your smartphone pull you from the task at hand and derail your productivity? If you’ve experienced these feelings, you’re not alone. Cal Newport’s NYT bestselling book on Digital Minimalism is taking off and proving popular and effective with today’s professionals. It’s about knowing how much is enough when it comes to personal technology. His book is about how to live a more focused life in a noisy world. If you’ve heard his name before, it’s likely from his bestselling book Deep Work. In his newest book, he takes common-sense technology tips (things like limiting smartphone use and silencing notifications) a bit further to help readers create a more thoughtful strategy to both minimize and take advantage of technology.
Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity – Charles Duhigg
You might know Charles Duhigg from his bestselling book The Power of Habit which is also a great read. In his more recent book, Smarter Faster Better, he delves into the science of productivity in a way that’s easy for readers to digest. He explores the difference between being busy and being productive in both your professional and personal life. The overarching idea is that managing how you think is more important than managing what you think. He also asserts that achieving smaller manageable goals is one of the best ways to make progress and build up to achieving larger goals. He includes an appendix of real-world actionable tips and lessons to use in your own productivity efforts.
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It – Kelly McGonigal
This book is based on Stanford University psychologist, Kelly McGonigal’s, popular course, The Science of Willpower. In it, she explains how willpower isn’t a virtue that some people have and others don’t, but instead, it’s a mind-body response or a biological function. Because of this, even people who feel their willpower and self-control are lacking can improve. Through things like diet, exercise, sleep, and mindfulness, she attests that you can improve this self-control and motivation. Using insights from psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, she gives actionable advice for readers to improve their willpower and boost their productivity as a result.
The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life – Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta’s book is similar to Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism, but rather than focusing just on the distraction of technology, The Power of Less delves into a wide variety of business and life circumstances. In this book, Babauta details how to identify the essential and the unnecessary and how to free yourself from the clutter of your daily life. Some focus points include how to set limits and focus on one important goal, how to break down your goals into more manageable pieces, how to make the most of the resources you already have, and how to work less by working smarter.
If you’re looking to delve a bit deeper into the topic of productivity, these books are must-reads. While quick tips and tricks can sometimes help, gaining a more thorough understanding of what works and why can improve your productivity exponentially. Do you have any favorite books on productivity and efficiency? Share them with us.