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Last Updated on April 22, 2020

10 Best Time Management Books for Maximized Productivity

10 Best Time Management Books for Maximized Productivity

We all know that the most precious resource in life is time. Once lost, you can never rewind the clock. For entrepreneurs, this pressure is enhanced.

Having an idea and a vision for a business requires courage. Launching that business in a world where many are satisfied with their comfort zones requires guts. Once you’ve launched the business, the goal is to be consistent.

Success is directly related to consistency. Consistency is the direct result of how you manage your time.

Here are 10 awesome time management books that have been recommended by successful entrepreneurs.

1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

This is an awesome resource that jolts everything you’ve ever learned about the time needed to build a successful career. Personally, I was shell-shocked when I first heard of a “4-hour workweek.” At the time, I could hardly get through the typical 9-5.

I read the book and my life has never been the same. I’ve managed to escape the rate race, work less hours, and live life to the fullest.

Joel Bomgar, founder and CEO of Bomgar, had the following to say about the book:

“The productivity principles and philosophy of productivity and effectiveness encompassed in [The 4-Hour Work Week] are powerful. I read it a few years back and it was one of the most life-transforming books I’ve ever read.”

    Get the book here!

    2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

    This is another fantastic resource that shifts your paradigm and mindset. This book taught me that income-generating assets usually provide healthier bottom-line results than even the best of traditional jobs. This might not always mean millions of dollars in your bank account, but it may give you that priceless time freedom.

    Dane Maxwell, founder of an incredible resource called The Foundation – a community of over 60,000 entrepreneurs – had this to say:

    “It all started when I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’m not a typically really super intelligent guy so I really appreciated the simplistic way that Rich Dad, Poor Dad explained financial wealth. He talked about passive income and not exchanging time for money.”

      Get the book here!

      3. No B.S. Time Management For Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy

      Being an entrepreneur is tough. You’ve got to set some serious targets upfront. You might not achieve them all, but you have to gun for them.

      This book gives you three incredibly powerful tips and targets:

      • Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you unstoppable
      • Avoid the time vampires that want to suck you dry
      • As an entrepreneur, your time is worth $340 per hour

      It is impossible to start as $340-per-hour entrepreneur. But, it should certainly be your target as you grow.

      Paul Gallipeau, Digital Marketing entrepreneur, has this as one of his highly recommended reads.

        Get the book here!

        4. In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore

        We live in an unnecessarily fast-paced world. In Praise of Slowness advocates for the reversal of a fast-forward mentality and lifestyle. It entrenches a culture revolution against the notion that faster is always better.

        For any entrepreneur, this is a must-read.

        There are too many opportunities out there. There are opportunities within opportunities. In the midst of all these opportunities, you need to slow down and have a clearly defined vision that will help you avoid growing into a chaotic entrepreneur.

        This is a resource highly recommended by Joe Griffin, co-founder of iAcquire.

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          Get the book here!

          5. Priorities: Resources for Changing Lives by James C. Petty

          This book addresses time management from a spiritual perspective.

          I’m a huge advocate for the idea that less is more. I truly believe you can get more done by doing less.

          The success of this theory all lies in your ability to prioritize. Not everything that screams for your attention is important. You need to proactively ignore things that are not your most urgent priorities.

          With this resource, James C. Petty helps bring focus into frazzled lives. Using the “Assessing My Priorities” worksheet, he walks you through the process of organizing time under the categories of God, the people of God, and God’s work in the world.

          With sound biblical advice and practical applications, this booklet demonstrates ways in which you can reduce unnecessary stress, identify true priorities, and begin to get your overbooked schedule under control.

            Get the book here!

            6. On The Shortness Of Life by Seneca

            Recommended by Tim Ferriss, the incredible entrepreneur and author of The 4-Hour Work Week, this resource highlights that we have more than enough time to live our lives to the fullest.

            Unfortunately, we waste much of it.

            The book teaches how you can live a more fulfilled life by tweaking your perspective on time management.

              Get the book here!

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              7. Organize Yourself by Kate Kelly

              Shifting your paradigm and mindset is important. That’s the reason why most of these books are geared at changing the way you think about the relationship between time and entrepreneurship.

              This book is about shifting your thinking about execution. Before execution, you need a plan. You need to be organized.

              This book will help you get organized by providing you with essential rules for better time, money, space and paper management.

              It reveals a professional organizer’s proven techniques for streamlining daily life.

              It provides fast, effective methods for dealing with common clutter, along with helping you to overcome procrastination and other organizational ailments.

                Get the book here!

                8. Time Efficiency Makeover by Dorothy K. Breininger

                We all are prone to procrastination at some point or other in our entrepreneurial journey. When things are not going quite according to how you planned, it is all too easy to get distracted.

                This book will help you decide whether procrastination is a real problem or if you are experiencing other life challenges.

                For true procrastinators, this book is filled with step-by-step guidelines on how to stop putting off those home and work projects, unpaid bills and neglected relationships. You will understand what is holding you back and how to keep focused and motivated on present and future events.

                A must-read for anyone who wants to improve the efficiency and satisfaction of their lives.

                Phil McGraw, an American television personality, author, psychologist, and the host of the television show Dr. Phil, highly recommends this resource and has the following to say:

                “These guys really know how to get things set up to maximize your time. They absolutely can create time that seems to come from nowhere.”

                  Get the book here!

                  9. How Did I Get So Busy? by Burton Valorie

                  I was once a busy bee and quickly realized that being busy was not necessarily the most effective way to reach my destiny. As the editor at Run For Wealth, a Nike Run Club Coach, and an online marketer, I have to constantly have to find the true balance between business versus productivity.

                  I highly recommend this book because it’s a simple and effective way to rediscover your true priorities, shift out of overdrive, and reclaim your life and schedule.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. Aligned Thinking: Make Every Moment Count by Jim Steffen

                    Ultimately, we all want to live a fulfilled life. Having a great paradigm shift and being organized means nothing if you can’t make every moment count.

                    This book, written in the style of a simple fable, helps you to develop practical ways to focus on what’s important now and make the moment count.

                      Get the book here!

                      Conclusion

                      As an entrepreneur, you’ll come across many challenges. But, the biggest challenge will often be the issue of using your time effectively – especially early on in your entrepreneurial journey. This is the time when you’ll feel obliged to make everyone happy.

                      Time is a precious resource. For those who truly understand its value, it often seems like they are living in a cocoon.

                      You are not living in a cocoon. As an entrepreneur, you are in the minority, but it’s fine. I hope this list of resources will help you find comfort in the fact that being in the minority probably means you are well on your way to a fantastic and successful entrepreneurial journey.

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                      Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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                      Peteni Kuzwayo

                      Peteni is the founder of Run For Wealth. He shares about entrepreneurship and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on January 6, 2021

                      14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                      14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                      Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                      In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                      For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                      For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                      Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                      Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                      Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                      How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                      Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                      1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                      Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                      For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                      2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                      Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                      Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                      Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                      3. Create a System

                      Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                      This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                      You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                      Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                      Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                      4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                      We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                      If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                      Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                      Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                      5. Use a Ratings Scale

                      Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                      Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                      It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                      6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                      This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                      You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                      You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                      7. Offer Feedback Forms

                      Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                      First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                      Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                      You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                      8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                      This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                      Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                      Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                      9. Use Self-Evaluations

                      Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                      Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                      10. Monitor Time Management

                      This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                      Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                        The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                        While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                        11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                        We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                        Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                        For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                        Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                        Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                        From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                        12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                        This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                        Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                        Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                        It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                        13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                        When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                        Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                        Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                        14. Use an External Evaluator

                        Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                        They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                        While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                        Final Thoughts

                        These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                        The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                        The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                        Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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