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Published on November 6, 2019

10 Best Career Books To Help You Do Work You Love

10 Best Career Books To Help You Do Work You Love

Whether you’re new to the job market, or happen to be looking for a new path professionally, the following 10 career books will help you make that happen. These are the books you need to read in order to find and do work you love or take your career to the next level.

1. Find Your Why by Simon Sinek

    Do you know your WHY? Here’s mine: ”To inspire, empower, and educate people everywhere so that they can improve their lives and achieve their goals.” Every single thing I do in my career–my motivational speaking work, my writing, my podcast, and every one of my business ventures–revolves around my WHY.

    And this first book on our list will teach you how to find your own WHY, and how to draft your own WHY statement so that you can articulate your purpose to the world effectively and elegantly.

    Check out the book here.

    2. Deep Work by Cal Newport

      The author of this book, Cal Newport, told me on my podcast[1] that being able to sustain your focus for long periods of time is like a super-power. And I believe it. Especially these days–when people are more distracted than ever–it’s crucial to be capable of focusing on your work without succumbing to distraction.

      This book will teach you how to do that, which is why it’s one of the best career books out there.

      Check out the book here.

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      3. Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

        Designing Your Life teaches you how to take a design-based approach towards your life in order to live better and optimize the life you lead in every way, and in every area.

        The book was co-authored by Bill Burnett, one of Apple’s original designers; and Dave Evans, a mechanical engineer, and previous VP of Talent for Electronic Arts. Bill and Dave also teach a popular class together at Stanford that teaches students how to leverage design-thinking to customize a personal and professional lifestyle optimized for maximum fulfillment. This career book is based on their Stanford life-design class.

        Check out the book here.

        4. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

          This is one of my personal favorite books. It’s powerful and practical, especially if you’re looking to find and do work you love.

          And, if you’re already doing meaningful work, Scott will teach you how to put the proper systems in place to make the most impact with the work you do. In this book, you’ll also learn–as the title entails–why failure is never a sign you won’t eventually succeed.

          Check out the book here.

          5. Mastery by Robert Greene

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            It doesn’t matter how old you are or how successful you are in your career, there’s always room for improvement. And that’s what this book is all about: becoming a student of your craft.

            Mastery is about falling in love with what you do, even when it gets hard. This book taught me about how important it is to choose a career that you’re willing to work on becoming better and better at for the rest of your life… Because if you can find that, as the old saying goes, “you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

            Check out the book here.

            6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

              Influencing others is an art. Do it wrong and you come off as sleazy. But if you do it right, you can win the admiration of others and advance your career.

              Learning how to deal with people is one of those skills you won’t learn about in most classrooms. You won’t find it in any business training manuals, either. But if you can learn how to do it, it’ll pay off more than any other specialized skill you can learn–regardless of what industry you’re in. How to Win Friends and Influence People is a crucial career book no matter who you are.

              Check out the book here.

              7. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

                After you read How to Win Friends and Influence People, do yourself a favor and go get this book. Why? Because it’ll teach you how to create powerful professional networks that you can tap into throughout your career.

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                Your network may not be the only thing that determines your net worth, but it sure plays a big role in doing so.

                Check out the book here.

                8. Drive by Daniel Pink

                  Motivation — sometimes it can be tough to muster up. But what if you could create “on-demand” motivation for yourself? How cool would that be, right?

                  Well, this book teaches you how to do that, not only for yourself, but for others as well. In Drive, you’ll learn about the components of human motivation, and how to effectively motivate yourself and others… Both of which are essential elements of succeeding in almost every career.

                  Check out the book here.

                  9. Give and Take by Adam Grant

                    Give and Take is essential reading because it focuses on how strategically giving to others and adding value to the lives of others can ultimately benefit you. It’s a guidebook for creating a thriving and fulfilling career, while helping others in the process. In this career book, you’ll learn how helping others can propel your professional life forward.

                    Check out the book here.

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                    10. What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles

                      If you’re on the hunt for a new job, or happen to be looking for a new career, then this book is for you. The book is updated yearly, but the core concepts remain the same:

                      Finding a career you love is more than possible if you can navigate interviews, have a marketable skill-set, and are willing to be flexible and creative.

                      This book will teach you how to do that.

                      Check out the book here.

                      Which Book Will You Read First?

                      Now that you’ve got this list of career books, there’s only one question left… Which one do you read first? Should you go out and get all of them immediately? Should you read them all at once?

                      So many options. So little time. Ultimately, it’s totally your decision what you do with this list and how you apply it to your life and career.

                      But if I may, here’s what I would suggest you consider as you get started:

                      If you’d prefer to read an entire book, I would highly suggest that you read just ONE book at a time. Sometimes, when we see something new and exciting, we have tendency to want to do/learn/read it all at once… and as we all know, this is nearly impossible to do without stressing ourselves out. So, choose a book. And then commit to reading it from start to finish.

                      If you’re in a rush, try Audible audiobooks, or book summary apps such as Blinkist or InstaRead.

                      More Books to Help Advance Your Career

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Dean Bokhari

                      Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

                      7 Things That Cause Your Lack of Motivation (And How to Fix Them) How to Avoid Procrastination and Get Your Work Done 11 Ways to Be Productive And Happy At Once 10 Best Career Books To Help You Do Work You Love How to Seize Your Opportunities and Take on Challenges

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                      How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                      We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

                      So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

                      While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

                      Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

                      What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

                      How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

                      But what does being productive actually entail?

                      Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

                      Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

                      It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

                      Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

                      9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

                      1. Avoid Multitasking

                      Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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                      Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

                      If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

                      2. Turn off Notifications

                      According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

                      Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

                      The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

                      Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

                      3. Manage Interruptions

                      There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

                      Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

                      If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

                      By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

                      4. Eat the Frog

                      Mark Twain once famously said that:

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                      “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

                      What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

                      We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

                      Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

                      5. Cut Down on Meetings

                      Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

                      You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

                      The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

                      But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

                      If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

                      6. Utilize Tools

                      Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

                      If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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                      And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

                      Some examples of tools that could be used:

                      Communication
                      • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
                      • Samepage for video conference software.
                      • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
                      Task Management
                      • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
                      • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
                      • Wekan for an open source option.
                      Database Management
                      Time Tracking
                      • Clockify for a free tracker.
                      • TMetric for workspace integrations.
                      • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

                      You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

                      7. Declutter and Organize

                      Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

                      Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

                      Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

                      Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

                      8. Take Breaks

                      Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

                      As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

                      Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

                      Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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                      9. Drink Water

                      Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

                      Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

                      Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

                      A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

                      If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

                      You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

                      The Bottom Line

                      The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

                      After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

                      In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

                      A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

                      Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

                      More About Boosting Productivity

                      Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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