Advertising
Advertising

20 Essential Books To Supercharge Your Productivity

20 Essential Books To Supercharge Your Productivity

Perhaps the number one rule that productive people emphasize is the need to have a mentor. But with busy lifestyles today, it is difficult to find time to build that relationship. Thankfully, great mentors and teachers for a productive life are only an arm stretch away in a book. Success and productivity comes first from gaining the knowledge. Here are 20 essential productivity books that will turn you into a productivity machine:

1. The 4-Hour Chef, by Tim Ferriss.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.52.27 AM

    Tim Ferriss has fast become the ‘go-to guy’ when it comes to productivity, accelerated learning and life hacks. In this book he gives his 4-step method of speed learning: Deconstruct, Selection, Sequence, Stakes. His latest book is a comprehensive coverage of what he also touches on in his earlier books, The 4 Hour Work Week and The 4 Hour Body.

    2. The War Of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

    Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.08.25 PM

      Perhaps one of the greatest books on overcoming obstacles in creative work is this by Steven Pressfield. In it he explains Resistance as being that crippling enemy we face every day and gives great short reflections on how to break through.

      3. Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

      Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.49.16 AM

        A classic by David Allen, one of the most successful corporate coaches, his book is described by Time Magazine as, “the definitive business self-help book of the decade.” A great tip from this book is the two-minute rule: if there is any task that takes less than two minutes to finish, then drop whatever it is that you are doing and finish that task.

        4. Your Brain At Work, by David Rock.

        Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.51.09 AM

          Understanding how your brain works is crucial for success and being productive. David gives a great metaphor for the mind as a stage performance. Your brain’s functions are like a director trying to manage actors and actresses- you need to find the optimum amount that you can work with in order to be productive.

          Advertising

          5. The Power Of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.

          Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.12.02 PM

            Get an insight into what makes good habit and bad habits with this book. Charles Duhigg breaks down the stages of building habits: cue, routine, reward. Productivity is very much dependent upon what your daily habits are. Create better habits and understand why we do the things we do in work and life.

            6. Made To Stick, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

            Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.12.47 PM

              It is one thing to work hard, but it can be futile if you are not working smart also. This book will teach you about what sets a winning brand apart from the rest. Be productive but also stand out from the crowd.

              7. What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter.

              Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.14.16 PM

                That voice in your head can make all the difference in terms of how productive you are. Shad Helmstetter teaches you to become mindful of negative thoughts that are holding you back and replace them with with productive and positive self-talk you need.

                8. See You At The Top, by Zig Ziglar.

                Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.16.35 PM

                  Another classic by the great Zig Ziglar. Learn how to turn “lemons into lemonade” in this book. If you have gone through some difficulties recently, Zig gives some great advice along with a healthy all-round approach to success and being productive.

                  9. Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal.

                  Advertising

                  Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.48.35 AM

                    Procrastination and lack of self-discipline are the greatest enemies of productivity. Dr. Kelly McGonigal is a professor at Stanford University where she teaches on many subject including self-discipline through a psychological lens. She reveals much of her lessons in this book.

                    10. Thinking Fast And Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

                    Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.11.16 PM

                      Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahnerman helps you to be more productive through understanding the two different faculties of your thinking: the fast, intuitive, and emotional; and slower, more deliberative, and more logical.

                      11. Invisible Influence, by Kevin Hogan.

                      Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.20.21 PM

                        There are so many subliminal effects at play that may be holding back your productivity. It may simply be the color of your room that is making you lazy. Uncover what some of these are in this book.

                        12. The First 20 Hours: How To Learn Anything…Fast! by Josh Kaufman.

                        Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.28.32 PM

                          Josh Kaufman unpacks his 4 step method to rapid learning. He teaches an important point on making pre-commitments of 20 hours to your learning in order to see great results and be productive.

                          13. The Art Of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin.

                          Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.27.48 PM

                            Josh Waitzkin is a grand master chess player who also became a champion martial artist. He breaks down the secrets to learning and being successful in this book as he shares his own personal experiences of what he found to be productive and what was not.

                            Advertising

                            14. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, by Gary Vaynerchuck.

                            Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.19.37 PM

                              Gary Vaynerchuck is dominating the online marketing world and he gives the secrets to making huge progress and seeing profitable results. He give an incredible amount of case studies showing what practices are the most productive for online work.

                              15. Your Creative Brain, by Shelley Carson.

                              Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.15.53 PM

                                Dr Shelley Carson from Harvard gives 7 steps to maximize imagination, productivity, and innovation in your life. She explains that creative brains are developed and trained, and breaks down the creativity process to allow you to be creatively productive.

                                16. The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy.

                                Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.45.31 AM

                                  Being the publisher of Success Magazine, Darren Hardy ought to know a thing or two about being productive and successful. In this book he discussing the crucial accumulation of the little decisions we make each day and how they can drive us toward our goals.

                                  17. Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.

                                  Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.17.49 PM

                                    Regarded by many as one of the greatest books for writers. Lamotte’s incredibly entertaining book helps not only writers but all artist overcome those demons that keep us from being stagnant and overwhelmed with our work.

                                    18. The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle.

                                    Advertising

                                    Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.23.51 PM

                                      Journalist Daniel Coyle takes readers through 9 different case studies from sports teams to music academies uncovering the truth behind talent. Rather than a gift, it is a product of hard work and productivity.

                                      19. Train You Brain For Success, Roger Seip.

                                      Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.24.48 PM

                                        This book includes a phenomenal section on developing your memory and speed reading. The ability to read and remember well are crucial for being productive.

                                        20. How To Become A Straight-A Student, Cal Newport.

                                        Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 12.25.42 PM

                                          Cal Newport teaches some unconventional paths and strategies to getting high grades through some more refined studying strategies. Rather than continually cramming he gives effective methods that can be applied to those outside a school setting also.

                                          Add some of these titles to your growing library and begin to enjoy having a more productive life.

                                          Featured photo credit: reading a book by feedough via stockfresh.com

                                          More by this author

                                          20 Essential Books To Supercharge Your Productivity 12 Things The World Cup Losing Teams Teach You About Success If Looks Could Kill | 8 Killer Ways to Dominate Every First Impression Homesick? 9 Simple Ways to Feel At Home Wherever You Are 20 Keys To Have An Incredibly Happy Relationship In Today’s World

                                          Trending in Productivity

                                          1 How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology) 2 How to Find Your Keystone Habits to Change Your Life 3 7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now 4 10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age 5 5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

                                          Read Next

                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising

                                          Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                                          How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                                          How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                                          Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

                                          However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

                                          Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

                                          Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

                                          Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

                                          What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

                                          To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

                                          The Biology

                                          Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

                                          Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

                                          Advertising

                                          The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

                                          A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

                                          Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

                                          So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

                                          Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

                                          Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

                                          Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

                                          Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

                                          Advertising

                                          The Psychology

                                          Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

                                          Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

                                          Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

                                          Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

                                          What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

                                          Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

                                          Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

                                          1. Identify Your Habits

                                          As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

                                          2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

                                          Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

                                          Advertising

                                          It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

                                          3. Apply Logic

                                          You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

                                          Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

                                          4. Choose an Alternative

                                          As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

                                          Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

                                          5. Remove Triggers

                                          Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

                                          Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

                                          6. Visualize Change

                                          Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

                                          Advertising

                                          For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

                                          7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

                                          Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

                                          Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

                                          Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

                                          More About Changing Habits

                                          Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          Read Next