Hey. Psst. What are you doing right now? Besides reading this post, naturally. Got a to-do list for the day? Work or school assignments to complete, errands to run, chores to take care of? How much of it gets done, how much of it gets put off for another day, and how much of it is driving you bananas because there’s only 24 hours in a day, damn it, and you only have two hands and one brain and you haven’t mastered teleportation yet? You’re trying.
We feel you. And we want to help. If wrangling time with Wonder Woman’s lasso is part of your New Year’s Resolution, you’ve come to the right place (and if reading more is also on that list, well look at you, tackling two resolutions in one fell swoop). Let’s make 2018 the year you master time management instead, so you can get your ish done and not feel like a crazy person doing it.
Here are 7 time management books to get you started.
The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People by Pedram Shojai
Since we don’t have a Time Turner handy, we have to make do with maintaining daily rituals and habits that allow us to use what time we have wisely. Taoist minister Pedram Shojai wants you to have time prosperity by implementing a 100-day Gong, a Chinese practice where a little bit of time each day is designated for a specific task, which will help you form the habits you need to manage your time better.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Have you ever considered that the sheer overwhelming amount of things you need to get done…are maybe not all that important? That perhaps it’s time to cull that to-do list, and only focus on the things that matter? McKeown wants you to whittle your unruly schedule down to the essentials, like minimalism for your brain instead of your living room. He argues that essentialism and reclaiming control of your choices and how you spend your time and energy will change how you organize your life.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
Let’s go back to this 24-hours-in-a-day ridiculousness. We’re all trying to do more, and Earth’s natural rotation has not slowed down to accommodate. Inevitably, we can’t fit it all in, so we’re left disappointed and kind of cranky. Vanderkam suggests that we learn how to allocate our time differently and prioritize what we fill out time with. Instead of thinking “I don’t have time for this,” think “…I’m not making this a priority right now,” and see how it might shift your perspective.
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
Gawande knows the power of the checklist, because as a practicing surgeon, he also knows that all the training and education in the world ain’t worth a darn if we’re forgetting to perform crucial steps in our work, like during a surgery. Did you know that one of the biggest clinical “inventions” proposed by the World Health Organization and adopted in over twenty countries…was a surgical checklist? Yeah. That’s the power of a checklist in action, and it’s a thing of beauty and wonder for time management.
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Simple seems to be a running theme, doesn’t it? Keller and Papasan also stress the importance of less in order to achieve more. They debunk some widely held beliefs that are thankfully on their way out (can we just not with multitasking? No one can do it. No one. Nor should they.), and ask you to ask yourself: What is your one thing? This week, this month, tomorrow? What are you even trying to manage your time for?
It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul
Yeah, you know that feeling, don’t you? It’s no secret that disorganization and clutter makes it harder to manage your time like a pro, especially when you can’t find anything. Management consultant Marilyn Paul offers up a seven-step path to help you organize your stuff, master your time and how you spend it, and essentially always know where your towel is.
Super Better: The Power of Living Gamefully by Jane McGonigal
Time management and productivity are hard enough when you’re able-bodied, but if you’re in Jane McGonigal’s shoes and dealing with something like a traumatic brain injury, the motivation to even get out of bed is harder to come by. McGonigal dealt with her circumstances by turning to her specialty—game design. She transformed her recovery into a game, and discovered that the ways we think when we’re playing games have remarkable similarities to what contributes to the kind of post-traumatic growth that McGonigal needed, and that everyone can benefit from (the growth part, not the traumatic part). Managing time better is just one aspect of the seven skills she discusses in this book, but look at it this way: the tools you need to get better at time management (focus, willpower, motivation) are all muscles that can be strengthened by incorporating more than one rad skill…that in turn will give you the oomph you need to be more time savvy.
What are your favorite time management books?