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March 22, 2021 Adrian Zee

6 Books to boost your productivity

Productivity

In the following list, we’ve highlighted six great books written by experts in their respective fields on different aspects of productivity. Whether it’s habit building, better sleep, or innovation, this reading list has you covered. 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Finding good habits or eliminating bad ones can help you supercharge productivity. Atomic Habits is an excellent read for anyone hoping to understand how to wake up earlier or fall asleep at a more reasonable hour by reducing the phone scrolling hours before bedtime. James Clear provides a system filled with valuable routines and tips that may seem minor, but result in significant positive impacts that will help you develop a better routine or eliminate a negative one. This includes creating habit trigger points or an identity that reinforces your habit. James Clear also explains why certain people may not have great habits implemented in their lives, and how they can create a more desirable lifestyle by offering resources such as a habit cheat sheet and habit tracker within the book. 

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

You can’t be productive without a good night’s rest. Why We Sleep provides a detailed and science-backed approach to explaining this to individuals. Author Matthew Walker is a neuroscientist and sleep expert who helps professional athletes and other high performance people track and improve their sleep. He now brings his knowledge and tips to help you with your own sleeping patterns. 

The book’s key points include the adverse effects alcohol has on sleep, the importance of having enough rest, compensating for lack of nightly rest with naps, and more. This is a great read if you are seeking tips and advice on having an overall better sleeping pattern so you can have more energy during the day to do amazing things! 

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less 

“Busy” and “productive” are two different concepts. Going through meetings filled with brainstorming sessions and spending hours in email threads can sometimes seem like  unproductive tasks but they take up your time and keep you busy. Essentialism is for those who feel overworked, but still don’t have a sense of being productive. The book’s central theme is to refocus your efforts on getting the right things done — not getting everything done. By following the book’s steps, it can help you decipher what tasks in your day-to-day are essential and then learn how to say “no” to the remainder in order to feel more productive and less overwhelmed by work

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

The Lean Startup isn’t only for founders and CEOs, but for anyone who wants to learn how to streamline their productivity and potentially start their own business or even be more efficient in work. The book, in its essence, is about doing more with less — whether it’s going viral through “growth hacking” or innovating with a minimum viable product. This book mainly focuses on innovation and how you can become more productive by working smarter rather than working harder. This book will allow you to develop great ideas and a long term vision that will help you succeed in work and life. 

The 4-Hour Workweek

Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek is a classic in the productivity category. Ferriss explains in this book how he eliminates much of his busy work with resources such as virtual assistants, technology, and outsourcing. This frees up his time while he maintains a steady income — which is where the book’s title comes from. The book is filled with tips, case studies, and templates to help you build your 4-hour workweek. 

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

Reading is a great hobby and practice. It can provide valuable learning, but you may read and not retain what you’ve read. Unless you’re only reading to unwind (which is also great!), understanding how to read is essential to productive reading. How to Read a Book provides a structure on active reading and effectively learning and retaining information from a book. It teaches about understanding the author’s goal, critically thinking about the author’s arguments, and how you may approach skimming. 

I hope that a few of these books can make it to your reading list. Do you have other suggestions for this productivity reading list? Feel free to let me know! 

Adrian Zee

Adrian Zee is a freelance writer and a student at Osgoode Hall Law School. Previously, he studied management and writing at Western University and worked in the data & analytics industry. Adrian is also a part-time food writer and photographer at DailyHive/DishedTO.