When it comes to harnessing your time, time management books are a must. They are a great way to learn from an expert and understand your time better than ever before.
Many of the best lessons I’ve ever picked up came from books. And it just so happens that many of those life-changing books are listed in this post.
So whether you are looking for time management books for college students, stay-at-home parents, business executives, or anyone else looking to better utilize their time, you’ve come to the right place.
12 Seriously Transformative Time Management Books
The list below contains some of the best books on time management and productivity available. Some may even argue that this post contains the best time management books of all time.
That is both true and false. Hear me out.
Any book that you read will resonate differently depending on where you are in life.
I’ve read books in the past that completely fell short. They were highly recommended to me and when I read them I felt nothing but disappointment and frustration. However, when I came back around to them years later, their messages not only resonated with me, but they changed my entire way of thinking.
So keep that in mind as you go through this list – some books may stand out to you, others may not. You may want to go with one of my recommendations, or you may want to hold off until the lessons become more relevant for you.
And that’s totally fine.
Now, before we dive into the list of books, let’s uncover why time management is so important in the first place.
What is time management and why it matters
Time management is essentially how you choose to spend your time. For instance, if you have 1 hour of downtime, do you spend it watching TV or reading a book?
The decision that you make is time management and it can make or break you. Because you can create your ideal life if you use your time wisely. But, you need to actually use it wisely.
That means spending that 1 hour working on goal setting instead of scrolling on social media. That means building our your productivity strategy instead of eating junk food. It means working towards that dream life you’ve always imagined for yourself instead of wasting your days away.
That’s why time management is so important: it helps you use your time effectively so that you can get the right stuff done and move ever faster towards achieving your ideal life.
If you want to learn more about time management, I recommend checking out our time management guide.
Either way, keep that in mind as you go through this list of time management books. Whatever book you choose, make sure it will help you achieve the time management goal that you’re after.
Decision criteria – time management books
The books listed below are selected for a reason. The reason being that I have either personally read them, loved them, and want to share them with you, or they were highly recommended to me by respected and trusted resources (for example, the Amazon best sellers list).
Each book is a titan in its own right and I’m sure you will find one that calls out to you. When you do find one, check the reviews, see if you can preview a chapter or two. The insights will help you make your decision even easier.
You’ll be able to tell which ones are my favorites, but I’ll do my best to offer unbiased summaries so that you can make the choice on your own.
Oh and quick side note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. That means that if you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission that I can use to keep this site running. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t impact the price, product, or my recommendation in anyway.
With that, let’s dive into the list of seriously transformative time management books!
Author: Tim Ferriss
Brief Summary: This book is broken into 4 insightful sections that spell out DEAL:
- D for definition – recognize what your dream life looks like.
- E for elimination – learn how to eliminate the distractions and time wasters.
- A for automation – understand what you can do to automate and outsource things that don’t positively serve you.
- And L for liberation – apply those lessons to liberate yourself from your old life and embrace your new one.
It is an amazing book that ranges from time management, to entrepreneurship, to lifestyle design. I highly recommend it.
Author: David Allen
Brief Summary: As the title states, learn how to get things done more effectively and enhance your productivity like never before in this time management book.
Recognize how to get things done the right way through the lessons that David Allen has been created in this book.
Author: Stephen R. Covey
Brief Summary: This book covers 7 major habits that the most effective people use to influence their lives. Lessons include how to:
- Be proactive
- Plan ahead
- Communicate with others
- Plus much, much more
I read this book back in my college days and found the lessons to be incredibly helpful. This is one of those great time management books for high school students, college students, or anyone new to the world of productivity, effectiveness, and time management.
Author: Walter Isaacson
Brief Summary: A time management pro in his own right, learn about the life of Benjamin Franklin in this fascinating biography. Find out where Franklin started and what he did along the way to become so successful.
Whether you’re into American history and biographies, or this is your first venture into both, this is a great biography to read.
Author: Greg McKeown
Brief Summary: Sometimes we confuse being busy for being productive, or get so lost in all the things we have to do that we forget what the right things are to do. Well, that ends now.
In this time management book, McKeown covers a systematic discipline for getting rid of what doesn’t matter so that you can focus on what does.
Ok, busted. Number 6 isn’t an actual book, it’s a course. But before you roll your eyes and scroll to number 7, consider this…
You came to this post because you are looking to do more with your time. So wouldn’t a step-by-step online course be able to do that just as well as (if not better than) any book?
I’d argue yes, every time.
So if you are truly looking to change your life for the better, check out my goal setting course.
Author: Charles Duhigg
Brief Summary: Habits rule everything that we do. From our morning routine to our afternoon activities, the habits that we unknowingly set for ourselves can make or break our ability to succeed.
Learn what habits secretly rule your life, and how to fix them, in this great time management book.
Author: Cal Newport
Brief Summary: What you get done each day is of incredible value. But in a distracted world, it is getting harder and harder to make the progress you need.
Enter Deep Work. In this time management book, the author first makes the argument of how important deep meaningful work is (compared to just answering email all day). In the second half, he then presents a training regime comprised of 4 rules that you can use to achieve deeper work in your own life.
Author: Michael Hyatt
Brief Summary: Serving as a combination of productivity and time management book, Hyatt has created a system that you can use to get more of the right stuff done.
Featuring strategies on reducing distractions, cutting out time wasters, and leveraging your time for highly effective productivity, this book will show you the 3 step system Hyatt recommends for getting more done in less time.
Author: Ryder Carroll
Brief Summary: Bullet Journaling (BuJo, for short) has become incredibly popular these days – especially when it comes to getting more done and being more organized.
With that in mind, the creator of the Bullet Journal system, Ryder Carroll, has created a book to guide you through the steps of understanding what BuJo is, how it will help improve your life, and how you can get started with a Bullet Journal of your very own.
If this is something you are interested in, I recommend first starting with our post on Bullet Journal ideas.
Or if you want to get a copy of the book right now, you can do so below.
Author: Atul Gawande
Brief Summary: The world is getting ever more complex. And with it, the work that we need to get done. In this book, Gawande makes the argument that checklists are more important now than ever.
Covering what a checklist can and can’t help you do, plus how they can change the world, this book is geared towards helping you make better use of your time and get more done.
Author: Brian Tracy
Brief Summary: Ending our list of time management books, this one is a favorite of many. In it, Tracy describes how you can better plan out and organize your day so that you can work on what matters most to you.
He covers 21 different ways that you can beat procrastination and spend more time on what you deem important.
Additional resources to use alongside time management books
When it comes to time management, there are a lot of free resources that you can use to your advantage. Take a look at some of the posts below and start applying the lessons to your life today:
- Time management tips
- Overcoming adversity
- How to be productive
- Time management strategies
- Productivity tools
- Bonus: personal development books
Time management books are a great tool to utilize when it comes to getting more out of your day. Use the books recommended above as a springboard.
Read through 1 book. If you find it interesting or helpful, follow that interest to another book, and another one after that. Soon you’ll have read a mountain of books and will have hopefully made equal progress on your journey to better time management.
A warning though – whenever you read a book, make sure to apply the lessons that you learned.
It is often so easy to skim through a book and just think that because you read it your life will automatically change. It doesn’t work that way.
Whatever you learn, you need to also apply.
So pick a book from above. Start reading, take notes, and when you finish it (or as you’re reading it), start applying those lessons to your life.
You’re on the right path so get to it!