I was recently promoted from Director of Ecommerce to Vice President of Operations, which has been very exciting for me. Along with that promotion though came 2 more departments with sophisticated tasks that I had no clue about. So you could say I’m busy! There’s a lot to learn and I’m still responsible for the various departments I was already heading up, so any down time I had left or time spent ineffectively needs to be flushed out if I want to still be able to see my son at the end of the day before he goes to bed. So with that in mind I thought I’d take an inventory of all the books I’ve read that have actually produced a lasting memory that cover time management. It’s funny because I used to read so many more of these time management books back before I even had a real concept of being busy. I can thank my younger self for having the foresight to build those habits! So without further ado, here are my top time management books.
Many people are turned off by this book for a variety of reason, but this is the book that introduced me to the idea of opening up huge chunks of your day. He covers everything from outsourcing work to how to handle coworkers that tend to want to chat too much. I love this book for a variety of reasons, but it’s probably had the biggest impact on me through helping me realize how strategic you can be with your time.
I honestly don’t know how business owners and executives that haven’t read this book function. This book makes it clear as day that if you don’t learn to standardize, systematize, and delegate, your business will surely perish. It then explains in simple terms how to go about doing it. This book got me my first management role as “Operations Systems Manager”, and both companies I’ve worked for since hired me to implement these principles among other things. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur you can apply these principles to your career. It’s going to be difficult to move up if you have to replace yourself. It’s much easier if you can automate, delegate and take on additional responsibilities with your newly freed up time.
I wrote about this book back in 2013 and a lot of the ideas have stuck with me. I don’t necessarily follow his routine, but I do tend to value my morning time over all else and try to use it to plan the day or do my best strategic thinking.
This book is a classic. There’s so much to takeaway from it. For starters I still keep that chart in my mind to determine if something is urgent important, urgent unimportant, not urgent important, and not urgent not important. Asking myself which quadrant the issue falls in still saves me from endless stress today, and I last read this book at least 4 years ago. Beginning with the end in mind is also another huge one. We’re all prone to over-complicating things and if we can just keep the purpose in mind we can cut out a lot of the BS. Finally sharpening the saw – continuously pushing for improvement and growth is key to not burning out or pigeonholing yourself.
I must admit I haven’t read this one yet. I did however hear tons about it from podcasts over the years. I actually recently bought it for my wife and will be reading it after her, but as I understand it the primary premise is to keep an organizational system outside of your mind that you can quickly and easily refer to. I have no way of remembering everything going on so I keep a detailed calendar and lots of notes. I’ve become and avid Evernote user and have developed my own “external brain” of sorts. I’m eager to read this though to see how it can be tweaked.
So as I’m writing all this I’m realizing I’m due for a re-read on most of these. What I’m really hoping to gain from this post though is some recommendations in the comments. Anybody have a great one I didn’t mention?