Mastering Mindset: Books That Transform Your Approach to Productivity

In the last few years, productivity has become a big buzzword, yet it feels that the more we talk about it, the harder it is to bring it into our lives. There are so many distractions and obligations out there, and it’s easy to get lost somewhere in the middle of it all. Thankfully, we’re never alone in our struggles, and there are people out there who cracked the code and found ways to uplift and improve productivity practices.

Today, there are hundreds of books that discuss what it means to be productive and how to achieve it, but it can be very hard to decide which one works for you. The good news is that there are some options that stand out above the fray, so much so that they can be considered classics. If you’re looking for signs on the road that will help you transform your approach to productivity, here are some book recommendations that will allow you to do just that.

“Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear

It’s probably no surprise we’re starting with the “Atomic Habits.” This book is a celebrity in its own right, and the reason is simple – it’s onto something. In his short, to-the-point book, James Clear gives you an insight into the compound effect of small habit changes and how the established processes in our brains support them. He then goes on to provide a simple, no-ruffles guide on how to see and break habits that don’t serve you and form good ones on top of them. The philosophy behind the book is simple – become aware of your habits, prioritize small incremental improvements over time (instead of big, unsustainable changes), and be patient as you do so because it will, over time, lead to outstanding results. 

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey

Let’s stay in the realm of the classics for a bit longer, as “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is to this day one of the most influential books that deals with personal growth and professional productivity. If you’re looking for ways to transfigure your effectiveness across all fields of life, this book could be your yellow-brick road. Covey became legendary because he introduced seven habits that can bring forth our most productive and self-aware selves. He separated them into three sections – Independence, Interdependence, and Continual Improvement. What makes this book special is Covey’s approach to the topic – he realized that our ability to be productive is intertwined with our values, and if you affect the latter, the former will soar.

“Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life” by Nir Eyal

Here’s a book that can do a lot of good for the ADHD community, as it’s the go-to guide to reclaiming your attention and sharpening focus. We already mentioned how easy it is to get distracted by so many things constantly happening around us, and Eyal has become an expert in identifying and overcoming internal triggers that push you towards being distracted. This book is practical and will give you hands-on strategies to notice the patterns in which your attention slips and slides, how you can harness its immense power, and improve your productivity. Where we focus our attention, we focus our energy, and once we become aware of it, our views and behaviors start to shift.

“Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen

The title says it all. We don’t always realize that stress is the trigger that pushes us to procrastinate under the pretense that “once we relax, we’ll work better,” but what ends up happening is we become even more anxious. That’s why Allen developed a straightforward but well-thought-out method to guide us through managing our time, projects, and obligations without succumbing to stress as much. Actionable steps are the way to go and to get the most out of the things you’re working on, so tackle them one by one because effective multitasking is a myth. In his book, Allen reminds his readers to take a beat and clear their minds before moving on to the next task, which is famously called the GTD method. 

“Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown

The “busy mentality” has a propaganda-esque feel to it, and it serves more to mask the lack of productivity than to show that we’re actually getting things done. In his well-established book, McKeown challenges us to let go of the propaganda and follow the road of the Essentialist, one that protects their time and knows how to prioritize what truly matters. McKeown clearly identified how even the most dedicated of people can suffer from a lack of productivity if they become overcommitted. If you’ve ever experienced burnout or you feel like you’re being constantly pulled in different directions, this book can help you build up discipline to bring your focus to the essential tasks and take back control of work, personal life, and your energy.

And the list goes on…

This is by no means a conclusive list that can help you develop your productivity mindset, but it’s a good start. After all, having a long list full of suggestions and needing to choose from many good examples won’t prove to be productive as you may get stuck and give up the effort completely. These five books offer an introduction to what it means to be productive and how you can achieve it in a way that best serves your personal preferences. Happy reading!

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