Reading The Best Productivity Books Will Change Your Life

You’re looking for books on productivity because you might feel lazy. You look around your home and see a bunch of incomplete projects. Your to-do list at work keeps getting longer and longer. You feel like you aren’t progressing in your professional and personal lives. You aren’t where you wanted to be. So you are looking for a system that will make you productive. 

In this blog post, I will tell you the best book for productivity. I will also give you other books you can check out.

Table of Contents

My Criteria

When I chose these books on the list, I focused on easy to implement and well-explained systems. The majority of the books I looked at on productivity didn’t have transparent systems. They also did not have an easy-to-follow action plan. Many productivity books jump all over the place without giving the reader a clear path to follow. 

The books on my list detail a system that almost anyone can understand. They provide the reader with a clear path to follow. They also offer additional resources.

The Best Book – Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

The first book I recommend is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is the most beneficial book someone can read on productivity. Allen provides a detailed explanation of the Getting Things Done (GTD) Method. The system he presents in his book is easy to comprehend. He also gives the reader enough steps to put the GTD Method into practice. 

The GTD Method contains five steps. These steps are:

  1. Capture: collect what has your attention
  2. Clarify: process what it means
  3. Organize: put it where it belongs
  4. Reflect: review frequently
  5. Engage: simply do

If you want even more, Allen also offers extra resources on his website. On Allen’s website, you can purchase training or coaching, read his blog, and listen to his podcast. He also offers paid guides and webinars to help you better implement his system.

The GTD community is enormous. They offer a ton of additional sources, support, and ideas. If you search online for GTD, you will find solutions to problems, groups, and reviews.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen is an excellent starting point. It is a simple method you can easily incorporate into your life.

The Runners Up

Now that you know what the best productivity book is, I want to give you a list of books you can add to your reading list. These books offer different perspectives on how they can improve your productivity. They are worth a good read.

1. The ONE Thing

The One Thing, by Gary W Keller and Jay Papasan, explains how to focus on one goal at a time. Keller and Papasan teach you how to pick your One Thing and split it into smaller tasks. It focuses on helping you reach both your personal and professional goals.

The book does this by guiding you on:

  • time-blocking,
  • habit building,
  • and energy management.

Learning these skills allows you to complete your purpose. Your purpose is the most significant goal you want to achieve. The book also mentions other productivity methods, such as scheduling and prioritizing. 

The companion to the book is The One Thing Planner. The planner allows you to track your habits and time block. The One Thing Planner makes it easy to implement many of the principles mentioned in the book. The only issue I have with the planner is that it is dated. If you want to get the most out of the planner, you need to use it at the beginning of the year.

Additional resources for The One Thing book are available on the official website. Other resources include paid training, webinars, templates, guides, and free courses. You will also get access to the official podcast and blog.

The book is excellent because it will help you develop life-long habits. These habits will encourage you to achieve your one thing.

2. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day

I also recommend Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. The reason why I recommend this book is because the system it explains is flexible. It has some of the same principles as Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. The difference is the book is not as rigid on the principles. It is ideal for someone who wants to build a customized productivity system. 

Knapp and Zeratsky divide their method into four simple steps. The steps entail:

  1. Highlight: start each day by choosing a priority
  2. Laser: be distractions to make time
  3. Energize: use the body to recharge the brain
  4. Reflect: Adjust and improve your system

Knapp and Zeratsky believe that a single productivity method won’t work for everyone. The book gives you the foundation to create a plan. It does this by giving you a long list of strategies and tactics to try.

The authors used their own experiences to develop the tactics and strategies in the book. Once you understand the book’s foundation, you can choose what tactics work for you.

If you want more from the book, you can discover articles, a bonus pack, and a course on the Make Time website. The authors have gone above and beyond by offering a productivity app, The Make Time app. The Make Time app is available on the App and the Google Play stores.

3. Zen to Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System

Leo Babauta’s book, Zen to Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System, simplifies the Getting Things Done method. The book perfect for someone who wants to learn the GTD system but is having a hard time apprehending it. 

Babauta addresses the five most common problems people have with the GTD method. These problems are:

  1. GTD is a series of habit changes
  2. GTD doesn’t focus enough on doing
  3. GTD is too unstructured for many people
  4. GTD tries to do too much
  5. GTD doesn’t focus enough on your goals

He solves these problems by breaking the GTD method into ten habits. These habits are:

  1. Collect
  2. Process
  3. Plan
  4. Do
  5. Simple system
  6. Organize
  7. Review
  8. Simplify
  9. Routine
  10. Find your passion

In Babauta’s system, you start with a single habit. After 30 days, you move onto the next one. As you progress through the list, you build a complete productivity system.

On his website, Babauta offers courses, masterminds, and blog posts. He doesn’t provide as many resources as the other authors on the list. Instead, what he gives is the ability to learn from his personal experiences.

4. The 12 Week Year

The 12 Week Year, by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington, teaches you how to complete goals quickly. Their system breaks down your yearly goals into 12-week increments. The book promises that you will get more done in 12 weeks than in one year.

The purpose of the book is to get you to switch from focusing on long-term goals to focus on short-term goals. The philosophy behind the 12-week method is that people can’t see that far into the future. Thus, long-term goals are harder to accomplish. 

The process to implement the 12-week plan in the book includes:

  1. Crystallize a compelling vision
  2. Develop your 12-week plan
  3. Set up processes and controls
  4. Keep score and continuously improve
  5. Regain control of your time
  6. Stay accountable and commit it
  7. Roll out your first 12 weeks + your 13th week

Repeat this system for each of your goals. 

To get started on your 12 week year, buy The 12 Week Year Field Guide and The 12 Week Year Planner. The 12 Week Year Field Guide is a workbook designed to help you implement your 12 week year. While The 12 Week Year Planner lets you plan out your 12 weeks. Order both if you want to get the most out of the book.

The author offers additional resources on The 12 Week Year official website. You will find courses, book bonuses, live events, coaching, and sample plans. The website also offers a free video overview of the system. The free overview is perfect if you are unsure about purchasing the book. It does not feature a blog or a podcast.


We went over five books with unique productivity systems. Check out these books and decide which book works for you. The best beginner book is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. I find the book to be the most straightforward. It gives the most information on a productivity method.

By Deborah

Deborah is the main content writer at Lazy Jack. She enjoys being a productivity master, being a cat mom, and making new discoveries.