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My Top 10 Favorite Books on Productivity & Time Management

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Looking for the best time management books? This is a list of my top 10 favorites!

Psst! Looking for more time management tips? Be sure to check out Make Over Your Mornings — my 14-day course designed to help you set up each day for success. I also wrote two books on time management — Say Goodbye to Survival Mode and 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life.

best time management books
Interested in the best time management and productivity books? These are my top 10 favorites!

Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy StaffordHands Free Mama time management book

As a Type A girl who struggles to slow down, this book really challenged, impacted, and motivated me. The subtitle resonated with me so me: “A guide to putting down the phone, burning the to do list, and letting go of perfection to grasp what really matters.”

If you need some encouragement to spend less time distracted by devices and busyness, I’d highly recommend this book.

The Fringe Hours productivity book

The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner

If you feel overwhelmed with life and can’t seem to find time to recharge your batteries, I wholeheartedly encourage you to get a copy of this book. I’ve long admired how Jessica manages to do so much, and yet still have time for things she loves — like hanging out with friends and family, scrapbooking, and blogging.

In The Fringe Hours, she unveils her secrets to success and gives you the tools, tips, and techniques you can use to find time in your full schedule to refresh yourself and refill your tank, too.

Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn AndrewsTell Your Time book

This short ebook’s wisdom has done more for my efficiency than any other book or time management product I’ve ever read or listened to. It’s well worth your time — and it works, provided you actually do what the ebook tells you to do.

The section of the book that especially was life-impacting to me was Amy’s encouragement in developing a time budget. This simple idea truly revolutionized my life!

Time Management Mama by Sarah Korhnak and Beth Anne SchwambergerTime Management Mama book

If you are a work-at-home mom or are considering becoming a work-at-home mom, this is a great book to read.

My favorite part? The actual scans of the authors’ real-life goal lists and to-do lists. It makes the book come alive and truly inspires you that the ideas they are suggesting are truly doable!



My Top 10 Favorite Time Management & Productivity BooksLeading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro

Even though Cordeiro is a pastor and much of what he shared was from the experience of leading a congregation, the principles are applicable to most anyone in a leadership position.

The author shares candidly about his own experiences with burn out and exhaustion — how the downward spiral happened, when he finally realized that he’d hit bottom, and the measures he took to recover and aim to prevent future burn out.

Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy StaffordHands Free Life time management book

This book was one of my Top 10 Reads for 2015, and it spoke to me at a deep, heart level. It challenged me to stop hurrying through life, quit worrying about what other people think, and start savoring the ordinary, everyday moments.

I smiled through parts, cried through other sections, and came away from the book with fresh resolve to make each day count — not in more efficient productivity but in more meaningful relationships with others.

Breaking Busy time management bookBreaking Busy by Alli Worthington

This was also one of my favorite top 10 reads of 2015.

It challenged me to analyze which activities I say “yes” to, make more time to rest and fill up my soul, and create a “stop doing” list for myself.



168 hours book168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

This book is based upon the premise that if we were to step back and look at our week as a whole, we have more time than we realize and we’re probably squandering more time than we think.

It gives real-life, practical examples for becoming a better manager of your time. It profiles a number of different individuals in different situations and shows how they are using their time well or specific ways they could improve their time usage.

The 5 AM Miracle bookThe 5 AM Miracle By Jeff Sanders

I will admit, I was quite a bit skeptical about the The 5 AM Miracle book. Because Jeff Sanders isn’t a mom with young kids, I wondered if his methods would be applicable to my life. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many helpful tips and insights in it.

If you want some encouragement to start your days well, definitely check out this book.

The Best Yes book

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

Over the past few years, I’ve been simplifying my life. Paring down and cutting out the non-essentials. Saying “no” to the mediocre or even the good in an effort to say “yes” to the best.

If you struggle with knowing how to “make wise decisions in the midst of endless demands”, The Best Yes would be a great read!



A few more time management books I currently want to read:

Have you read any of these? Which one would you recommend that I read first?

What are some of the best time management books you would add to my list? Tell me in the comments.

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  • Thanks for sharing these favorite reads of yours, Crystal!

    To add to your list, I recommend an additional book — Julie Morgenstern’s Time Management from the Inside Out. Julie’s a single mom with a daughter and her own successful business, so she gets it! 🙂 Her book is very comprehensive too — tackling the how-to of managing time while addressing practical and psychological reasons that readers might run into problems along the way.

  • Risha says:

    Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. The audio book for The Slight Edge is available for free.

    You always have such great book recommendations, Crystal! I love that you’re such an avid reader and share this part of your life. So many of the books on my to-read list have come from your recommendations. I haven’t read any of the books in your to-read stack but several of them are already on my list!

  • Melissa says:

    Spark Joy and the life changing magic of tidying up are and were life changers for me. With 4 kids it took me 10 days to completely declutter our house. I was sick at myself. I still struggle a bit but at least now I can manage. For the past two days I have been helping my mom sort go through her version of decluttering to get ready for a moving sale and wow she has a shopping and hiding problem (I think that’s why she had me help her I committed to no judgements) she could really benefit from these books and a counselor. All that wasted money for a moment of instant happiness that doesn’t last.

  • Janelle says:

    I read 10% Happier (I don’t think you’ll be impressed, personally. I thought it had some good stuff, but not enough to make me recommend a whole book), and Better than Before last year. Gretchen Rubin is AWESOME. I also read her book Happier at Home and thought both were brilliant. Based on what you’ve posted, I think you’re gonna love Better than Before. Great choices!

  • Jessica says:

    I LOVED Kaye wymas book, cleaning house. I think there are so many insights and answers in there far beyond what seems to be on the surface (esp. Regarding kids’ needs to feel necessary to a household because of their contributions).its for sure one of my top faves.

    Also– all the books are blue…that must mean something about the peace and calm the books bring. 😉

  • Wanda Polderman says:

    You must read “What’s Best Next: how the gospel transforms how you get things done” by Matthew Perman. Truly fantastic.

  • Cassi says:

    Looking forward to adding a few of these to my wish list. I’m always looking for more books to read and I’m currently on a quest to read a book a week in 2016!

  • This is a great list! I’ve read six of the ten & have another ready to go on my kindle. They’re all so inspiring and helpful!

    And on your to read list – I just heard about Teaching from Rest a few weeks ago and have been devouring Sarah Mackenzie’s book club videos & podcasts. So, so so incredible! I’ve been telling every homeschool mom I see about her & am hosting a Teaching From Rest book club at my house this summer ?

    Thanks for your great recommendations – so many of the books I read were recommended by you.

  • 168 Hours turned out to be life-changing for me. Because of it, I began writing in earnest as I realized that I did have time for my goals. I think I got that original recommendation for you, so thank you!

    Even though it isn’t directly a time management book, I would also recommend Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home. It has greatly impacted the way I view my home, household chores, and daily routines.

  • Florence says:

    This is an oldie but such a book of wisdom! Have you read John Maxwell’s Today Matters? So many people live either dwelling in the past or waiting for tomorrow but the truth is Today Matters! Can’t recommend it highly enough!

  • NICOLE says:

    Awesome list. I have read most, and have made a point of donating to my local women’s shelter library for reference materials. As for your want to reads, 10% Happier was awesome. And I also loved Kondo’s Spark and the Life Changing Magic journal that came out a few months back. Both great for Spring Cleaning. Also, I’m looking forward to Kondo’s app coming out this month, which will allow users to share after photos, get advice, etc. Thank you for an awesome list, Crystal!

  • amy says:

    21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine 🙂

  • Emily says:

    Do More Better is a new book out by Tim Challies. Great for perspective!

  • Julie says:

    This is a great post. I’ve only read The Best Yes and Year of Yes. Looks like I need to add some books to my library. Thabks for sharing these.

  • Amy says:

    DEFINITELY read Better than Before! It’s been so helpful to me to figure out her four tendencies framework not only in knowing myself better, but also my husband, family, friends and staff! She has so many practical ways to maintain good habits and break bad ones. Her podcast Happier that she does with her sister is amazing (once you get used to their voices ;-).

  • I don’t read as many self help books as I should…I really think I can benefit from them! Thank you for the list to get me going!! =)

  • Thank you for recommending 168 Hours! I really appreciate that. I just purchased Breaking Busy since I haven’t read that yet and I probably should.

  • Debi Z says:

    Have you read Getting Things Done? Do you do the GTD thing?

    • Deb says:

      Michael Hyatt is a more practical version of GTD – I just could not get to the place GTD was leading. Best Year Ever by Hyatt is a great read.

  • Kristine says:

    I’ve tried to read Better Than Before twice but just could not get into the writing style. She tries to write form a down to earth perspective but there is way too much stuff I wasn’t retaining and I felt like I couldn’t focus on it. I tried a second time because I really wanted to read it, but it just wasn’t for me at this time. I would love to know what you think.

  • Lauren D. says:

    Year of Yes was awesome! I CRIED when she realized that she needed to drop everything and say “yes” to her kids also!

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