I just put a resource list together for my Goal Getting workshop and thought, this is a pretty valuable list, I should share it…
If you’re like me and saving time is everything, I got you with those quick click-through Amazon links:
If you’d like a bit more information about each of these titles, carry on for slightly more context on and notes from the 15 best books for goal setting and productivity-minded individuals.
The One Thing - Jay Papasan + Gary Keller
I’ve read this book more than any others on the list — at least three or four times — and whenever I am struggling to focus, it’s the one I come back to. The authors ask a valuable question, which apply in so many circumstances: “What is the one thing I can do such that everything else will become easier or unnecessary? This book taught me to learn how to say no so I can do fewer things, better. It taught me the importance of time blocking to get my most important work done, and how to use the domino effect to grow motivation and reach.
The Four Tendencies - Gretchen Ruben
To be honest, I breezed through this book because it felt fluffy and repetitive. BUT — the concept was eye-opening and useful for personal discovery. It answers the question, how do you respond to expectations, both internal and external. By understanding this, we “can make better decisions, meet deadlines, meet our promises to ourselves, suffer less stress, and engage more deeply with others.” If you’re short on time, I recommend heading over to https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/ to take the test + read about the different tendencies.
Measure What Matters - John Doerr
Hi, the author’s name is basically ‘doer’ and he wrote a book on productivity! I’m going to pay attention. People who record their goals and measure weekly progress are significantly more likely to achieve their goals. Besides the fact that this book feeds my nerdy craving for data and totally validates it, I love the push to set harder, higher goals. Those who set higher goals may not reach them as often, but studies show subjects with stretch goals are more productive, motivated, and engaged. Want harder goals? Ask harder questions.
12 Week Year - Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
This is another one that I breezed through with a “yeah, yeah” mentality, but I really liked how the authors emphasized the importance of splitting goals up into smaller, more manageable chunks of time. It bothered me that they presented the 12 Week Year as a novel concept (hi, have you heard of quarters?!), but I appreciate the push to make bigger commitments in a shorter amount of time and to have the courage to measure your results.
Procrastinate on Purpose - Rory Vaden
One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from this book: “Work double time part time for free time full time.” This book is also full of reminders to say no to things that are not crucial, and figure out what else you can delegate. Being a strong leader and leveraging other people’s skills is a great way to get more done!
Take the Stairs - Rory Vaden
If you want to know what a person believes in, check their calendar and their checkbook. How they spend their time and their money is an accurate indicator of what they believe in. This is a quick read that encourages you to take the time to develop discipline and habits that will benefit you in the long run.
Smarter Faster Better - Charles Duhigg
Similar to most of the books on this list, Duhigg suggests setting stretch goals weekly with 3-4 results you want to create. He explains that our goals explain our mental models and we tell ourselves stories about what we expect to see and the good news is, we create our reality, so see the future play out the way you want it to. He lays out a pretty straightforward formula: set big goals, figure out what needs to happen first, determine obstacles and distractions and how you will overcome them, and take action.
The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg
The thing I love about this book is the relief that comes from knowing you don’t have to be disciplined at everything all the time. Learn to develop positive habits and within weeks and months you will eliminate extra emotional energy wasted on making decisions and negotiating with yourself about the same choices over and over again. “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” - F.M. Alexander
10X Principle - Grant Cardone
Ok, this book is intense. Especially the audiobook, which I listened to. I do not recommend this for anyone who isn’t ready to be called out for not taking big action. Of course, that’s why I liked it. Put bluntly, Cardone will tell you as long as you are alive you will either be accomplishing your own goals and dreams or you will be used as a resource to accomplish someone else's goals and dreams. Which one do you want? And are you willing to put in the work to dominate?
No BS Time Management for Entrepreneurs - Dan Kennedy
My biggest takeaway from this book is a sign that landed on my fridge — 1440 — the number of minutes we all have in a day. Similar to Tim Ferriss books, there are some really great “life hacks” in here for scheduling your days and weeks wisely, time blocking, and making tasks like emailing and meetings more efficient.
Deep Work - Cal Newport
This one changed the structure of my work day, and helped me develop more discipline for distractions. I know when I have important tasks that need to get done (typically creative efforts of life-blood tasks for my business), I have to do them first thing in the morning before I’ve opened my inbox or ventured out into the world, with headphones in and a clearly dedicated work space. Now that I understand deep work, I find it easier to get done, and quite energizing for the rest of my day!
Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less -and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined - Scott Sonenshein
The best ideas come from the people who have the most ideas. Be willing to write down (and eventually toss out) a lot of terrible ideas and plans. But somewhere in the pile will be the gems that can change your life.
GRIT - Angela Duckworth
I wish I had written this book as my autobiography. Duckworth outlines how extraordinary results come from ordinary people who exhibit passion and persistence. After outlining the importance of resilience, she teaches how to stay consistently motivated by combining small, low-level, daily goals with a larger vision.
The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod
Another huge game-changer for me. For about 18-months after reading this book, I followed Elrod’s formula for a morning routine and kicked mine off every morning at 5am. I have since adjusted my schedule but still incorporate the steps he suggests as part of my daily routine: meditate, affirmations, visualizations, exercise, read, journal/write.
How Will You Measure Your Life? - Clayton Christensen
Honestly, this one should be at the top of the list as I think it’s an excellent resource for figuring out the big picture of what you want from life. Christiansen helps us determine our priorities and balance professional life with all the other things that matter. At the end of the day, goal-setting, productivity, and success are great, but I consistently find that relationships and family are what make my life feel full of joy.