Managing time is a hot topic, as none of us seem to have too much of it. There are thousands of books about time management, and many of them seem geared towards corporate business types. As a busy homeschooling/home business owner/mom of twelve, I consider myself a lifelong student of managing time and life. I’ve read a fair amount of books on topics such as time management, organization and productivity. There are a select few that I’ve read more than once. They’re not exactly bestsellers, but they contain some nuggets of wisdom. Here are a few of the best time management books you’ve never heard of:
Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management by Mark Forster – This little jewel is at the top of the list for a reason. Mr. Forster says “We have to train ourselves to put distance between ourselves and the thing that needs a quick response. We need a buffer so that we can impose some order.” Lots of food for thought.
Getting Things Done by David Allen – Okay, this one doesn’t technically count because it was a bestseller and you’ve heard of it. Consider it a bonus. This is a good book, although I don’t use his system. People have obsessed over his system to the point of not getting things done because they’re so busy buying the right ink pen. Nonetheless, there are enough useful insights to make it worth reading. Best gleanings: write things down and break projects into smaller parts.
Time Management From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern – Good for the encouragement to figure out where the trouble spots are and design ways to deal with them. Helpful questions to ask yourself, and charts if you like that sort of thing.
Done! by Don Aslett – Another favorite. I love Don Aslett. It seems that he thinks like me. His writing style can get a little distracting with his long lists, but he’s entertaining and there are gems throughout. I resonated with his philosophy that you need to be careful about assigning time slots to particular tasks. As the mother of a very large family, that has never worked well for me. I don’t know, maybe it’s my personality. At any rate, reading a Don Aslett book makes me want to get stuff done–now!
Conative Connection by Kathy Kolbe – This wasn’t exactly a life-changing book but I wanted something to represent the Kolbe Score. It’s an online personality assessment that measures how you naturally get work done when left to yourself. I discovered that I don’t like to be tied to a rigid schedule. I also found out that I’m not real strong on followup. These useful revelations have helped me understand myself and my working style, so I can give myself both grace and a kick in the pants.
Make It Happen in 10 Minutes a Day by Lorne Holden (Kindle book) – I happened upon this one by chance, and I’m glad I did. It’s an inexpensive quick read, chock full of encouraging examples of what you can accomplish in small time segments. I love this little book!
An important note: When reading books on time management–or anything else–take what you can use and throw out the rest. Don’t let any author or expert guilt you into using a system that doesn’t work for you. It might take a while to find a book or two that you really resonate with. Even then, you won’t agree with every single idea, and that’s okay. Don’t keep trying to cram yourself into someone else’s box. If something in your life isn’t working, by all means figure out new ways to deal with it. Just don’t be mean to yourself because you break some “rules” or just can’t get into a method that others rave about. You do you, and enjoy every minute of your life.
I read with a colored pencil in hand, to underline the ideas that seem most important to me. It helps when I skim back through a good book, to remind me of the jewels throughout.
The best piece of advice I can give you about time management is to pray! Ask God for wisdom. He gives it liberally and without rolling His eyes. You’ll be amazed at how He will provide resources and ideas that solve your problems.
Happy seeking–and reading!
Please share your favorite time management book!