6 books on how to manage your time effectively during stressful times

By Diana Shi

Unsurprisingly, this period of working from home—and doing just about everything else from home too—has forced many of us to reevaluate our daily routines. How are we using our time? Are we using it for projects we care about, or are the days just slipping away from us?

Feeling overwhelmed by our schedules (or lack thereof) is understandable. Many of us are juggling extra parenting and caregiving responsibilities, and/or feeling burnt out by months of stress and isolation.

One way to prevent yourself from spiraling into stress, anxiety, and other happiness-depleting emotions is to think proactively about how you’re managing your time. Creating more boundaries and making an effort to plan out your schedule can help you feel more in control. When you’re just reacting to problems at work or home as they arise, you have less time for the things that make you feel energized.

To help you get back on track, check out these reads and find a time management strategy that works for you:

1.Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything,  BJ Fogg

In this book, Stanford behavioral scientist BJ Fogg discusses how to slowly but surely build better routines. His methods involve taking incremental steps that are simple to apply. This book is intended to help individuals looking to leave their destructive habits in the past and establish new, more productive ones. Fogg offers helpful visual models for readers to follow and plot their path forward.

2. Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, Nir Eyal

The author discusses the science behind what is happening when our attention and concentration flits away from us, just when we need it most. During those periods when we could benefit from deep focus, we fall victim to an onslaught of distractions. Eyal helps you gain control of your attention, so you can become “indistractable.”

3. The Lazy Genius Way, Kendra Adachi

This guide, based on the author’s popular podcast, is all about taking simple steps to achieving your larger goals. Adachi emphasizes putting your effort into small, incremental actions versus feeling obligated to check off larger projects. Her tips on improving your prioritization and focus (offered in the form of 13 principles) can freshen up a monotonous and uncertain year.

4. The Time Chunking Method: A 10-Step Action Plan For Increasing Your Productivity, Damon Zahariades

This book covers a range of productivity topics, including your sleep habits, diet, and the varying levels of stress in your life. With an emphasis on “increasing your daily output,”  Zahariades gets into the specifics of how to divide and portion out your time.

5. Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done, Laura Vanderkam

Fast Company contributor Laura Vanderkam is a blogger, speaker, and author. In Off the Clock, she shows readers how to get control of their schedule, especially when it comes to tackling unproductive and chore-like tasks that slowly push you into overworking. One of her tips? Track your time so you’re not left scratching your head about where it all went come bedtime.

6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg

Duhigg believes that it’s possible to change your habits if you commit to a routine of repetition, essentially rewiring your brain to develop a new—and gradually automatically executed—behavior. This easy read is a handy guide for managers and executives, with a couple of motivational anecdotes and success stories sprinkled throughout.


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