I probably didn’t need to add ‘busy’ to the title. We’re all busy, right?
Here’s the thing: the more I talk to (and read about) successful business owners, the more it seems clear that being successful relies on creating efficient systems that allow you to step away from your business and have downtime. Being busy isn’t the measure of success. Getting results is.
Whenever I talk to a business owner working 18 hour days who insists ‘that’s the only way to get everything done’, my first thought is, ‘something in that business’s systems needs fixing’. Of course, we all have busy seasons where we work intense hours to get a certain project or product launched. But epic work-hours shouldn’t be a badge of honor. More often than not, they’re a badge of inefficiency or failure to outsource workload effectively.
Some people bristle at the term ‘work-life balance’. No matter what you call it, creating calm in your life so that you have the energy to come up with creative and powerful ideas is essential for running a successful business. And it looks different for every person. Maybe it means turning your electronics off after 6pm. Maybe it means taking an annual getaway. Maybe it means being present for your children when they get home.
Here is a list of books that I hope will give you tools & techniques for working smarter and more efficiently. I have read each of these books and found them to be hugely inspirational (with the exception of Profit First, which has come so highly recommended by a multitude of friends that I snuck it on the list.) You can see my entire book list on Amazon, which I update regularly as I discover new books!
Learn to Do Better, More Efficient Work
- Getting Things Done: The Stress-Free Art of Productivity by David Allen
- Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships by Andrew Davis
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
For Moms Balancing Career & Family
- I know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam
- The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction by Samantha Ettus
Guides for Introverts and Managing Personality Types
- Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Roadmap to Getting Out There by Moira Aarons-Mele
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant
- The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles that Reveal How to Make Your Life Better by Gretchen Rubin
Taking Your Business to the Next Level
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
Creating Successful Habits for Yourself & Customers
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
- Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t and How to Make Any Change Stick by Jeremy Dean
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Warren Buffet, Elon Musk and numerous other successful CEOs dedicate hours a day to reading. You might say, ‘well, they’re wealthy. They can afford to do that.’ But I look at it differently. These are people who have countless demands on their time and millions of dollars riding on decisions they and their staff make. Yet, they carve out time for self-fulfillment. And I bet if you try, you can too.