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Earlier this week, I wrote about my morning routine. Most of my Winning Ritual has been built on principles that I’ve picked up reading some really great books on the subject of productivity. I include my top four here, but I would love to read yours.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

Laura Vanderkam, has written some really great books on the subject, but I find her first one, 168 Hours to be her best. It’s an in-depth look at how successful use the time they have to their advantage. We all love to complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day, but this brilliant book makes the point that if we use them, there are plenty of hours in a week.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

The overriding point of possibly the greatest productivity book ever written isn’t how to get more done, but how to control the stress most of us feel about our work. This book isn’t a book about productivity as much as it’s a blueprint for designing systems that will make our work more fulfilling. I have used Mr. Allen’s system for dealing with paper for years now and while there are some that think I don’t do anything because my desk is clean, I know I do more than I ever thought possible because I’ve eliminated unnecessary stress.

Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success

Rory Vaden wrote a book about discipline because having the best system only works if you have the discipline to actually use it. Maybe it’s the farm kid in me, but breaking my life down to seasons makes a lot of sense to me. There are times when hitting it hard is the most important thing a person can be doing. This book is about understanding what’s most important, when and having the discipline to attack it. To take the stairs, rather than waiting for the elevator, because as Mr. Vaden tells us, success is never owned, it’s only rented and rent’s due, every day.

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

I can credit this book with giving me the inspiration to take control of my health. 100 pounds ago, I didn’t have the ability to manage my energy and I know that my productivity suffered. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz not only tell us what to do but do a great job of explaining why we should do it. Using case studies of clients they’ve worked with, this book is a powerful call to use the best tools you have to bring your full engagement to your life.

I find myself referring back to these books constantly as resources to better organize myself and make use of the time I have available. They’ve been tremendously helpful to me as I set myself to win the day. What productivity books do you recommend?

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