The Leadership Bookshelf #2 – Finding Focus and Managing Time

This post is part of series focused on my favourite, and most recommended, leadership books.

I have always been an avid reader and a few years ago I made a commitment to regularly read leadership books as a way of continuing my own learning and development. While I have many books on my bookshelf, these are the ones that I most frequently reference in coaching sessions or workshops.

There are always great new leadership books coming out. I love to read and try to read at least one leadership book a month. If you have a recommendation for my reading list, please let me know.

Finding Focus and Managing Time

We all face competing priorities and limited time to do everything that we want. Over the past two years an increasingly number of leaders have been asking about techniques for prioritizing, finding focus, and managing their valuable time.

These are some of my favourite tools, resources, and techniques to help you spend time on your most important priorities.

18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done

By Peter Bregman

This book has a great, easy-to-implement strategy for managing time and focus during your busy work day. It outlines a simple approach you can use every day to ensure you are working on your most important priorities and spending time on the things that will contribute to your larger goals.

Productivity Planner

This is one of my favourite and most frequently used tools. The Productivity Planner provides many useful tips and techniques in the introduction—including the pomodoro method for focused work. Most importantly, it helps you prioritize important work over busy work so that you increase your ability to achieve your most important goals and dreams.

What I love most about the productivity planner is how it helps me identify the most important task for each day. It’s helped me avoid that sinking feeling at 5pm when you realize you haven’t gotten to the most important task of your day.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

by Daniel Pink

This is a fascinating book that pulls together diverse research into a number of tips to help you work smarter and live better. It explains how our energy peaks and wanes during the day and what times of the day are best for specific types of activities. Perhaps one of the most important sections of the book focuses on breaks and how taking breaks and pausing improves our ability to be at our best. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to find more flow in their day.

Time Blocking, Task Batching, and Day Theming

Many of my clients have found success with these approaches to controlling their schedule. While you may not be able take full control of your schedule – bosses and clients are still going to send your invites for any time of the day – there are several tips that can implement to better manage your time and find more focus. Personally, I have found time blocking to be very helpful for getting work done that requires focused attention and creative thinking.

Check out these other Leadership Bookshelf posts for additional recommendations:


Navigating Change and Uncertainty