Are you busier than ever? Does your home look like your head feels? Well, fear not. In the list below, we’ve collected the best books on organization and productivity for beginners, so that you can be more effective, healthier, and happier.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Most Popular Books on Organization
- Books on Organization and Time Management
- Books on Organization at Work
The key is learning to get out of our own way. Pick up one of these books and you’ll learn ways to strategize your goals so that you can actually enjoy life. You’ll also learn that when you create the right set of priorities and checklists, you can avoid conflict and fix messes without getting wound up in your emotions.
Most Popular Books on Organization
The human body is hardwired to love organization—even if we're not very good at it. That's also why so many books are out there trying to help people get back on the tidy track. But how do you know which books work and which ones are just a bunch of verbal fluff?
Below you'll find the most popular books on organization—those that come with great reviews from up to thousands of people.
1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
Marie Kondō's approach tackles the clutter that can result from nostalgia. If you’re familiar with Shintoism, then you'll understand the respect Marie finds necessary to grant inanimate objects. In Shintoism, everything has a purpose.
Everything has an energy. So, if you are the kind of person who grips at the memories behind your belongings, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is for you. Otherwise, her method for getting rid of stuff may seem out of place in your life.
2. The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay
In The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide, you'll learn how to downsize and make your life simpler. Francine Jay's four steps are sometimes repetitive, but repetition helps you become mindful of the process.
Not only that but removing clutter from your life becomes a kind of philosophy. When you have less to clean, you have more time to yourself. When you consume less, you also take better care of the environment.
3. Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day by Cassandra Aarssen
Cassandra Aarssen tackles the solutions to your clutter, not the reasons for it. This means that although you might be the messiest person in the world, you can live like you aren't. Real Life Organizing is an excellent approach to fixing the mess enough so that you can move fluidly about your life.
You can be busy, but neat. It's a great approach to tackling the hassle without spending a lot of time doing so. You’ll only need 15 minutes a day.
4. The Complete Book of Home Organization: 200+ Tips and Projects by Toni Hammersley
If the clutter in your home is out of control, then you need to read The Complete Book of Home Organization. Over 15 months, you will visit and assess every corner, nook, and cranny of your home.
By the time you’re halfway into a new season, you'll have organized the 30 main spaces in your home. Plus, you'll be able to get on top of that weekly menu planning you've been meaning to put together.
5. The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management: Proven Strategies for Increased Productivity and Inner Peace by Hyrum W. Smith
The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management is part case study, part self-help. On the case study side, you may find you're not as dedicated or disciplined as the author, but you can pluck out some good, useful advice from his life experiences.
On the flip side, he lays down the necessary foundation from which to start. His main lesson is that if you can align your schedules to suit your values and goals, then you'll be much happier in life.
6. The Power of Focus: How to Hit Your Business, Personal, and Financial Targets with Absolute Certainty by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt
If you're not familiar with the process of visualizing goals, then The Power of Focus is the perfect starter book. There are three main takeaways that you'll learn from reading.
First, your success is inevitable—if you can get out of your own way. Second, bad habits can become good, profitable habits. And third, it is possible to achieve a happy work-life balance.
Canfield and company’s book is full of tips and strategies, as well as a healthy dose of encouragement for whatever stage of life you’re in.
7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Stephen R. Covey has written the most popular and influential reads on productivity habits. In this book, he lays down seven steps to get your life on track. The first of the seven steps is to let you know that you are in charge of your own life.
Within each step that follows, you'll be given a set of tasks to do so you can analyze what’s working and what's not in your life. Whether you are young or mature, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is an extremely effective way to organize and improve your situation.
8. Zen to Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System by Leo Babauta
Reading about every different productivity method would chew up some major time. So, Zen to Done (ZTD) has compiled the best parts of them in one book, including the Stephen Covey method. ZTD offers a quick, easy way to get your tasks done.
For instance, you might find some helpful information if you and your siblings are about to clean out an elderly parent's house. So, if you're crunched for time, and you need some immediate, useful advice, read this book.
9. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is better known as the Mindset Warrior. But Flow, a 303-page book, can be an intense read. So, if you don't have a lot of time, there is an optional summary version.
However, if you are looking for a book to give you some deep insight into the art of flow—the mindful presence in an activity (or life)—then opt for the full text. Either way, Csikszentmihalyi's work will help you achieve a more productive, better quality of life.
10. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Read The One Thing if you need help getting your goals in focus. Keller writes that distractions are everywhere, especially with technology so readily accessible. He says that you need to block time for yourself, set your goals, and then prioritize your life.
This sounds like an easy task, but many struggle to execute it. Keller will give you tips on how to make focus your mantra. That's the start. Then, you've got to figure out that one thing that makes you tick.
11. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
If your parents are about to move or downsize, then you and your siblings might find this book a practical read. In stressful times, checklists are going to help you with accuracy and error prevention. When those checklists come from the whole sibling team, less room exists for emotional decisions.
This can be enormously helpful because you’ve all had different life experiences. As a result, you’re all bound to see things differently, especially when it comes to the care of your parents. With The Checklist Manifesto as your aid, your different perspectives won’t get in the way of getting things done.
12. Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination, People-Pleasing, Self-Doubt, Over-Commitment, Broken Promises, and Chaos by Steve Chandler
Time Warrior will ask you to posit yourself into your life, rather than tell you how to manage your life. The chapters are short—just a few pages each, so you can read one (or three) even if you only have a few spare minutes each day.
The book isn't conclusive. Instead, it fills in the gap that some other books neglect: you. If Steve Chandler's approach speaks to you, there are some webinars and other online resources for you to find out more.
13. The One-Minute To-Do List: Quickly Get Your Chaos Under Control by Michael Linenberger
The One-Minute To-Do List is the perfect read if you find yourself on the cusp of a significant change in life.
Moving or downsizing is already hectic, so why add things that are going to demotivate you? You can tackle the enormous tasks in front of you with the right goals and the right mindset. If Linenberger's time management system works for you, then you will become more productive in a very short period.
14. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
One hurdle to Vanderkam's practice in 168 Hours is the gobs of money you'll need so that you can outsource the tasks you don't want to do. But you won't have to do your laundry, make dinner, or mow your lawn. Still, the concept of outsourcing has value.
As it turns out, setting time for things that matter the most allows you to have a happier life. Being retired and "busier than ever" doesn't have to mean that you’re also too busy to enjoy your own life.
15. The Mindset of Organization: Take Back Your House One Phase at a Time by Lisa K. Woodruff
The Mindset of Organization tackles organization based on your stage in life. It's reasonable that if you're in your 60s, you will have different priorities than someone who's in their 20s. Woodruff even gets a little cheeky about the books that are out there that help you find your joy or develop minimalism.
From her perspective, you can have the things that matter to you, and you can also be organized. Not all self-help books work for everyone, but it's a great read if you enjoy some humor with your organizing.
16. Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen Rubin
In contrast to some of the books mentioned above, this is a short 200-page read. But it's chock-full of strategies to get control of your home so you can have greater control elsewhere in your life.
Essentially, if your home is in order, so is your head. If you need some humor to go with your organization, then Outer Order, Inner Calm will also tickle your fancy.
Books on Organization and Time Management
Understanding time management skill sets are critical for a solid work-life balance. So, start with this list whether you're just learning or even if you need to unlearn some bad habits.
17. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Deep Work does offer some actionable steps to make your life more productive. You may walk away thinking about how effective you could have been all your life—yet grateful you've got a good baseline hereafter.
18. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
How many times have you had a list of a dozen things to do, but you didn't know where to start? McKeown's Essentialism tackles that issue to help you figure out the essential versus the unnecessary. Once you get there, you'll have more time for yourself and the things you love.
19. The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran
One of the downsides to The 12 Week Year is that there's more about the method itself than its implementation. That said, once you're ready to apply the technique to your home life, this might change how you approach every aspect of your work life, too.
20. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life by Dr. Jason Selk, Tom Bartow, and Matthew Rudy
What's your biggest priority? How do you maximize your time to best suit your needs? These are just a few of the questions that Organize Tomorrow Today will help you answer. Once you've dialed in the basics, then you can start applying the steps to each aspect of your life.
21. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck has a catchy title, but does it do what it purports? Yes, and especially if you've been spending way too much time thinking about other, unimportant things for way too long.
It’s interesting to note that Manson also derives much of his approach from various nihilists, Buddhists, Albert Camus, and the incomparable Charles Bukowski.
22. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
James Clear’s biggest takeaway in Atomic Habits is that small, daily accomplishments when accumulated over time, produce fundamental habits and positive results. Using this guide, you can help your brain hardwire those tasks as positive measures throughout your day and life.
While Clear won't do the job for you, he does provide actionable ways for you to do the work, triumphing on your own.
Books on Organization at Work
The books below aim to center you and help you find the focus needed to be successful and organized at work, from rearranging your space to aligning your brain and thinking.
23. The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson, MD
The New One Minute Manager doesn't consider the many nuances at work which positively enable coaching, mentorship, and robust but non-critical management skill sets.
But learning how to be a better time manager at work and home is a journey. And if that journey begins by narrowly focusing on the minute-by-minute but ultimately grows into its complex form later, then it works as a foundation from which to grow.
24. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina
If you're a seasoned professional, Brain Rules probably isn't for you. But for those of you who are near-novices, you'll find practical advice about getting your life in order—from a neurological perspective.
There are twelve sections, varying from survival to exercise and memory to exploration—each offering ways to make even incremental adjustments to perform better no matter where you are in your day.
25. Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondō and Scott Sonenshein
For fans of Marie Kondō's home decluttering and tidying self-help books, check out her latest book on at-work organization. She's got tips and tricks about meetings, papers, emails, and tasks—everything and anything that wants to pull you from positive productivity.
26. Project Management for The Unofficial Project Manager by Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood
Project Management for The Unofficial Project Manager is a good read for those of you who've worn the "little hat" of project management but never owned the title.
The authors don't offer many examples, which means that true beginners might find some difficulty in the read. However, those of you who've already begun to wade ankle-deep in the role will find some great hints and tips to make the following project flow more easily.
30. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge
Whether you're just beginning or looking back for ways to improve on your management skill set, The Fifth Discipline will offer you clarity of purpose and direction.
Senge writes that it isn't necessarily about the vision but about what it can accomplish—a life-changing look at why goals matter.
31. The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma
Inside Sharma's revelatory story about how he came to understand the benefits of the “5 AM Club,” you'll receive actionable tips and tricks to wake up, feel revitalized, and get going on your day with complete control and benefits.
Many successful people readily swear by these techniques. You may, too.
Strategies to Enjoy More of Life
Keeping things in constant need of cleaning or management does nothing but keep you busy, so why not find a way to fix the mess or let it go? With one of these books at your side, you should have your home under control in no time at all.