If there’s one thing freelancers love, is spending time we should be working looking at productivity hacks.

But the good news is, in some cases, that time is actually justified.

Here are some of my favourite books about productivity. These books contain proven knowledge and systems, which can help you to do more with less.

So I won’t waste any more of your time – happy reading!

How to Take Smart Notes by Sonke Ahrens

Productivity books for freelancers: how to take smart notes

We all know that we probably should be taking notes about the content we consume and the ideas we have – but to be honest, it just sounds like a lot of effort…

Chances are that those notes will end up stuffed in a draw or lost in some note taking software never to be seen again.

But my point of view was completely changed when I read about Niklas Luhmann and the Zettelkasten Method that he popularised. 

Luhmann – a German sociologist and social science academic – is now considered one of the most important social theorists of the 20th century.

He had a remarkable ability to churn out new, high-quality work, publishing more than 70 books and 400 scholarly articles across his life.

How could one man be so prolific?

Well he credited it all to taking notes – but not any old notes. Smart notes.

If you want to know more about Luhmann’s amazing system, and how you can implement something similar to increase your own creative output, then How to take Smart notes is an unbeatable book to read.

It will convince you of the immense value of taking notes and it will help you to think about taking notes in a whole new way – by building a second brain for yourself.

You’ll see how a system can help you to squeeze every creative drop out of the content you consume, and how you can quickly start to build up your own ideas factory effortlessly.

Grab your copy here

Related: Why you’re doing reading wrong…

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Quote from the book Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done is legendary in the productivity and business world – but surprisingly few people really understand the system, or have dived deeper into it to explore how it can benefit them.

It’s based on fairly simple, timeless principles. So it may not be the most trendy thing around – but it’s still here because it works.

The reason I recommend this book to anybody who wants to live up to the potential that they have inside them, is simply because this method works – and it will impact you in every area of your life if you commit to it and implement it.

You may want to tweak elements to suit your workalike, but the core principles in this book will teach you everything you need to know about using your time well to get things done.

I’ve written an in-depth review of the book, so if I need to persuade you more on why you need to read this book, then this link is for you.

If you are persuaded, then the link below is for you!

Grab your copy

Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey

Quote from the book Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey

As freelancers, we have to multi-task to some extent, but this book makes a great argument to the power of shutting out distractions and focussing on one task at a time to create our best work.

It also talks about the value of rest for creativity and problem solving too.

These days we’re constantly seeking out stimulation, which leaves less and less time for the mind to do what it is amazing at – processing problems in the background. When the mind is recharging it is able to create new connections and solve problems by itself.

A great book explaining the value of going deep on problems.

Grab your copy here

Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

quote from the book The Bullet Journal by Ryder Carroll

For those of you who prefer to stay organised using a good old pen and paper, then the Bullet Journal Method is a book for you.

Bullet journal is a unique combination of to-do list, post-it notes, planners, reminders, trackers, journals…all perfectly combined into one easy system.

In the book, Ryder explains the method and how to use it to create the bullet journal that will fit your needs. He also shares inspiring stories about how people around the world are using the bullet journal not only to organise their life, but to constantly keep improving it.

You’ve might have seen the many pretty bullet journal pages on Pinterest or Instagram – that might even put you off from giving the system a try. If that’s the case – just remember that Ryder, the creator of the method himself doesn’t have a nice handwriting, and his bujo looks nothing like that.

I you can draw and doodle and want to make it look nice, do that – it’s your system. But don’t worry if you have bad handwriting, and want to keep it minimal and basic either.

As long as it’s helping you organise your day, your work and your life, you’re doing it right.

Grab your copy here


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