Which is the Best Book on Getting Organized at Work?

best book on getting organizedMany times while working with a client I’ll see that s/he has one or more books on being more organized and productive or improving time management. Having a book on the subject indicates an interest in kicking things up a notch in terms of productivity or organization skills.  But it doesn’t mean that book actually made a difference.

Which book is the one that will provide real, actionable ideas for the change you want?

If you were to search on “workplace productivity” on Amazon, you’d find 2,593 book choices.  Search on “organized at work,” 22,550 book choices.  And if you search on “time management ,” 92,416 book choices. Criminy.  How in the world do you pick?  And why are so many out there?

A particular book was written because the ideas worked for the author, and probably a good number of other people the author trained, coached or otherwise taught the methods.  Will those methods work for you?  Maybe.

For a good portion of book buyers one of the reasons the methods don’t work is that the book was never read.  I’m not casting stones here – I’ve done it myself. (For “research purposes” I once bought The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Overcoming Procrastination.  My sister saw it in my office and asked me what I thought of it.  Had to admit I hadn’t read it. Yet.)

Books on organization and time management are often like the treadmill bought in January. Well-intentioned but under- (or never) utilized.  Buying the book is way more fun than doing what’s in it. I get that.

But let’s say the book does get read, the suggestions implemented and yet the desired outcome is still elusive? The ideas were sound. The concepts should have worked for you.

Or should they have?

While there are thousands of ideas about how to approach organization, productivity, time management, etc.  There’s no single correct way or one single book will ever provide all the answers.

How about this test to determine whether a book is worth your time.  If you get one really solid, actionable idea, it’s time well-spent.  You can save yourself some money, too.  Books with one solid idea are helpful but maybe not ones you need to own. Use the library as much as possible.

Don’t be discouraged if you buy a book, read it, implement the ideas and still don’t meet with the success you wanted. Tweak the suggestions to work with your habits, preferences and environment, or ditch the idea altogether and try something else. Trial and error is part of the process.

Since I didn’t really share with you any books that I highly recommend, and that’s probably what you expected from this post, you may want to check out this post, 12 Books That Will Change You For the Better.  This time I give you titles. Promise.

If this provided some insight you can use, you may want to sign up for the Minute Shift. It’s a weekly tip that takes 60 seconds or less to read. Manage time and people better, little bits at a time.


  1. Renee Scherrer on April 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Mary!

    Getting Things Done, by David Allen. Hands down. 🙂 My review on my LinkedIn profile.

    Do you have a favorite’s list you’ve assembled?


  2. Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice) on April 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Renee,

    Great to see you on here!

    David Allen is an excellent resource, for sure.

    I don’t have a list because there are so many where I took away one good tip. Probably since I read so much on the subject. However, I can usually make recommendations based on a particular need or interest. But I may just create such a list. Could be fun!

  3. Marsia on April 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Mary – Another great article thank you. I have to agree David Allen’s Getting Things Done is probably the most helpful reference I have used. I also agree with you, I am not one to totally subscribe to any one method I like to pick and choose the pieces from different sources that work for me and if I get one good piece from a book or seminar I consider that a success. Marsia

  4. Mary Kutheis (kooth-ice) on April 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Well. You know what they say about “great minds” right?? Thanks for weighing in!

  5. Charfi on April 30, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Last year I was really gteting overwhelmed with too much work. I spent a significant amount of time in February exploring task management and project management tools and software. Since I work alone, I realized I need something to help manage tasks more than projects. I finally went with a Mac application called OmniFocus, which is based on the gteting things done’ method of task management. Although there are a few features missing that would make my life easier, overall it’s been a great tool for helping me keep track of dozens of projects and stay focused on priorities.