Every trader, whether novice or professional, has dreams, aspirations and goals. To achieve your trading goals, you need to have a clear strategy. A savvy trader not only understands the importance of laying out a comprehensive trading strategy, but also recognizes that what they do on a day-to-day basis has a direct bearing on their future outcomes. Many traders already understand this, so they do their best to organize their time and calendar, write a to-do list, utilize boards or sticky notes and even install a CRM system to help them stay on top of events.
But, there is still more to be done, in most cases. Life—and trading—is about the continual push to learn and improve. And, regardless of where you are, professionally and emotionally, it’s always good to brush up on your productivity skills.
Consider your natural work cycles, energy levels, willpower, habits and the obstacles that keep you—or could keep you–from achieving your goals. A good productivity book can teach you vital skills that can, when consistently practiced, grow your overall productivity to new levels.
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This is our Top 10 Book List for Trading Productivity:
Title #1: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Amazon Price: Hardcover $17.85, Paperback $10.20
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a true productivity masterpiece, if there ever was one. Published in 1989, the book has sold more than 25 million copies, in more than 40 languages and has been embraced by Fortune 100 companies, business leaders and business owners. The book provides a clear methodology for life and work and talks about being proactive, visualizing the end goal, putting first things first, avoiding a scarcity mentality and embracing team work, as some of the seven habits of highly effective people. These are timeless principles that you can implement in your trading and personal life.
Title #2: Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-Free Productivity
Amazon Price: Hardcover $14.60, Paperback $10.11
This critically acclaimed productivity book, by management consultant and executive coach David Allen, is based on the simple premise that our productivity is directly related to our ability to relax. Mr. Allen has developed a customizable framework, that you can use to eliminate those free-floating to-dos and increase your overall productivity. The getting-things-done system taught here is quite complex and requires discipline and dedication to implement in your everyday life. The book is divided into three parts, with the first part talking extensively about how to gain control of your life through mastering the five stages of workflow, including collection, processing, organizing, reviewing and taking action.
Title #3: Think Like da Vinci: 7 Easy Steps to Boosting Your Everyday Genius
Amazon Price: Paperback $4.46, Kindle $9.10
This book is, in part, a historical commentary on the genius of da Vinci. But, it’s also infused throughout with valuable productivity lessons. The book offers interesting insights into what made daVinci the brilliant thinker that he was. And, it also features excellent productivity exercises, to boot, making it a good read for a wide range of audiences. The book challenges the reader to view their world differently, as a means to liberating their unique intelligence.
Title #4: Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life
Amazon Price: Paperback $16.95, Kindle $9.99
In this book, Mr. Meier presents a system that is designed around actually producing results, instead of the activities that lead up to producing. The book exhorts the reader to go ahead and start whatever they have planned to do, instead of waiting for a moment of inspiration. The system advocated here involves setting flexible boundaries, tasks, and goals, within the given time. You are encouraged to focus more on achieving a good balance on your outcomes, instead of the minutiae of the tasks themselves. Although the book can sometimes be repetitive, the system is simple, yet brilliant and workable.
Title #5: The Power of Story: Change your Story, Change your Destiny
Amazon Price: Paperback $9.28, Audio CD from $9.68
This book is lengthy, but simple and well written. Mr. Loehr takes a different approach from the average productivity book, by focusing on defining your mission and purpose in life. He says that we grow the aspects of our lives that we focus on, with energy and engagement, while choking off those we deprive of this fuel. The book gives you a simple methodology for creating life stories for different parts of your life. The author describes how telling ourselves stories provides structure and a sense of direction that we need, in order to navigate life’s opportunities and challenges.
Title #6: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
Amazon Price: Paperback $10.71, Kindle $10.17
This Neil Fiore classic is all about avoiding what is perhaps the biggest productivity killer–procrastination. Fiore provides a pretty comprehensive plan on how you can overcome procrastination, by adopting an upbeat tone and a positive attitude. The book points to a common fallacy that most people tend to have–that procrastination is a lazy man’s disease and that all that you need to do to overcome it is to simply force yourself to work harder. Instead, Neil Fiore uses his background as a psychologist to call out procrastination as a mechanism that people use to cope with the anxiety of starting and completing tasks. The book offers tools to help diagnose your procrastination problem and other tools to help you fix it for good and finally get the problem behind you.
Title # 7: Life Hacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better
Amazon Price: Paperback $10.38-$23.73, Kindle $15.99
The author begins by describing this book as a cross between a productivity system and a computer user manual. The book itself is chock-full of tips, hacks and tricks for getting things done faster and more efficiently. There is no philosophy here, just straight up tools to make your working life more streamlined. These include hacks, like how to get the most from your smartphone and computer and 100+ shortcuts that you can use to achieve everyday activities faster. The book has numerous links and references and it’s rather easy to get lost down the rabbit hole of suggestions. We suggest that you take the ones that work for you and disregard the rest. Despite the numerous suggestions, many people find the tips offered quite valuable.
Title # 8: Total Workday Control: Using Microsoft Outlook
Amazon Price: Paperback $14.99, Kindle $9.49
If you are an avid user of Microsoft’s popular productivity tool, Outlook, then this is the book for you. This book strictly focuses on how to get more done using Microsoft Outlook and assumes that you are already using core productivity skills taught in other books. It’s therefore best to use it together with other productivity books. Nevertheless, the book offers impressive advice about how to make the most of the technical aspects of Microsoft Outlook.
Title # 9: The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential… in Business and in Life
Amazon Price: Paperback from $6.16, Hardcover $13.82, Kindle $13.13
In this book, Babuata uses his usual Zen philosophy to admonish readers to focus more on loving what they do, rather than simply trying to get as much done as possible. The book is actually an extension of the author’s popular Zen blog, Zen Habits. The book has a brilliant take on productivity that is easily workable and emphasizes on streamlining your life, by removing the clutter and focusing on what’s necessary.
Title # 10: Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done
Amazon Price: Paperback $13.95, Kindle $7.55
This book is another David Allen masterpiece and a follow-up to Getting Things Done, but without the complexity of its predecessor. The book is a compilation of insights gleaned by the author from decades of coaching and consulting. It shows the reader how to increase their productivity by working smarter, not harder. Further, the book demonstrates how you can make things happen with a lot less stress, simply by using wit, inspiration and know-how.