If you’re looking for the top books that will help you solve your procrastination problem, this article is for you.
Below, you will first see the top-recommended books that will help you understand what procrastination is, why you procrastinate, and what you can do in order to stop. Then, you will see some other recommendations for other books about how to stop procrastinating and about procrastination in general. Finally, you will see recommendations for books that aren’t about procrastination specifically, but that deal with important related topics, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, willpower, and how to build good habits.
This list is comprehensive, since different people have different needs and different preferences. That’s why you’ll find a large range of recommendations here, including, for example, books that are more practical in nature, more academic, more humorous, and so on. Furthermore, the books are generally available in all relevant formats—including print, ebook, and audiobook—so you can read or listen to them in the way that works best for you.
Finally, before we get started, note that if you want to learn more about procrastination in general, there are two concise but comprehensive guides that you can read online for free on this site: why people procrastinate and how to stop procrastinating.
Top books about how to stop procrastinating
If you’re looking to read a book about how to stop procrastination, the most recommended option is generally: Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change. This book, which was written by eminent procrastination researcher Tim Pychyl, first explains why we procrastinate, and then explains how to overcome procrastination given the reasons why we do it in the first place.
Other top recommendations for procrastination books include the following:
- Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Hacking Laziness, Building Self Discipline, and Overcoming Procrastination. This is a relatively concise guide on the topic, that focuses on giving you actionable tips on how to stop procrastinating.
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. This is another relatively concise guide that focuses on giving you actionable tips on how to stop procrastinating.
Other good books about how to stop procrastinating
Below are some additional recommendations for good books that explain the psychology of procrastination and how to stop procrastinating:
- The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done. This book, written by Piers Steel, a prominent procrastination researcher, uses an equation-based model to clearly explain why you procrastinate and what you can do in order to stop.
- Still Procrastinating: The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done. This book, written by another prominent procrastination researcher, Joseph Ferrari, provides insights into why we procrastinate and what we can do to stop.
- The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play. This book, written by a licensed psychologist, outlines a system to help you learn how to get things done in a timely manner, while eliminating the stress and anxiety caused by them, so you can increase the amount of time you spend having fun without feeling guilty about it.
If, for some reason, none of the above options resonates with you, other books you should look at are the following:
- How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks
- Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now
- 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Get Results in Your Life
- The Procrastination Cure: 21 Proven Tactics For Conquering Your Inner Procrastinator, Mastering Your Time, And Boosting Your Productivity
Other books about procrastination
There are some interesting books that discuss the concept of procrastination through different perspectives, without focusing on how to overcome it.
As such, these books can be worthwhile if you’re just looking for entertaining and insightful reading material. However, if you’re a procrastinator looking to understand how to stop procrastinating, then these books are not for you, at least not until you’ve read the more practical material on the topic.
Recommended books in this category include:
- The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination. This book contains a collection of essays written by different scholars, that address questions such as “how can we analyze procrastination in a way that does justice to both its voluntary and its self-defeating dimensions?” and “what kind of practical failing is procrastination? Is it a form of weakness of will? Is it the product of fragmented agency? Is it a vice?”.
- The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing. This relatively light and humorous book was written by philosopher John Perry, who is noted for suggesting the concept of “structured procrastination”, which involves getting things done by procrastinating on something more important.
- Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination, from Leonardo and Darwin to You and Me. This book examines the phenomenon of procrastination through psychological and historical lenses, and focuses on how it affected various notable people throughout history. It offers a relatively sympathetic and positive view of procrastination, and suggests that it can help us figure out what matters to us.
Books about cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that aims to improve people’s mental health by helping them modify and eliminate negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. CBT can, for example, help people identify problematic triggers, deal with negative thought patterns, and face situations that they fear.
When it comes to overcoming procrastination, CBT can be beneficial both when it comes to dealing with procrastinatory behaviors directly, as well as when it comes to dealing with underlying issues that lead to procrastination, such as anxiety or depression. Accordingly, CBT-based interventions have been shown to help people deal with their procrastination.
In general, and particularly if the issues that you’re dealing with are severe, a CBT intervention based on a book won’t be sufficient compared to one led by a licensed professional, and you’re encouraged to seek help from a professional if you believe that you need it. Nevertheless, research has shown that even self-guided CBT can be beneficial when it comes to dealing with your procrastination, so it can be worthwhile to give it a try, even just as an initial step.
Accordingly, here are a few recommended CBT books that you can look at:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry. This book, written by a licensed psychologist with extensive CBT experience, aims to present you with a simplified approach to CBT, by focusing on the most essential aspects of it. It presents you with a small selection of important CBT strategies and principles in an accessible manner, so you can implement them easily and quickly.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies. This book, written by two CBT therapists, is meant to serve as an overview of CBT, that will help you understand how it works and how you can implement it to solve your own problems.
- The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution. This book, written by two professors and practitioners who are leading authorities on the topic of CBT, is a comprehensive source on the topic, and contains many guidelines, exercises, and worksheets that show you how to implement CBT one step at a time.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: 7 Ways to Freedom from Anxiety, Depression, and Intrusive Thoughts. This book is a concise and practical introduction to the topic of CBT, which contains tips on how to implement it. Unlike the other CBT books on the list, the author of this book is not a licensed professional in the field, though the book was nevertheless well-received by readers. Note that this book also has more of a spiritual and religious angle to it than the others, which some readers will like, while others will prefer to avoid.
If you’re not sure which one to pick, simply go with the first item on the list, which serves as an easy-to-handle introduction to the topic (“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry”).
Other recommended books
There are some notable books that don’t revolve around procrastination, but nevertheless discuss topics that are interesting and useful to procrastinators:
- The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It. Since procrastination is, at its core, a failure of our self-control mechanisms, this book, which is considered one of the most notable ones published on the topic, can be a valuable read for procrastinators. It is based on the author’s Stanford University course on the topic, and deals with issues such as why we run out of willpower, how we can train our willpower, and how your mindset toward your willpower affects your ability to exercise it.
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This book provides research-based insights into human motivation. In particular, it examines what it suggests are the three key elements of motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and explains how we can use our understanding of them to motivate ourself to get things done using a variety of techniques.
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. This book explains the science and psychology behind the habits that we form. It can help you understand how to eliminate or modify bad habits, and how to form good ones, which can help you when it comes to overcoming your procrastination.
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. This book is one of the best-known books on personal productivity. The tips and techniques outlined in this book can be useful to procrastinators, by helping them manage their time and deal with tasks in a way that reduces the likelihood of procrastination. A common criticism of this book is that while the system that it presents is simple, the book itself is too long, so consider just looking for a summary of the GTD system online.
- The War of Art. This book discusses the roadblocks that we face when pursuing any sort of creative endeavor, and how we can overcome them. This book is quite polarizing; some people find it highly inspiring and helpful, while others criticize it for being too simplistic. As such, you can take a look at its description and decide if it looks like the kind of book that you would find enjoyable.
Note that these books are certainly worth checking out if you want to learn about procrastination and related topics from a new angle, but if your goal is primarily to learn how to stop procrastinating, then you should read these books only after reading something that is more focused on procrastination in particular. For recommendations on such books, take a look at the first two sections of this article.
Procrastination can be a tough problem to handle, so you want to make sure you have the right material guiding you.
In this article, you saw a large selection of books on the topic that can serve as guides when it comes to solving your procrastination problem.
If you’ve read through the entire list and you’re not sure where to start, then you’re overthinking it. Simply go to the ‘top books section at the top of the article, and pick the first one on the list (Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change).
That’s it now; the rest is up to you. Take action now, and remember that you don’t have to make a perfect decision—you just need to make sure that you’re taking a step in the right direction.