The Best Books to Read for Self Development

In the Vancouver GrantMe office, we usually have a few books laying around. These books aren’t decor or used as a paperweight. Rather, the philosophies of these books are what we use to work effectively every day. Self-development books are a great tool to expedite your productivity, so here are our picks for the best books to read for self development, specifically – time management!

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

Richard Koch’s principle essentially states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. This principle is contrasted to the way we usually work. We often estimate our result to be indicative of the amount of work we put in. However, 80% of your effort may not always translate to 80% of your result. This is why instead of working harder, you must work smarter.

When approached with a task, ask yourself – what 20% can I accomplish to complete an 80% result? This task must be specific, and important. If you’re a student applying to scholarships, think of your finance goal. If you want to win $20,000, focus your energy on the big ticket scholarships. This way, you will do less work, and win more money!

If you’d like help with applying to scholarships, developing your career, as well as implementing these tips via our monthly webinar, check out our website!

The 4% Fix by Karma Brown

The “4%” in “The 4% Fix” refers to one hour in a 24-hour day. When Karma Brown, the author of this book, felt like she didn’t have enough hours in a day for what she wanted to do (in her case, write a book), she started waking up an hour earlier and dedicated herself to doing just that. In having a completely distraction-free hour for her work, she was able to write an award-winning book! Brown’s ‘fix’ can be used for scholarship writing. If you find yourself without enough time to write scholarships amid your part-time job, and schoolwork, try out this time management hack!

For more tips on time management skills that will help you to avoid burnout, check out our video below!

The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan

Next time you are about to do a task, ask yourself – is this the ONE thing that will help me reach my goals? This question is exactly what Keller and Papasan engage with in this book! By focusing on ‘the one thing’, you effectively block out extra information and distractions that hinder you from accomplishing productive work. By focusing on more than one task, you can often find yourself busy, but unproductive. This is why Keller and Papasan emphasize productivity over busyness. When choosing ‘the one thing’, make sure your task is urgent, important, and critical to your goal! We use this at GrantMe within our own team, as well as a recommendation to students, so it’s definitely one of the best books to read for self development!

Deep Work by Cal Newport

In this book, Newport emphasizes distraction-free work. Deep work contrasts with shallow work, in which the task does not engage the individual cognitively. Deep work does. In order to do deep work, create a distraction-free space. Make sure no one is bothering you, and turn off your phone. By doing deep work, you can fully absorb your work cognitively as well as build skills as you are engaging with it!

If you’d like to access GrantMe’s scholarship matching service, in addition to essay editing services, mentorship and webinars, take our Scholarship Eligibility Quiz!

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