A groundbreaking study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Humboldt University in Germany discovered that people experience higher levels of stress and frustration when performing “interrupted tasks” – work disrupted by distractions such as an urgent phone call, instant message, or physical intrusion into one’s workspace.
Meanwhile, a Economist Intelligence Unit Analysis finds that distraction in the workplace costs nearly 600 man-hours per person per year, at an average annual cost of about $35,000.
Completely eliminating interruptions to your workday is not a realistic goal. But some surprisingly small tweaks to your workflow and mindset can significantly improve your productivity. Larger changes have more impact, although they can take months or years of effort to implement.
Each of the books on this list is an indispensable guide for entrepreneurs and business leaders frustrated by the status quo. Whether you’re dealing with emotional abuse at work or at home, struggling to manage different personalities effectively, or struggling to find meaning in your personal and professional life, these authors have some answers.
1. Richard Grannon — A cult of one
The signs of emotional abuse are difficult for trained psychologists to identify. For victims trapped in abusive relationships, it is often nearly impossible amid cycles of gaslighting, self-doubt, and guilt.
In A Cult of One: How to Deprogram Yourself From Narcissistic Abuse?, Richard Grannon shares deeply personal lessons from a four-decade journey immediately familiar to anyone who has experienced toxic narcissism in their own life. Grannon doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but his evidence-based methodology—which encompasses Zen meditation, psychedelics, martial arts, and spirituality—is broad enough to apply to your own personal journey, even if it doesn’t resemble Grannon’s.
You may not be a survivor of narcissistic abuse, but if you run a growing business, you will likely soon encounter it in the workplace or find yourself leading those who experience it in their own lives. For this reason, A cult of one deserves a place on your office bookshelf.
2. dr. Tomi White Bryan — Emotional Intelligence 3.0
Some distractions are temporary. Others are systemic and built into the fabric of our being.
It is this second type of distraction that Dr. Tomi White Bryan attacks in Emotional Intelligence 3.0: How to Stop Playing Small in a Really Big Universea guide to rediscovering the boundless creativity you had as a child and in young adulthood – before your parents or “society” or your own ambition began to crumble.
dr. Bryan’s journey of self-rediscovery begins with gratitude, recognition and thanks for the success you have already achieved. It goes through a reopening of your personal horizons and a reimagining of what is possible in your life. It ends with a blueprint – unique to you – for achieving your goals, no matter how much they’ve changed over the course of the book.
Crucially, the methodology of Dr. Bryan can be easily applied outside of your own life and work. You may not know the deepest secrets and wildest ambitions of every member of your team, but Dr. Bryan has been specially developed for managers who want to get more out of their direct reports.
If you’re distracted to the point of burnout by the pressures of conformity and consumerism, Dana Roefer’s Shop socially: connect with the people + products that support your best life is a must read.
Shop socially is not a radical text; Roefer doesn’t ask you to join a Buy Nothing group or knit your own sweaters. (Although you are free to do so if it brings you joy.) Roefer just wants us to change our approach to the world, act more deliberately and less reactively when deciding what products to buy, what brands we support, and how we propose us for.
Roefer’s secret: micro-communities of like-minded consumers and entrepreneurs, which she calls circles. These are not the buying groups or MLMs of yesteryear. They are expressions of a common purpose and shared values that endure in an accelerating race to the bottom. And your ‘social shop’ circle could be the linchpin that changes the way you view your responsibilities to your team, your customers and your social colleagues.
4. Joann Wortham — EDI is the new black
For far too long, C-suite employees have been hampered by implicit bias—the mother of all workplace distractions and a major drag on productivity.
Unlearning inequality is a challenging prospect, something that many organizations put off because it seems so overwhelming and they can’t see the fruits. But in EDI is the new black: leading the market with diverse teamsJoann Wortham states that it is no longer optional. The best time to embrace equality, diversity and inclusion was yesterday; the second best time is today; and tomorrow is not an option.
EDI is the new black is a simple playbook that doesn’t require a human resources certification degree to make sense and won’t try to teach you a huge new vocabulary. It’s a no-nonsense guide to repairing previously invisible wounds and strengthening your organization from within