There’s no doubt about it: productivity is crucial for a successful job search. With so many things to do (often on top of maintaining a current job), it’s important to stay on track and be as productive as possible. We want to take as many interviews as we can, complete every exercise thrown our way if it means getting to the next step, and don’t forget about those follow up notes!

Sometimes though, when we focus on getting a million things done and trying to constantly do more, we can actually become distracted instead. With endless to-do items, how can we effectively discern the difference between being busy and truly productive?

Here are four must-read books that any job seeker should read if interested in increasing productivity without getting distracted from the number one goal: to find a great new job.

  1. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

This book is for anyone who’s ever felt stretched too thin or that their time is constantly hijacked by the agendas of others. The way of the Essentialist, according to McKeown, isn’t about getting more done in less time, but rather, only getting the right things done, the things that really matter. He calls for a systematic discipline in discerning what is essential and jettisoning everything that is not. After reading, organizations may find themselves asking not how they can get the most out of each employee but rather, how can they enable each employee to make their highest contribution by doing less, in order to do more. Read the book.

  1. The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is The Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

A different approach to productivity, The Power of Full Engagement combines what Fast Company refers to as “..the gritty toughmindedness of the best coaches with the gentle-but-insistent inspiration of the most effective spiritual advisers”. We’re all rushed, we all face crushing workloads, and we’re all trying to cram all that we can into each day, but it’s not necessarily working. Time management isn’t working. There’s never enough time so it won’t matter if we try to manage it better. What Loehr and Schwartz propose is a shift in focus. They demonstrate that managing our energy, not our time, is the key to high performance and effective life balance. It’s a scientific approach and step-by-step program that will help you create highly specific, positive energy management rituals to make lasting changes to your life and increase your overall productivity. Read the book.

  1. Eat That Frog!: 21 Ways To Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in less Time by Brian Tracy

The idea is that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, that’s probably the worst thing you’ll have to do that day. Strange, sure, but think about it. If we can tackle the most important, most challenging tasks first, the ones we’re most likely to procrastinate on, we’ll make a far greater impact. The point is that there’s just no way to get everything done in life. Understanding what the most important tasks are, and organizing our time to ensure they’re done first, allows us to get more done faster and also be more effective. Decision, discipline, and determination, Tracy argues, are the core of what is vital to effective time management. Read the book.

  1. Getting Things Done: The Art the Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

One of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization, ‘GTD’ has spawned an entire culture of organizational and personal productivity tools. Allen believes it’s possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and yet still function productively with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control. He explains how we already have everything we need to achieve this high-performance state, we just need a system to implement it. This book is for anyone who’d like to live and work at elevated levels of effectiveness and efficiency, without losing their sanity. Read the book.

In a day and age where we are all busier than ever, how can you increase productivity without just being busy and falling behind on your to-do list? If you’re looking for a great way to simplify your job search, Rake can help. Download the app today to manage all of your job search activity in one spot. Say goodbye to unnecessary spreadsheets and other time-suckers!