The best free* books to help you battle procrastination

Reading Time: 10 minutes

A couple of years ago, I posted an article about a bunch of ways writers can use to beat procrastination.

But maybe you want to go deeper on the topic. Here are eight books on Amazon with over a 100 positive reviews that are completely free to read — if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription — that have great reviews, and useful advice. I own and have read, and am trying to follow some of these books, and am still trying to get into the rest of the books on this list!

Just don’t do what I do and read anti-procrastination books as a way to procrastinate!

What is Kindle Unlimited?

If you’re a reader, you probably already know about Amazon’s $10-per-month unlimited reading plan, Kindle Unlimited.

If you don’t, go here and sign up. It’s like Netflix, but for ebooks. And there are more than a million books available in Kindle Unlimited, with authors getting paid for every page you read.

Amazon Prime also has an unlimited reading service, Prime Reading. It doesn’t cost any extra if you’re already an Amazon Prime member, but it only has about a thousand books. The list of Amazon Prime bestsellers is here. However, they change up the selection of books in the program all the time, so if you don’t want to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, definitely do check out Prime Reading — especially the Prime Reading science fiction and fantasy bestsellers.

The Mental Game of Writing by James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell is a regular on our Writing Advice of the Week lists and, in addition to The Mental Game of Writing: How to Overcome Obstacles, Stay Creative and Productive, and Free Your Mind for Success, there are a dozen other writing advice book in his Bell on Writing series. Check out his website here.

If you want a preview of the book, check out his article, Your Unique Writer Proposition, recently published on the Kill Zone blog. And he’s got a lot more free posts about the mental game of writing on that site. Check them out!

Bell says that readers have an overwhelming amount of content to choose from. “You as a writer need to give them a reason to choose you,” he says.

Now, that might seem a bit demotivating at first — why should anyone choose you? But what he’s getting at is to figure out why you’re writing, what makes your writing special, and to focus in on that. If you don’t think your writing is worth reading, if you don’t think you bring anything special to the world, then it makes sense that you’d be unmotivated and procrastinate. But if you can figure out what it is about yourself that makes you valuable and special — and we all have something! — then you’ve got a reason to get up in the morning and write.

Get the ebook here.

The Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod

The book The Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Writing Ritual That Increases Your Impact and Your Income is part of the Miracle Morning series.

The flagship book,  The Miracle Morning (Updated and Expanded Edition): The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) has over 33,000 positive reviews on Amazon.

This book is referenced a lot by productivity experts. I have a copy of the book, and have used a little bit of its advice.

The basic idea is that you spend a few minutes every morning to sit in silence, do affirmations, visualize your best self, exercise a little, read a little, and write in a journal.

I sometimes write my goals in my journal in the morning. The rest of it — well, not so much. But the overall idea is to point your mind in the right direction.

I didn’t realize that there was a version of this book specifically for writers until I started making this list, and I’ve just downloaded my copy now.

Get the ebook here.

How to Stop Procrastinating by Steve Scott

How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks and Breaking the Procrastination Habit helps you figure out what causes you to procrastinate, and offers daily practices to overcome the feelings of procrastination. The book has more than 200 positive ratings.

Promising review: “If you struggle with procrastination and you feel like you’re stuck like I was, the solution is in the Anti-Procrastination Habit system. I’ve started using it and I’ve already taken action on tasks I was putting off for years. I just needed a solid, straightforward system to help out and explain why I was feeling overwhelmed.”

Author Steve Scott has written dozens of books about productivity. Some of his other books to check out include Writing Habit Mastery – How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block, Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less, The Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Writing Ritual That Increases Your Impact and Your Income. and 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Overcome Your Procrastination. All have hundreds of positive ratings each and are in Kindle Unlimited.

Get the ebook here.

To-Do List Formula by Damon Zahariades

To-Do List Formula: A Stress-Free Guide To Creating To-Do Lists That Work! has nearly 1,400 positive reviews and claims to solve the problem of having to-do lists that always disappoint you because you don’t get anything on them done.

Promising review: “On paper, this would figure to be a pretty boring book. I mean, not many people are going to expect a book about to-do lists to be riveting reading. But Damon Zahariades is an exceptionally gifted writer. And he pulls it off nicely. Even for such a dry topic as to-do lists.”

Also check out other books by the same author, including The 30-Day Productivity Plan, The 30-Day Productivity Plan – VOLUME II, and The Procrastination Cure: 21 Proven Tactics For Conquering Your Inner Procrastinator, Mastering Your Time, And Boosting Your Productivity! All three have hundreds of positive reviews are are free with Kindle Unlimited.

Get the ebook here.

Think Straight by Darius Foroux

Think Straight: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by productivity blogger Darius Foroux has more than 12,000 positive reviews on Amazon.

The author also has another book on Amazon that’s focused specifically on procrastination, but that one isn’t in Kindle Unlimited — Do It Today: Overcome Procrastination, Improve Productivity, and Achieve More Meaningful Things.

Promising review: “It is a short and easy read that provides basic and practical advice on controlling one’s thinking to live a better life. A lot of the advice can be found elsewhere but there is a grounded authenticity in this book that makes it a more realistic read.”

Get the ebook here.

Stop Procrastinating by Nils Salzgeber

Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Hacking Laziness, Building Self Discipline, and Overcoming Procrastination” offers “more than 20 science-based strategies designed to help you overcome laziness, free yourself from excessive guilt, and get things done whether you feel like it or not” and offers help to program your unconscious mind for more positive results. The book has more than 200 positive ratings.

Promising review: “I waited a few days after reading the book to write this review to see how well the advice stuck. It’s been on point. I’ve kept up the implementation intentions and other techniques for about a week now, and they’re actually getting easier. If you’re looking for a brand-new theory or system, look elsewhere. But if you want proven techniques you can start immediately to stop putting things off, buy this book.”

Get the ebook here.

The Power of Discipline by Daniel Walter

The Power of Discipline: How to Use Self Control and Mental Toughness to Achieve Your Goals teaches you how to strengthen your self-discipline muscles, which is critical to implementing many anti-procrastination strategies. The author, Daniel Walter, has several other books related to procrastination, focus, and productivity.

Promising review: “Much of what is here is covered in other books but this takes all the most powerful points and packs them together in an easy to understand and implement reference… This book feels like a survival guide for discipline and changing habits, and I found this to be a fantastic little reference.”

Get the ebook here.

The Perfectionism Workbook by Taylor Newendorp

The Perfectionism Workbook: Proven Strategies to End Procrastination, Accept Yourself, and Achieve Your Goals explains that perfectionism can cause people to put unrealistic pressure on themselves and set impossible standards that negatively influence how they think and act. Author Taylor Newendorp is a clinical therapist and has worked with patients to address this and related problems. The workbook offers practical exercises that people can do on their own. It has more than 100 positive ratings.

Promising review: “I’m so bogged down in editing that I can’t write; can’t function; can’t think… And the next thing I know after that, I’ve started a new project, where I swear I won’t make the same mistakes. This one will be perfect. This one I won’t mess up—and then I do… This book was my answer.”

Get the ebook here.

Worth checking out from the library

Another option for finding free books, which I use all the time, is to check the local library. Most, if not all, libraries have a catalog online. And if they don’t have the book, they might be able to special order it for you.

Many libraries also offer free ebooks.

I’m in Massachusetts, and my local library system is part of Overdrive, which means I can find, download, and read books with the Libby app. It works on all devices.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

This book has over 27,000 positive reviews! I have a copy, but I also read Pressfield’s blog and subscribe to his free weekly advice newsletter. If you visit his website, he also has a free five-day mini-course about the principles and characteristics of the artist’s inner battle.

A lot of his advice is about the inner resistance we have to being creative — and that the resistance is sometimes the biggest right before we have our greatest creative breakthroughs. The advice is fantastic and highly motivating. I urge everyone to check it out. Oh, and he’s definitely a regular on our Writing Advice of the Week list.

I just checked, and my local library doesn’t offer the ebook version — but it does carry the print version. Check your local library — you might be in luck.

Or buy the ebook here for $9.99. (Price subject to change.)

Dear Writer, You Need to Quit by Becca Syme

Becca Syme is another regular on our Writing Advice of the Week list. She’s coached thousands of authors, and her point is that writers should quit doing stuff that doesn’t work, and focus on the stuff that does.

My personal take on this is to stop obsessing about stuff I’m not good at. Just stop worrying about it. If I’m not good at fight scenes — stop writing fight scenes. If I’m not good at descriptions — stop writing descriptions. Or pare them down. Since I’ve decided to stop obsessing about descriptions, I’ve discovered that some of my favorite authors don’t write descriptions!

Now, if I feel like adding in some description, I’ll do that. And if I feel like watching or reading some tutorials about descriptions, I’ll do that. But it’s optional. If I’m in the mood, I’ll do it, if not, I won’t. Not only will my writing be better because it won’t be full of bad descriptions, but also my frame of mind will be better because I’m not forcing myself to do stuff I don’t want to do.

This book is part of a series of half-a-dozen books about burnout, writer’s block, and other topics. I own more than one of these! If you can’t find the books at your library, you can also watch her free YouTube videos, listen to her podcast, or check out her blog posts. I first found out about her when she was interviewed on the Six Figure Authors show — which I also highly recommend!

Get the ebook here for $7.99. (Price subject to change.)

Feel-Good Productivity by Ali Abdaal

Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You is the most recent addition to my list — it came out in early 2024.

The author is a huge YouTube productivity guru, with over 5 million subscribers. Check out his channel here.

His main point, if you’re feeling frustrated with your work, is to ask yourself: “What would this look like if it was fun?”

I already have a copy of the book and have watched a ton of his videos. Have I taken his advice yet? I’m trying to do. When I get stuck on a piece of writing, I ask myself, “Do I want to write this? Or will I have more fun writing something else?” Now, if I’m on deadline, and I have to turn in an article, I don’t have this problem. I’ve got an editor waiting for me. and I just have to buckle down and do it. And I do. But if the writing is optional — say, I’m working on the next chapter of my book — then getting started is a lot harder for me. At that point, asking myself what I can do to make it fun is often the key to getting myself going. Sometimes, this means jumping ahead to another part of the book, or going back and playing with an earlier scene, or jumping gears and working on a totally different project, instead.

Get the ebook here for $14.99. (Price subject to change.)

Here are a couple of other motivational books with great reviews that you might check if your library has them.

MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and check out her latest videos on the Maria Korolov YouTube channel. Email her at [email protected]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.