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Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity Kindle Edition
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Tim Challies is hedging his bets in his new book, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity. He believes that lives will be changed if readers will invest a bit of time in his book.
Do More Better (DMB) is a fitting title as the author sets out to help readers lead more productive lives. But DMB should not be confused with the typical self-help books that saturate most book stores. It should not even be compared to some of the most popular books on the discipline of productivity. Works like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, What’s Best Next by Matthew Perman, or Getting Things Done by David Allen made their respective contributions in the field of productivity.
But DMB truly stands alone in a sea of books that promise productivity. The author argues that our lives must begin with a solid foundation. Ultimately, this foundation must rest on a commitment to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Glorifying God involves doing good works and making God look good. In typical Reformation fashion, the author reminds readers that good works are only possible because of Christ’s completed work on the cross.
So the author encourages readers to establish productivity on the solid rock of the gospel. Indeed, this is the highest form of productivity, namely, a life that “glorifies God by doing good to others.” This lofty aim is what sets DMB apart from other books on productivity.
Challies highlights several barriers to productivity, what he calls “productivity thieves.” Readers are encouraged to structure and organize their lives so they can do “maximum good for others,” which in turn brings maximum glory to God. The call to Christian character is a dominant theme here. The author argues, “No amount of organization and time management will compensate for lack of Christian character, not when it comes to this great calling of glory through good - bringing glory to God by doing good to others.”
Next, DMB urges readers to define their responsibilities and their roles. Responsibilities are general items such as personal, family, and church. Roles are more specific. For example, personal roles may include spiritual fitness, physical fitness, administration, etc.
Readers are then encouraged to write a purpose statement for each area of responsibility. Challies gives helpful examples to help assure success in this area.
Three tools are recommended for maximum productivity: a task management tool, scheduling tool, and information tool. Challies points readers to digital tools that will help and encourage personal productivity. Specific action steps are spelled out for each tool. Ultimately, readers are challenged to “live the system” that is presented in the book.
I have been reading about personal productivity for nearly twenty-five years. I have benefited from some of the works mentioned earlier. But once again, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity, by Tim Challies truly stands alone. Three features set this book apart. This work is God-centered, practical, and offers users immediate help that is sure to boost personal productivity. I commend this excellent work and trust that God will use it to encourage many people!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.
Challies is well suited to write a book on productivity. He's one of the most productive guys I know, and he's also a good writer. Still, I wondered if we needed another book on productivity, especially with other great books in print.
Challies begins Do More Better begins by laying a theological foundation for productivity. This is essential, he argues, because "productivity— true productivity— will never be better or stronger than the foundation you build it upon." He then offers a great definition of productivity: "effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God."
He then describes the three enemies of productivity: laziness, busyness, and external challenges ("thorns and thistles"). It's helpful to understand these, because "the absence of productivity or the presence of woefully diminished productivity is first a theological problem. It is a failure to understand or apply the truths God reveals in the Bible."
While it's important to understand the theology of productivity, we also need practical help. Challies delivers. He helps us define our responsibilities, state our mission, and use three essential tools for getting things done. He also tells us how to maintain the system and handle email. Where some books get bogged down, Do More Better keeps things simple and practical. He includes some tips I hadn't read before, and these alone made the book worthwhile.
Reading this book took well under an hour. The steps he offers are achievable, and shouldn't be overwhelming. I'm confident that implementing his system would significantly increase almost anyone's productivity.
Do More Better isn't the final word on productivity. I would add a few items — I love 90-day goals, for instance — and tweak a few others. Also, I still appreciate longer works like What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done, and I'm sure Challies does too.
Do More Better, though, is the shortest, clearest, and most practical guide to productivity I've read. I'll be implementing its advice, and I encourage you to read and apply it too.
I want to focus on the tools here, because in the month or so that I've read this book, I've tried to adopt them all. The first tool is a basic task manager. He recommends Todoist, and I've jumped on the bandwagon. It's very intuitive and I use it multiple times a day. The price of the book may be worth this chapter alone. Second tool is a calendar; he recommends Google, it's nice enough. I use a calendar for everything at work, but never tried to apply that idea elsewhere. It's been most helpful in keeping me aware of when I have time to do things and when I don't; which, in turn, helps my task management.
The final tool, I still haven't gotten a hold on. He calls it something to gather your information and recommends Evernote. I really like the web clipper extension, but haven't found much else that is helpful, yet.
He wraps it up by reminding us that for the system to work, you must live on the system and you must maintain it consistently.
I particularly like the lazy-busy excuse/productivity thieve; it hit close to home. There are many things I'd like to do (though I sometimes put it on God) and I wish I was more productive. After adopting the first two of his recommended tools, I've already noticed a difference. It sounds like a cheesy add, but not only am I getting more done, but I have more time. This book could be very helpful to anyone who needs a productivity boost.
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How and why we need to be organized in our life. Purpose always brings passion and he lays that purpose out clearly!
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