This post was originally published on 5/9/2019. It has been updated as of 2/19/2023.
There was a time when I didn’t know that “Christian productivity books” was its own category. Isn’t productivity universal?
Yes and no. As Christians, the “why” that governs our productivity is wholly different than what a secular mindset might teach. After reading the book I am about to review, I now see that. Among Christian productivity books, this one is outstanding in its actionable message, brevity and readability.
“Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity” by Tim Challies is a short, information-packed book that delivers exactly what the title promises. Books and tips for productivity flood the marketplace. This book has a more unique premise. It is about productivity for the Christian. It focuses not only on how to get more done, but how to order one’s life for productivity in a way that honors God.
There may be other “Christian productivity books,” but I can’t see needing multiples; this one is sufficient for the task. When I got this book upon its publishing in 2015, I was desperately in need of creating a system to be more organized in my personal life, after using all my organizational mojo at work and having none left for home.
The beauty of this book is that it teaches productivity that can and should be used for all areas of life, and systems that function well across home, professional and extra-curricular disciplines. I will first briefly touch on how “Do More Better” addresses purpose, planning, tools, implementation, and maintenance for productivity. Then I will provide a short testimonial about how this information has impacted my life for the better.
Before we can be productive, we ought to determine our life purpose. Not only that, but go through the mental exercise of aligning our life purpose with how we structure our productivity methods in light of all our responsibilities. I must start with the 10,000-foot view before I zoom into how to best use my Tuesday afternoon.
Since this book is geared towards Christians, Challies orients it toward the priorities that a Christian ought to hold. He defines productivity as, “effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, energy and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.”
I found this definition to be refreshing, yet novel, and a little convicting. Adopting that framework brought a whole new perspective. Making the good of others and the glory of God the primary focus of my productivity was a paradigm shift.
We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” True words indeed. In “Do More Better,” Challies lays out a simple structure for planning that leads to productivity.
Being productive and organized can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are tools available, many of which are free, that aid us in the process immensely. For those of us that are naturally random, creative types, these tools help us stay focused.
The book suggests three tools.
- Task management (e.g., Todoist)
- Scheduling (e.g., Google Calendar)
- Information gathering/storing (e.g., Evernote or OneNote)
Before reading “Do More Better,” I had never even heard of a task management app. Todoist has since revolutionized my life and organization. So much so that I wrote a post about it. I could go on and on about how helpful a tool this is to keep me organized with the never-ending to-dos.
Scheduling is a bit more straightforward. Most of us have a calendaring system that we use. Regardless, this book shares some insights on the topic that were new and helpful to me, and they might be to you as well.
The book also covers using an information storage system such as Evernote or OneNote. It is difficult to overstate how useful such a tool is for keeping notes organized. More on that shortly.
When taking in new, novel information, it always helps me to have examples of the processes being described to help me wrap my head around how I can apply it in my own life.
In “Do More Better,” Challies excels at introducing new ideas, explaining how they work in plain language, then providing real-life scenarios about how one might put this knowledge into practice. His suggestions are easy to implement. Just what I need.
It is painful to admit, but even the best systems we create need regular attention and maintenance or they will eventually descend into disrepair and stop functioning correctly. The same is true for organizational plans. Challies addresses this situation (which I would otherwise be prone to overlook or ignore) and offers a proactive solution to keep the system maintained.
I mentioned above that this book impacted my life for the better. It has done so by introducing me to new philosophies, methods, and tools that I may not have learned or implemented otherwise.
Todoist gave me back control over my unruly to-do list. It proved to be a superior system for me over hand-writing to-do lists, only to have to re-write them the next day. I won’t go into excruciating detail, but I will leave it with a glowing review, and heartily recommend you check it out if you like the idea of having an electronic to-do list.**
Using Evernote in the way Challies recommended brought an astounding amount of order to the way I store information. No more frantically searching email archives for recipes, or scouring search results for the link I was looking at previously. When I come across something that needs to be saved, recorded, or written down for later retrieval, I have a system in place through Evernote where I can easily find it.
Overall, the practical strategies and tactics Challies lays out for the reader in “Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity” helped me get more organized from the top down. I am grateful for this book, and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone (especially a Christian) who is looking to get more productive, for the glory of God.
If you have any questions on the topic covered here, I would love to try to answer them. To purchase the book, look here. To find out more about the author*, who is also my favorite blogger, look here.
** Since the original publishing of this post in 2019, I’ve bounced back and forth between using Todoist and a paper task list. I’ve also been dabbling with the Clear Habits Journal, by James Clear, which is a companion tool to his outstanding book, “Atomic Habits,” which I may write a post about once I finish it.
What are some things that help you stay organized?
Note: Tim Challies did not request or sponsor this post in any way. I am writing about it simply for the joy of sharing something that I found helpful.
(This post also contains affiliate links to some of the products mentioned.)
Leave a Reply