While I have been bad at keeping up with it, I finally finished Tim Challies’ book Do More Better, a wonderful book on personal and professional productivity and organization. When I say that I have been bad at keeping up with it, I began reading it in December of 2016, it’s nearing the end of August 2017…and I just finished the book. It’s barely over 100 pages long.
However, I have started it, and restarted reading it twice now in my quest to read the insurmountable number of pages (insert sarcastic comment about 100ish pages here).
On a serious note…outside of books directed towards ministry, namely the Bible, I have never read a book that made me want to go and do something. Do More Better has made me want to take action with my life when it comes to organization, something I am not the greatest at. If I don’t write things down (or now with Evernote, take pictures!), I probably won’t remember it. And if I do remember, the remembrance will occur after I needed to remember…
Challies, harnessing the power of technology, puts together his list of “3 Essential Tools” which are a task management tool, a scheduling tool, and an information tool. While I could wax and wane on the different options he puts forth, I won’t. For that, you need to read the book and try them yourselves. However, I will go over one tool in each category.
I am going to start with scheduling and his recommendation of using Google Calendars. I love the options of having different calendars with different colors. I have used this method for years, and it was quite a time saver when I was a Child Welfare Case Manager and I could quickly look at my calendar and know, by color, what was coming up next, whether it be court or a home visit, or something else. Using Google Calendars for organization and productivity is a no-brainer for me, really. Challies does mention using Apple Calendar as an option, a separate option, however, I use them in conjunction. I have a separate Gmail account in which I only use it for the Google Calendar, and then I load it into my macOS accounts, with only the calendar enabled, so I can use the native calendar app on my MacBook rather than using a web-based calendar. I’m too clumsy and would accidentally close the web page calendar too often. It’s a great combination.
Secondly, Challies preference on information tools is Evernote. There are several others, like OneNote put out by Microsoft, however, I find that too clumsy and too connected only to Microsoft. Evernote is nice. I’ve used it on and off for a while, mostly off, however, with recent changes (like forwarding emails to your Evernote account), I can see Evernote being a great central hub for information you collect, whether it be something you just want to show your spouse later or something you’ll need for a meeting or project. And, it’s easy to set up and there are tons of instructional videos for Evernote that you can use to learn from.
Lastly, I am going to talk about his task management tool. He recommends Todoist. I’ll be honest, outside of the reminders app on my iPhone that I use all the time with the help of Siri, I’ve never been one to use such an app. I’ve downloaded it on my iPhone and my MacBook, so, we’ll see how this goes. However, reading through Do More Better, I completely see why it would be a valuable tool and hopefully I’ll like it.
My biggest fear in delving into personal productivity and organization is the title of the last two chapters: Living the System and Maintain it Consistently. This will probably be the hardest part for me, as I am too often already spending too much time on my phone. But, I don’t know. We will see how this all goes and I hope that I have fun with it. Ultimately, I hope that if I can become more organized, and thus more productive in some areas of my life, that I can do it all to the glory of God!
So, regardless of what you do, whether it be full-time ministry or you’re a stay-at-home mom or anything in-between, Do More Better has great potential to help organize your life and increase your productivity, all with a focus on being a better steward of your time, talents, and treasures. All to the Glory of God!