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The Southern DNA

Book Review: Do More Better by Tim Challies

do-more-better

Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity

Tim Challies

Cruciform Press ($9.99)

 

In the fast paced world that we live in the stress to do more is always tugging for our attention. Between evaluation tools and metrics, we as a society are driven by accomplishments and the mindset that more is always better. In Do More Better: a practical guide to productivity author Tim Challies looks into what it looks like to be biblically productive.

From the title you may think that Challies is relegating his readers to a destructive work ethic where “more” is what is expected. But defining productivity as, “effectively stewarding …  gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.” Continuing, he quotes Psalm 127:12, saying all our works apart from God are in vain. Throughout the opening chapters he develops this twofold (Good for others, glorifies God) biblical foundation for productivity and continues to unpack vocational calling and seeking biblical productivity in the following chapters.

But doing more comes with some necessary cautions, first of which Challies addresses is the lore of busyness saying, “Busyness may make you feel good about yourself and give the illusion of getting things done, but it probably just means that you are directing too little attention in too many directions, that you are prioritizing all the wrong things, and that your productivity is suffering.” In the pursuit of doing more we unknowingly sacrifice quality on the altar of busy.

From there he addresses the need to inventory areas of responsibility. This aspect of productivity, Challies says, is essential. For one to see what is ahead, they must allow themselves time to assess and not merely adjust as things come. It is here that a great asset to this book be mentioned; since Challies sets out to not merely talk about productivity, but to help his readers be more productive, he provides introspective action steps at the end of each chapter. Whether how to inventory, or another aspect, he truly seeks to equip his readers to act and be productive by adding these questions and steps. To achieve this he says, “I want you to do more good. I want you to do more of what matters most, and I want you to do it better.”

In chapter three, Challies begins a section on practical steps to productivity. He goes further by laying out what it looks like to construct a personal mission statement. When you recognize your areas of gifting you will be more apt to accomplishing those tasks. Challies explains, “It is far better to dedicate lots of attention to those areas in which you are particularly talented or gifted than it is to dedicate minimal attention to the many areas you are not.” He then builds further with the importance of using tools that allow and propel productivity; things such as evernote, icalendar, todoist to name a few. Chapter six then discusses the collection of pertinent tasks. Progressing from the inventory of responsibilities, he goes one level deeper to address the specific task within each role; think of them as subcategories. Seven then builds off previous chapters and addresses the need to schedule accordingly. On the note of planning he says, “My experience confirms that if I fail to attack my week with theologically informed planning, my week attacks me with an onslaught of the urgent. And I end up devoting more time to the urgent than the important.” This doesn’t mean that everything you have to do will get done or even that it can get done, and to this end he says, “Only God gets his to-do list done each day.”

Conclusion

In Challies’ pursuit to equip his readers to achieve biblical productivity, Do More Better  clearly defines productivity and how to pursue it. With the resources at the reader’s’ fingertips  they need through the website, inventory sheets, and action steps Challies accomplishes his goal of equipping the reader to do more better, and to do what matters most, do good to others and glorify God. If put into action these steps have the potential to be very effective in the reader’s pursuit of productivity. Do More Better is a quick read (only 120 pages) which allows readers to do more better, while not having to read an extensive 900 page corpus on productivity. Pick it up, apply the tools, do more better.

The office of Human Resources is giving away a few copies of Do More Better click here to find out how you can register!

Bonus

Having purchased copies for his team, Matt Minier, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Southern Seminary says, “I’m always on the lookout for good practical advice about productivity. I’ve read a lot of different books over the years and found very few helpful. Typically, the recommended system is extremely complicated and takes a lot of effort to maintain.” Minier continued to say, “I found Challies system to be simple and accessible. He provides a few simple tools and gives helpful examples of how to deploy each tool.” In conclusion, Minier writes, “I’d recommend Do More Better because it’s simple and very practical. Challis system is designed to help individuals manage varied responsibilities while keeping their priorities straight.”