I speak with Tim Challies, author and pastor, about his book Do More Better. Tim helpful frames productivity in a Christian worldview, and his little book is very helpful for church leaders who have to juggle a breadth of responsibilities and priorities.
Tim Challies defines productivity as
Productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.
As Christians, we should strive to be good stewards of our time and energy out of our love of God and love for others. A systematic approach to productivity is not an end to itself, but a outworking of the greatest commandment.
An understanding of productivity needs to begin with an understanding of the reason you exist. Productivity is not what will bring purpose to your life, but what will enable you to excel in living out your existing purpose.
Productivity and Personal Mission Statements
I talk with Tim about how he has found it helpful to write mission statements for the various areas of responsibility in his life: church, family, work, etc. These mission statements help him prioritize his time and focus on doing the right things. He’s written a brief “productivity worksheet” that you can use to help organize your responsibilities and missions.
Your primary pursuit in productivity is not doing more things, but doing more good. Generally speaking, you can do more good for others if you have fewer roles and projects than if you have more.
Tools for a productive life
In Do More Better, Tim talks about the three essential tools for his productivity workflow:
- Task management tool. A task management tool enables you to capture and organize your projects and tasks.
- Scheduling tool. A scheduling tool enables you to organize your time and notifies you of pending events and appointments.
- Information tool. An information tool enables you to collect, archive, and access information.
We discuss the value of those tools and why it’s worth paying money for good tools.
In 2017, nearly everyone is using email in all parts of their life. Many (if not most) churches use email for decision making among leadership leaders, for coordination of volunteers, for updating the congregation.
Tim’s book has a helpful appendix on taming your email. In this episode, we have a brief discussion of email. We review Tim’s 4 step workflow for handling new emails, and we talk about why email makes a bad todo list.
Consistency is Key
All of this will only be valuable if you apply it consistently. After listening to the interview, take some time to read carefully through Do More Better.