“I believe this book can improve your life,” writes Tim Challies at the start of his new book Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity. Challies wants to help us get things done, to be more productive at what really matters.
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, 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.