Going into this year, as I was thinking through my goals and the things I would like to do differently, I was hit with my need to be better organized. I tried to take some time and review my systems, or the places where I needed to establish systems of some kind, not just to do MORE or to be MORE efficient, but to do BETTER. Like many of you (I’m assuming) I find myself often not only with a to-do list that is overcrowded, but with many to-do lists that are overcrowded and spread out all over the place. I find that because all the information about all the obligations and responsibilities and all of the things is floating around in there somewhere, I spend more energy worrying that I’m forgetting something than I spend on taking care of the things I need to do. Not to mention I am a creative person, and I can’t tell you how many ideas or have thought out projects go in and out of my head before I can devote any real time to them.
All of this contributes to my putting Do More Better on my reading list for this year. I love how the book starts out with laying a groundwork theology of work. Why do we work? Why does our work matter? Why should we strive to steward our time better? It was a refreshing and helpful reminder that organization and having helpful systems put in place really does come back to a stewardship issue. We are commissioned to do good work, and anything that enables us to carry that out in a healthy and fruitful way is an opportunity for us to give glory and honor to our God.
Moving on from there, there were a couple of chapters I found particularly clarifying that addressed putting your personal mission to words and defining your personal responsibilities. Having these down on paper is so helpful in knowing how to prioritize your time and energy, what to say no to, and what new things to pursue.
Throughout the rest of the book, Challies walks us through his personal systems. He narrows it down to three tools: a task management tool, a scheduling tool, and an information tool. He shares personal recommendations for each of these (all accessible online) and walks you through how to set them up and get the most out of them. Everything is free and very simple to set up and get going. I had previously used some of these things but he shared in-depth about how to use them better, and how to set all three up so that they work together for you.
I found this book helpful in many ways but I probably wont be using the system he outlines fully. Some of it just is not practical for me, or I have found other ways to stay on top of those certain things. There are parts that I skimmed because it got really detailed and I wanted to get the general idea before I committed to following all the steps. The things that I didn’t find useful I believe are most due to the fact that I’m not in the place where I need to have such a structured system. However, as I am hoping to press into some new projects and new work opportunities in the near future, I can see how I may return and pick up the things laid out here. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities and tasks even if you don’t end up picking up and following the systems and tools for yourself because the chapters at the beginning and end are a good overview and encouragement towards doing more better.