As January rolled around, making it a new year, I decided to go ahead and join Tim Challies’s 10 Days of Productivity, thinking it couldn’t hurt. In all honesty it was a promotion for his new book Do More Better. You didn’t have to buy the book to participate, but the Kindle version is only $5.99 and I’m glad I did. So, I spent the first 11 days reading this book about productivity (1o chapters + bonus chapters).
I absolutely loved this book and I am so glad that I participated in the 10 Days of Productivity. Challies’s definition of productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm, for the good of others and the glory of God. (location 185) OR Productivity calls you to direct your whole life at this great goal of bringing glory to God by doing good for others. (location 193) Boiled down, I’ve kept repeating to myself, “Doing good to others for the glory of God.”
As a stay-at-home-mom, this definition is extremely freeing! I have struggled with not feeling productive at home. My house is somewhere in between clean-freak perfect and looking like we should belong in an episode of Hoarders. I often tell people that I’m a type A personality stuck in a type B body. I like having everything just right, clean, organized, etc. but I can just never seem to pull it off. (For the record, I don’t know if a type B personality exists… but my statement makes sense to people. 🙂 ) So, sitting down and stacking blocks with Hannah is doing good to the glory of God. Doing a load of laundry is doing good to my family to the glory of God. Even when I take a nap I am doing good to… well pretty much anyone I come into contact with… for the glory of God. (Of course if we’re actually glorifying God depends on our heart attitudes, but you get the point.)
On Saturday, during Hannah’s nap time, Aaron and I were playing a new game with John and Lydia. Aaron made a comment about doing something productive once we finished the game and I was able to look at him and say, “Spending time with our kids is doing good to them for the glory of God. We are being productive.” See what I mean by freeing?! We, well at least I, I beat myself up over the 100 things that never get marked off my check list, but I forget about the 50 things I do each day that are doing good to others for the glory of God.
On top of Challies’s definition of productivity, he gets down to the nitty-gritty with practical tips to increase productivity. He suggests three tools: a task management system, a calendar, and a place for information. While I already understood my dependence on Google calendar (read: if it’s not in the calendar, then I will forget or double book), I was introduced to Todoist and Evernote. Both offer web and smart phone app versions.
I’m pretty sure that Todoist has changed my life. Every time I think of something that needs to get done, it’s typed into the app… and guess what?! It has or will get done, because it’s there reminding me. Also, after you have finished all of your tasks for the day the app gives you a big check mark and says, “Enjoy your evening.” Whoa… as someone who hates procrastinating, because I hate having things hanging over my head, this small, silly message set off the reward center in my brain in a huge way!
So, it’s 15 days into the new year. I’m working the program that Challies sets forth and I’m really enjoying it. I get more done each day, I spend more time with Hannah and I have a clear understanding of where my day and my week are headed. I highly recommend the book! Picking up a book on productivity wasn’t on the top of my list, but I really feel that this book was beneficial to me in a large way! So go buy it! 🙂