Part two is now posted, where we talk about:
- How to balance our competing roles in the modern age of knowledge work
- The importance of aligning lists with roles
- A process for reducing workload
- Spatial thinking as it relates to time estimates and priorities
- A realistic model of using plans
- The common but wrong disdain many Christians have towards hard work
- How we should and should not respond to someone who is having problems managing their time
- How workaholism and laziness both reflect idolatry
- The importance of rest in a biblical framework and how to practically incorporate rest into our lives
- A biblical call to mission statements and understanding our mission
- A fascinating, biblical approach to delegating out of love
- Some tips for delegating in the home and family
(You can also find part one here.)
I cracked up watching this interview between Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung regarding Kevin’s new book, Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem. It is truly hilarious!
I’ve been reading Crazy Busy off and on over the last month or so, and I’ve been really enjoying it. It’s very well done and fun to read. As always, Kevin does a great job combining biblical truth with a very accessible and engaging presentation. I commend the book to anyone who is dealing with being crazy busy (which is all of us!).
Apple has brought together a helpful collection of some of the best apps for getting things done:
What I use:
- Keeping track of notes/ideas: Evernote
- Capturing quick notes when Evernote feels too cumbersome: Apple Notes (native on the iPhone and iPad — super easy to use)
- Calendar: iCal (native on the iPhone and iPad)
- Action and project lists: OmniFocus or Things
- Action lists, as a helpful supplement: Reminders (native on the iPhone and iPad)
And worth taking a closer look at:
- Things (I used this for a time)
- Remember the Milk
- Do it (Tomorrow): Looks interesting
- Calvetica Calendar: Looks intriguing
- PlainText: Looks as simple as Apple’s Notes app, with the added benefit that you can actually organize things
- MindNode: For mindmapping. Currently I use MindJet MindManager
Having pens you actually like to use makes all of your work go better. And even though we do so much digitally now, there is still a place for pens because some notes are best captured by hand and, beyond that, there are all sorts of occasions throughout the day when we need to physically write.
One of my pet peeves is pens that are annoying to use. Some pens skip a lot, while other pens leak out too much ink. So a few years ago I bought a bunch of different kinds of pens and compared them to find a pen that I actually like to use.
Here’s what I recommend: Uni-ball Vision Elite Stick Micro Point Roller Ball Pens, 3 Black Ink Pens. (You can also get them in a 24-pack.)
If you have these, there is no need for any other pen. They are awesome.
For more on why pens matter, the single most important rule in choosing pens, and the qualities of a good pen, see my post on Recommended Pens.
A good post by Scott Belsky at the 99%. The five types he discusses are:
- Reactionary work
- Planning work
- Procedural work
- Insecurity work
- Problem-solving work
“Which one thing, if I accomplished it, would result in the greatest number of all these other things that I also want to do also getting done as a result?”
This is the converse of yesterday’s post, where I made the point that you have to be OK with not doing everything and instead focus on what’s best next.
Here’s the irony: When you focus on what’s most important, you often get all the other stuff “thrown in.” This happens by virtue of the spillover effect. Doing the most important thing leads to positive ramifications that often accomplish the aims behind all those other things you weren’t able to do.
I’m not saying you will literally find that all the things you decided to leave undone are accomplished. Some of them will be. But more significantly, the point behind them will often be accomplished through the spillover effect.
But if you try to do everything directly, you often end up accomplishing nothing. (Or, almost nothing.)
The point is to do what’s best next, not everything that’s next.
And the reason for this is the simple fact that there will always be more to do than you possibly can do. It is simply impossible to do everything.
And, if you know what’s best, if you know what’s most important and what really counts, you will be OK with that.
Here are some notes I jotted down when I was working on the chapter in my book on mission statements. They are brief and scattered, but here they are in the event that they are helpful to you.
In my chapter, I go against a major problem in most books on productivity. Most of them talk about having a “mission” or “purpose” to your life, but they say “that’s a very personal thing, something for you to decide for yourself.”
I think that’s wrong. Pretty bad, in fact. The reason is that since we didn’t create ourselves, we cannot define our own purpose. God himself defined the purpose of life. What we need to do is identify the purpose he has defined, say it in a way that captures the unique angle on that he has placed in our life, and align ourselves around it. Or, better, align ourselves not first around our “purpose,” but the gospel, with our purpose directing us but the gospel empowering and defining us.
Interestingly, the Bible talks about the purpose of life a lot. You even see mission statements all over the place, especially in Paul.
Here are my brief, rough, notes:
Criteria any Potential Purpose Must Fulfill
Must create happiness. Flourishing. So when the Bible talks of “blessedness,” we are in this domain.
It must create a happiness that is eternal, not fleeting. And happiness that is great, in itself invincible, and that can endure through immense trial and difficulty.
What the Purpose of Life Is
Making God look good. Making “good reports” about him abound. Making joy in him abound.
But not just anything does this. Mercy is at the heart of it. And justice. And, you must really do it for his glory. Micah 6:8; Isaiah 1:18; 58:1-13; Mt 5:16
What This Does
You can fulfill it each day, and yet never fully complete it. There is always more.
It drives your actions, gives purpose, and cannot be exhausted or wear out.
That’s why we need to go beyond the common practice of distinguishing the urgent from the important to distinguishing the imperative from the important.
Don’t just think in terms of urgent vs. important. Think in terms of imperative vs. important.