“I don’t feel productive”. It’s one of the most common complaints I hear from leaders I coach. Thankfully, lots of fantastic content on productivity has been created in recent years. Among the best recent books on the topic of God-glorifying productivity includes:
Tim Challies excellent book, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity
Matt Perman’s brilliant, biblical contribution: What’s Best Next
Both books provide a biblical framework to think about productivity and practical tips to implement in your daily lives.
In addition to these helpful books, here are 3 productivity tools that I use daily.
Todist is a fantastic “list” tool, as it allows you to organize your to-do lists in a variety of ways. Challies recommends this website in his book and it is exceptional. Todoist allows you to create a host of “projects” and then create action items in those projects. I “load” all of my weekly tasks into Todoist on Sunday evenings after looking over my Google Calendar and I use this site/app throughout the day as I complete tasks in each project folder. Todoist helps keep the various tasks organized and is particularly helpful as my vocation as a pastor requires working across a range of projects every day.
For clipping, note-taking and resource gathering, I use Evernote. From my iPhone, Ipad or laptop I can collect information from a wide range of online sources and store that information in notebooks and stacks of notebooks. Again, Challies book spends quite a bit of time covering how to setup Evernote to work for you. The more information you store in Evernote the more helpful it becomes.
3. Pomodoro Timer
For everything from focused, mentally exhausting work to dedicated time spent mindlessly emptying email inboxes, I use Pomodoro timers regularly. The Pomodoro work technique works like this:
- Set Timer
- Work 25-30 min
- Timer Goes Off
- Take 5 Min Break
Once this “round” is over, the cycle starts over again. After 4 rounds, you take a longer break. This timer helps me stay focused on the task at hand while also providing periods of time to breathe, pray or relax for a few moments throughout my work day. Depending on the day, I assign pomodoro rounds to various Todoist projects and try to get done as much as I can. This allows me to intentionally “assign” my time throughout the day. I highly recommend this tool!
Ultimately, productivity is a means to “redeem the time” and bring glory to God. Hopefully, these tools will help you do just that.