Review: Taming the To-Do List by Glynnis Whitwer

September 30, 2015 Christian, nonfiction 5

taming the to do listEver just wish the world would stop for a day so you could catch up? 

No matter how much we accomplish in a day, we nearly always feel a little guilt over what we didn’t do. But do we really have more to do than the women who came before us? Maybe not.

In Taming the To-Do List, Glynnis Whitwer exposes a seismic shift in society: from one in which most of us were proactive to one in which we carry the burden of having to respond–to every email, text, tweet, and message we receive. This creates a cycle where everyone else sets the priorities for our days rather than us directing our own lives. The result? We procrastinate, putting off the important stuff for later while we tend to the “urgent” stuff right now.

It’s time to take back your schedule! Ready to tame that to-do list? This book shows you how.

Confession: I’ve had most of September to read this book and write a review.  Yet, here I am at the last possible minute – 10:30 on September 30th – feverishly typing out my thoughts about a book on procrastination.

The irony does not escape me.

Procrastination is a voluntary delay of something we could do but choose not to. We’re experts at choosing alternatives for what we really need to do.

Clearly this is a book that I need to ingest and apply.  Perhaps you too?

Full of both scriptural and practical tips, Glynnis Whitwer approaches the issue of procrastination and our impossible to-do lists from the perspective of a fellow sojourner.  She is someone who knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by everything that isn’t getting done.  And it’s not just the mundane tasks that pile up incomplete thanks to our tendency to over-commit; sometimes (more often than not) we push aside the things that make our hearts sing.

How do we gain victory over our schedules? Glynnis first helps us understand why we fall into this pattern and points out several myths that we have believed about procrastination (I work better under pressure, anyone?).  She then gives us practical tips to do break the cycle, backed by scriptural application to reinforce how imperative this really is.

For example, she mentions that information overload creates serious problems for procrastinators. Since procrastination by its very definition implies seeking something else to do besides what needs to be done, the multiple streams and sources of information we face daily in our online world simply exacerbate our own tendencies. She proposes going on an information diet and gives suggestions like:

  • turn off push notifications
  • stop watching the news
  • read one book at a time
  • cancel magazine subscriptions
  • delete email subscriptions
  • schedule social media time – don’t turn to it merely out of boredom

Glynnis also discusses the importance of making a plan and how much it keeps us from wasting time. I really liked the Biblical support she gives for this concept – it made me think of plan-making in a new way.  For instance, we must balance Proverbs 21:5 – Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty (NLT) – with Proverbs 16:3 – Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans.  Her solution to this apparent dilemma? PRAY before you plan! Let God help you set the agenda 🙂

Bottom Line: A wonderfully practical and encouraging guide to find freedom from procrastination, Taming the To-Do List brims with truth, wisdom, and understanding. So much more than another book on time-management, it sets you free and also gives you marching orders – doable marching orders – to make sure you really do choose your best work every day.  More importantly, when we’ve tamed our to-do list, we have time for God’s ideas for our day! Each chapter is full of great tips and truth from the Bible, and the exercise at the end of every chapter is a great tool to keep you on the right track.

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(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

glynnis whitwerAbout the Author:

Glynnis Whitwer is the Executive Director of Communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a regular contributor to Encouragement for Today, their email devotional. She is the also the author of several books. Glynnis, her husband, Tod, and their five young adult children live in Arizona.

Carrie

5 Responses to “Review: Taming the To-Do List by Glynnis Whitwer”

  1. David

    My wife comments: “It does sound a lot better than the average ‘time management’ book — none of those seem to offer me very much. I *do* pray and God does order my priorities. Her take on interruptions is very helpful. Just reading the book review made me feel better about some decisions not to do certain types of activities. Now I don’t have to feel guilty when I’m not doing things that everyone else is doing.”

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