Book Break: Taming the To-Do List

How ironic that I have been procrastinating for weeks … oh wait, make that months … on writing my review of the book Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day by Glynnis Whitwer. As someone who always has several To-Do lists going, with some items continually moving to new lists rather than being marked off, I knew this book was for me. Although directed toward women (probably because of her connection to Proverbs 31 Ministries), the ideas Glynnis shares from a biblical perspective can be applicable to and applied by anyone.

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These days, we are all busy. It seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. And, if you’re like me, there are always some tasks that, for whatever reason, we keep avoiding by filling up our schedules with things that matter little (answering emails, scrolling through Pinterest) rather than those that would make a greater impact on our lives (scheduling appointments, writing a blog post). Glynnis notes, “My goal in dealing with procrastination isn’t to get more done. I want to get more of the right things done.”

The book starts out by describing procrastination as: “an intentional delay of something we could do but choose not to. Although it might include a shifting of priorities, its root cause is our resistance toward the task.” Glynnis says that once we identify the why, or the reasons for our delays, we can then strategize the how for dealing with them. Following are just a few reasons why some of us procrastinate:

  • We make choices against what we know is best to avoid physical or emotional discomfort.
  • We are bombarded by texts, emails, phone calls, private messages, and social media connections. Others often expect a prompt response, and so we drop everything to reply, which then derails our own projects and plans for the day.
  • When we are overwhelmed with too much to do and we are faced with the choice between an easy accomplishment that we can check off our list or a harder, more demanding task (that would require facing a weakness), we often take the easier route. So the hard stuff doesn’t get done.
  • Some of us are perfectionists. If we can’t do something perfectly, we tend to not want to do it at all. “Perfection is the enemy of learning and growing and enjoying areas of life where we haven’t achieved mastery.”

Whatever the reason, there is always a cost for each decision we make to choose one task or thing over another. Glynnis details the price we pay in the ways of character, calling, unmet potential, health, and relationships. But procrastination may also cost us in peace, disorder, hurry, and disobedience to God. She then goes on to share some suggestions for replacing bad habits with good as well as some guidance for strengthening willpower and becoming a wise time manager. (I can’t cover all of that information here, so you’ll just have to read the book yourself.)

At the beginning of the book, Glynnis suggests that readers identify two tasks or projects that they have been procrastinating on — one small task and one larger, personal goal. At the end of each chapter, she asks us to revisit these two items and write down some practical applications between them and what we just learned. While reading this book, I have to admit that I did not make as much progress as I had hoped in my larger, personal goal. I still have some of my own procrastination issues to work through for that. However, I am pleased to say that I did have success with the regular task that I had chosen to manage better. Perhaps Taming the To-Do List would be helpful to you as well.

 A couple excerpts from the book: 

“Always remember that procrastination doesn’t
define you. Your worth and value will never be found
in how quickly you complete a task or how many items
you check off your to-do list.”

“All procrastination is delay, but not all delay is procrastination. … Sometimes the right thing is to reschedule, reevaluate, or change our plans. Sometimes we have to abandon preset goals for a greater goal. Other times God has us do a 180-degree turn, and it would be disobedient to keep going the same direction. Sometimes God gives us a blessing, or allows a challenge, that requires us to postpone our plans. A wise woman listens and watches to see what God might be doing. And she adapts her plans to His when necessary.”

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Online Overview

No matter how hard women work or how much they accomplish in a day, there’s lingering anxiety and guilt over what they didn’t do. We just wish the world would stop for a day so we could catch up.

Glynnis Whitwer has identified what makes us feel so overburdened—and it’s probably not what you think. Taming the To-Do List exposes a seismic shift in our society: from one in which most of us were proactive toward one where we now carry the burden of having to respond—to every email, text, tweet, and message we receive. This major shift creates a cycle where everyone else sets the priorities for our days, rather than us designing our own lives.

Taming the To-Do List addresses this significant change in how we manage our time and the issue of procrastination from a woman’s point of view. It addresses the common household tasks many women put off, like doing housework and scheduling doctor’s appointments, and moves on to the larger, more life-impacting delays of dreams and goals. Combining practical, easy-to-apply advice with solid research and biblical truth, this book is a compassionate yet challenging message of hope for those struggling to choose their best work over busy work.

Glynnis Whitwer is on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries as the Executive Director of Communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She is the editor and one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 750,000 daily readers. Glynnis and her husband Tod have five young adult children live in Glendale, Arizona. Visit http://www.GlynnisWhitwer.com or http://www.Proverbs31.org to learn more.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Break: Buried Secrets

I read this book months ago, in fact, prior to its official release on April 7th, but you know how it goes … so much to do, so little time … I didn’t end up posting about it as early as I would have liked. Also, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I wanted to add a little more of my own content to my blog before I added another book break in. Having said all that, let me tell you about Irene Hannon’s Buried Secrets, the first in her Men of Valor series.

 From the Back Cover

They both wanted quieter, safer lives.

But crime never sleeps . . .

and killers keep killing.

After years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant is ready for the kinder, gentler life of a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes department resources. Enter ex-Navy SEAL Mac McGregor, the detective sent by the county to assist on the case. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales—and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

*************

The book starts out right in the middle of an intense scene, a moment in the past. We are witnesses to a crime that someone is very determined to hide. This is a great way to kick the book off. Because of this beginning, the mystery in this case isn’t so much “who did it?” (at least not for the reader) but “who did they do it to?” and since there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of evidence, “will they get caught?” Or probably more accurately, since we know it’s bound to happen, “how and when will they get caught?”

There’s a good amount of suspense throughout the book, a light bit of spiritual content, and then, of course, there’s the romance. When Police Chief Lisa Grant and County Detective Mac McGregor meet at a construction site, where a skeleton has been unearthed, their first encounter is not so great. But, as they begin working together to solve the case, not only do they make a dynamic team, but the attraction between them grows. The chemistry is evident as we get a glimpse into each character’s mind throughout the story. But both are committed to their work, and determined to put the case first and consider a personal relationship later. However, that darn attraction seems to keep getting in the way.

Meanwhile, the “villain” in the story is a very well-developed character — smart, determined, creative, cold-hearted, and extremely career focused — she thinks that everything should always go according to her plans. And she certainly has a knack for planning … devious planning, which is evident throughout the riveting story line where she does whatever is “necessary” to keep the truth from coming to light.

If you like a book with a blend of romance and mystery, Buried Secrets will not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, from its cool, embossed cover to the creative story within.

This is the second Irene Hannon book I have read, and I highly recommend this author to those who like a clean, clever, Christian-based book.

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women’s fiction novels, including the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist.

“The queen of inspirational romantic suspense” (Library Journal)
is at the top of her game with this riveting new series.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Buried Secrets from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group,
in exchange for my honest review.