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Best Books on Productivity for Christians

One of the most frequent questions I get is what productivity books I recommend for Christians. There are a lot of books on productivity out there. So, it can be a little daunting to know where to start. I’ve whittled my list of suggested titles down to just five.

Not all of these books are written by Christians (as far as I know the authors of Deep Work and Get Things Done do not claim Christ). It should not be assumed that I endorse everything in every book. Nevertheless, these five books have done the most to inform my thinking and practical application of productivity in my own life. And I pray that you too will find them helpful in your journey to becoming a better steward of your life before God.

Deep Work by Cal Newport

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This title is the most recent of all my suggestions. But it makes the cut because it addresses a particularly modern foe to productivity in a thoughtful and beneficial way.

Deep Work is a book about how to focus and accomplish truly important work in an age that seems to be conspiring to distract us from getting anything done. Though Newport does not approach the subject from a particularly Christian viewpoint, his assessment and suggestions are indeed useful for believers.

As in most secular productivity books, there are underlying worldview concerns in this book. So, make sure you keep your discern-o-goggles strapped on tightly as you read.

Do More Better by Tim Challies

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This is the book I find myself recommending more than any other. Written by Tim Challies, the author of the popular Christian blog Challies.com, this book addresses the subject of productivity from a distinctly Christian perspective. You’ll appreciate that the vision of work presented is founded in the Scriptures.

Do More Better really shines brightest with its practical step-by-step instructions. It will show you how to set up each of the systems you need to organize and manage your life. Even if this book didn’t come from such an astute theologian, the practical guide is better than any nonchristian productivity book I’ve ever read. If you read just one book off of this list, let it be Do More Better.

What’s Best Next by Matt Perman

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Another distinctly Christian book on productivity is What’s Best Next by Matt Perman. This is a volume that will have you thinking more deeply about your work, efficiency, and effectiveness in the light of Scripture.

My favorite aspect of this book is the original thinking on the subject. You can tell that the author has pondered productivity deeply and how it relates to being a Christian. This book is the fruit of that rumination.

I am confident that Perman’s work will help sharpen your theology of stewardship. And if you like this one, you’ll probably be interested in his second book on productivity, How to Get Unstuck.

Getting Things Done by David Allen

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Getting Things Done by David Allen is so foundational to the personal productivity genre that nearly every productivity system you encounter these days is simply building upon its fundamental principles. In fact, most to-do list apps you’ll find in the app store are made to facilitate Allen’s 5-step methodology. My task management app of choice, Omnifocus, is no exception.

My favorite part of this book is that it teaches a practical, light-weight methodology for managing your tasks. The principles in this book work whether you are using a fancy-schmancy software suite or a cheap notebook.

Any believer hoping to step up their personal output and stop letting commitments slip through the cracks would do well to learn the five steps presented in this book. Thankfully, this title is lighter on the philosophy than most secular productivity books. So, you don’t have to be as hyper-vigilant to sort through unbiblical dross as you do with most books in the genre.

Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders

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There are only a handful of books that I’ve read as many times as I’ve read Spiritual Leadership, and every time I’ve gotten through it again I’ve walked away refreshed and inspired.

For believers who are placed in any type of authority or leadership position, Sanders offers sound biblical principles you can put into action right away. Even those not aspiring to leadership will find a heartening summons to walk closer with our Lord and strive for sanctification.

Probably the biggest benefit of this book to me is that in seasons of frustration, it has been that it has served as a reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s a good pick-me-up that points you back to Christ.

Conclusion

Let’s hear from you. What are your top 5 productivity books?

Slave of Jesus Christ, husband, father, and Director of Digital Platforms at Grace to You. I also blog for The Master's Seminary.

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6 comments
  • A tiny book called “In the Name of Jesus” by Henri Nouwen. The big takeaway (from a book written well before social media was created) was to forsake the call to “relevance” as defined by the culture, and at times, the Church.

  • Despite the lack of a Christward focus, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People has been very helpful to me and would be on my list. The habits themselves, concepts like personal responsibility, the stimulus-response gap, P/PC balance, and defending the absent have been very influential to me.

  • Very interested in checking out those books from Tim Challies and Matt Perman; thanks for the recommendations!
    Also, “discern-o-goggles” — I might have to use that term in the future… 😉

  • Thanks for the recommendations! I haven’t read any productivity books from Christian authors yet–I just didn’t know they were out there–so I’m especially excited to check these out. One book not on your list that has helped me a lot is Cal Newport’s “Digital Minimalism.” To be fair, it isn’t so much a productivity guide as an argument for a highly intentional approach to digital media, but I’ve found that alone to be a great tool in pursuing diligence and excellence. I’d also love to recommend Ryder Carroll’s “The Bullet Journal Method,” but I can’t do so wholeheartedly. The “discern-o-goggles” have a lot of work to do in that book, and the content that is most helpful is available elsewhere. I’m also planning to read “The Three Big Questions for the Frantic Family” by Patrick Lencioni at some point, as (from what I’ve heard) it has some valuable insights for taking productivity from an individual to a family level.

Further reading

A New Podcast

I am pleased to announce that, in addition to the weekly blog, I will now also be producing a weekly podcast, The Redeeming Productivity Show. The goal of the podcast is to cover topics in a bit more depth, give access to content on Christian...

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