• John C. Richards, Jr.

3 Must-Read Books for a More Productive 2020

Updated: Apr 30


I love getting things done. Those of you who know me, know that I have a system for everything. Capturing notes and highlights for books. Retaining good illustrations for future sermons. Organizing projects and to-do lists. You name it, I’ve got a system for it.


I did not create any of my systems. They are a hybrid of a few different approaches I have read about from various people who are productivity gurus. They don’t just talk the talk either. They produce content at a breakneck pace but are very efficient at doing it. So I’ve gleaned some lessons from each of them to create my own hybrid system.

Those of you who know me, know that I have a system for everything.

3 Must-Read Books

I have people ask me all the time about productivity resources. If you’re looking for a more productive 2020, there are three books that you have to read to help you accomplish your goals.



1. Do More Better by Tim Challies


Tim Challies is a Christian blogger who has written every day on his website for at least a decade. His daily A La Carte (a curation of articles each day) is part of my morning read each day). He put together this book to discuss the theological foundation and practice application for productivity.


If you’re looking for the why behind productivity, the first part of his book does a good job laying that out. But if you’re trying to come up with a system to help you with your productivity in 2020, he gives you three essential tools that will help transform your 2020. Trust me, I use this system pretty extensively. They include task management, scheduling, and informational tools. The task management tips are worth the price of the book alone. Check it out before you close this year. You won’t regret it.


2. Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt


Michael Hyatt is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and is the “Yoda” of productivity clans around the globe.


As the title reveals, the book lays out a 5-step plan for achieving your goals in great detail. You may have all heard of SMART goals. Well, Hyatt adds a few other elements and calls his goal-setting plan SMARTER goals. I won’t give away the components, but his section on the seven boxes that great goals check will help you lay out your goals for 2020. He provides a sample goals template in the book that I still use to this day (he has a Full Focus Planner that incorporates it as well).


3. How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity by Matt Perman


Matt Perman is the director of marketing and communications at Made to Flourish, a pastors’ network for the common good. He answers the question that many of us ask during certain seasons of life. How do I get out of this productivity rut?


In the book, he outlines three ways we get stuck in our productivity and says that recapturing your productivity mojo requires getting important things done through obstacles.


He rehashes the popular concept of the quadrants of time management but helps the reader think about their tasks and goals through the lens of those quadrants (e.g. whether what you are doing is urgent but not important vs. urgent and important). I felt this section was very helpful for me because it helped me think through items that other people felt were “urgent” and “important” and put them in the right quadrant in my own life. Everybody has “emergencies,” but they aren’t always that pressing. Perman helps the reader filter through these requests to truly work on what’s important.


Do you want a more productive, focused 2020? If you haven’t, read these three books. You’ll thank me later.


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