Tools for Effectiveness

Below I list out resources that I have sought to leverage for optimal efficiency and effectiveness. We have amazing resources and also unprecedented distractions. Here are some things I have used to try to make the most of my time:

evernote Evernote

I have found Evernote very helpful. It allows you to create shelves, notebooks, and pages so that you can keep various lists and thoughts on any number of topics. It also allows you to tag everything. It has helped me be more organized and it has been very helpful because it is always with me and accessible. Actually, the first draft of this post was written on Evernote over the course of a few days. [free]

Advice: Use Evernote. And take the time to learn from the tutorials. It will be worth it to organize your notes and be able to find and track your thoughts. 

unnamed Pocket

I have found this app very helpful. You can save articles in Pocket, tag them for quick recall, and even share on social media. My favorite thing about this app is that it will read to me! I can now drive and “read” articles. [free]

Advice: Don’t spend all your time pocketing things, actually read stuff. Second, there’s no way to underline or make notes so screenshot the parts you want to capture and add them Evernote. 

UnknownBuffer

Buffer is a time saver in more ways than one. It allows you to post to multiple social media platforms at one time and it protects you from facing the social media vortex that tries to pull you in and suck your time away. [free]

Advice: Share your posts using Buffer and don’t obsessively check your social media accounts after you post. 

Wordpress WordPress

Using WordPress, or some other platform to get your content out there, is important because as Albert Mohler has said,

“If you are not present on the Internet, you simply do not exist, as far as anyone under 30 is concerned… The digital world is… one of the most important arenas of leadership our generation will ever experience… If you want to influence the future, brace yourself and get in the fast lane.”

Communication is very important, especially for leaders, so do it and seek more and more to do it well. [free]

Advice: Post your content (video, story, or essay) for example to Twitter and Facebook but don’t waste time monitoring the success of your post. Second, try using pictures to increase readership. Third, make your content as brief as possible and worth the readers time. However, don’t get stifled by perfection so that you are unable to post anything at all. 

Audible Audible 

Audible allows you to purchase a large number of books to listen to while you are on the go. I have had an Audible account for a number of years and have really enjoyed it and have found it a very valuable tool. [$]

Unknown christianaudio

christianaudio is very similar to Audible except it is specifically Christian. The really neat thing about christianaudio is that they give out a free audio book once a month. [$]

Advice: Listen to your books at the fastest speed possible. I have worked myself up to 3X speed. Second, use the “bookmark” option and then go back and type out the things that you want to retain. Google Books and Kindle can be especially helpful because you can search phrases and find the quotes that you want to file.

Briefing The Briefing

Podcasts provide a very helpful way to stay informed and learn more. I have found Albert Mohler’s podcast The Briefing especially helpful in keeping me up to date with news. However, there are many others that I have gleaned from as well. Here’s a sampling: Defenders Podcast (William Lane Craig), Reasonable Faith Podcast (William Lane Craig), Renewing Your Mind (R. C. Sproul), and Wayne Grudem teaches through systematic theology. If I’m teaching or preaching on something I’ll often be listening to a complementary podcasts while I drive, jog, or work on some mindless activity.

LibriVox is also a good resource to know about. It is a podcast that provides free audiobooks (in the public domain) that are read by volunteers. [free]

Advice: Listen to the podcast at the fastest speed possible (for my phone that is 2X).

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 12.36.33 AM Faith Comes By Hearing

Faith Comes By Hearing is a helpful podcast that provides various audio versions of the Old and New Testament without charge. [free]

Advice: Listen to whole books in one setting. However, do not let your listening replace Bible reading. They are both helpful so do both. Don’t let one replace the other. 

bible_memory_scripture_typerScripture Typer

Scripture Type is a very valuable app that helps substantially in the process of Scripture memorization. [$]

Advice: Set aside small chunks in your day to memorize Scripture. And instead of opening Facebook or Candy Crush, or whatever it is that you speed your waiting time doing, open this app instead and try to get the high score (your prize will be worth it!). 

dlDuolingo 

Duolingo is a great app that will help you learn a number of languages. I am personally using it (sadly only occasionally) to learn some Spanish. [free]
Advice: Use it. It’s actually fun and will help you. 

DDDaily Dose of Greek 

I have had various Koine Greek classes but without practice and keeping Greek before me it falls right out and all my investment of time is to no benefit. So, watching daily doses of Greek has been helpful. [free]

Advice: If you’re like me and have made the painful investment of acquiring some skill in Greek don’t lose it all. Watch the Daily Dose. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 12.43.01 AMGreek Cards

When I want to brush up on Koine Greek vocabulary it is nice to have it accessible and ready to go when I’m out and about. [$]

Advice: If you are learning Koine Greek use this app. However, don’t use it alone. Also write out the words and quiz yourself. I have found that the best approach is to use a few different methods of memory retention. 

ATracker ATracker 

ATracker is a helpful app to use when you want to track what you spend your time doing. For instance, we may think we are proficient with our time and rarely get distracted but if we use ATracker to track our time we can see areas that we can grow in. It is helpful to see where we spend the majority of our time since, as Peter F. Drucker said, “The process we call ‘accomplisment,’ this is time.” [$]

Advice: Don’t use this app all the time (it could become counterproductive) but use enough to checkin on yourself. 

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :) View all posts by Paul O'Brien

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