Kendra Burrows

" transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (Romans 12:2)

Taming the To-Do List – A Book Review

Captain’s Log, Star Date 10/24/2015.

It’s been 54 days since I started reading 48 days since I finished, and 25 days since the deadline for this review.


I promised to review Glynnis Whitwer’s book, Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day. And I actually loved the book.

I loved Glynnis’ writing style. I loved her honesty. I loved her heart for God.

I loved that the book surprised me. Rather than give convenient tips for getting more done each day, it walked me through why I have so much trouble taming my to-do list, from procrastination and fear to common myths like, “I’m too busy” and “I work better under pressure.”

I loved the book. Not just liked it. I mean notes-and-insights-on-every-page loved it.

But I’ve resisted writing the review. {Note to author: When you wrote a book about procrastination, did you really think your readers would be capable of getting a review in on time?}

Why have I resisted?

Procrastination. Fear. Big mental hurdles to overcome. I liked the book too much and was afraid I wouldn’t do it justice. {Yeah, I know.}

But also, as much as I loved it, it didn’t answer my pivotal question: what should be on my to-do list?

Absolutely, Glynnis gives guidelines for figuring that out – and they are wonderful!

But in the end, I want someone to tell me, “These are the things you need to do to be a good wife.” “If you can get this done each week, your children will be healthy and happy and not need therapy.” – is that too much to ask? “Here are the things you need to juggle.”

And the all-important question: “what’s the most important thing I need to do today?” Yes, someone tell me, please. Please. Because really there are twelve hundred important things to do today.

Prayer and time in God’s Word. Yep, that’s the most important thing. I’ll do that first.

But exercise. I need to be healthy and take care of the temple. Okay.

Dinner. I suppose I need to feed the children so they don’t starve. {Well, I have teens, so no danger of that. But it would be good if they ate something besides canned chili and ramen today.} That’s the most important thing.

Oh, but I have to teach tomorrow and prepare a lesson plan. Although that’s maybe not the most important thing for today, it will be the most urgent thing tomorrow, so I need to battle the procrastination thing.

And my husband. I should spend time with him. One afternoon of not touching base isn’t going to kill us. But too many of them in a row and we get distant and snarky with each other, so my marriage depends on it. Does that make spending time with my husband the one important thing?

Or vacuuming the animal hair off the carpet and furniture? {Ugh. Don’t get me started!}

Or those student emails that are piling up?

Yes, I have too much to do. {Or not. Other people manage to have a job and a family and disgusting animals.} And yes, she addresses paring down your list by taking some responsibilities off your plate. But which ones?

What I need is not a book to help me make decisions but someone to tell me what to do.

But because that is not going to happen, Glynnis Whitwer’s book is the next best thing. It has helped settle me down so that I can start to tame my to-do list on my own.

I wish I could say that reading it instantly and miraculously cured my scheduling issues – but you already know how late I am with this review. Still, it gives sound guidance and Biblical perspective that I will refer to again and again. And, as I mentioned, I loved it.

Plus, I am getting better – honest! – it just doesn’t show up all the time. 😉

3 Replies

  1. Great review! Makes me want to read to find out for myself!

  2. I understand your dilemma. I finally wrote them all on slips of paper and pull one out of a box…problem solved!

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