Top Ten || September

1) John Mark McMillan's Lightning Sessions via Timber Garner

John Mark McMillan is one of my favorite artists. I love his music, but what continues to keep me coming back for more is his way with words. In Lightning Sessions, he reimagines songs previously released into more acoustic and intimate compositions that pull you in and keep you thinking. From “Nothing Stands Between Us:”

Have I tried to scale Your walls in vain?
To cross Your seas, I pushed against Your waves
What for all the miles have You to say?
Were You there beside me this whole way?

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Everyone can’t stand pointless and useless meetings. They exist on a calendar and can feel directionless and without tangible next steps. Instead of complaining, why not take a shot at making them better? Seth Godin provides a valuable framework for what it looks like to run an effective meeting in this short article. One of my favorites? “The time allocated matches what's needed, not what the calendar app says.”

3) 50+ Resources For Students Who Want To Stay Productive from Doist

Doist went above and beyond to create a free list of incredible resources for productivity. It may say this list is for students, but I don’t buy it. We all are lifelong students, really, and there’s something in this list for everyone.

4) Sharing voicemails with Todoist

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Todoist is my task manager of choice. Doist is the company that makes it, and they’ve truly built (and are continuing to build) a simply remarkable product. One of the neat tricks I’ve found recently is the ability to share voicemails (or anything, really) from my iPhone with Todoist. Doing so creates a task with the voicemail file attached reminding me to call the person back.

5) Noisli via Tim Ferriss

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Noisli allows you the opportunity to create peaceful background sounds for a calming environment. You can mix individual contexts together to create different settings. Want to be transported to a coffee shop with a soothing fan on in the corner? No problem. Do you write best on a train while it’s raining? Noisli is relaxing and encourages focus on the task or thought at hand.

6) Focus Keeper

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The Pomodoro Technique is simple and effective.

Instead of working on a task and checking email, Facebook, or the news every few minutes—focus on a single task for 25 minutes and then take a planned five-minute break. It may sound almost too elementary, but when you try it—you’ll see it works. Complete several cycles of this and you’ll make greater progress on the projects important to you.

Focus Keeper is an app for iOS that provides a beautiful Pomodoro timer. I use it on my iPad and have it ticking away, especially while I’m doing a task I don’t want to do but know is important.

7) “Our Children’s Busyness Is Not A Badge of Honour (And Why We Need To Change It)” from Raised Good via Becoming Minimalist

If you have kids, you know how easy it can be to get them involved in every opportunity that presents itself. This article challenges the compulsion we have to put our children in something every night of the week and argues a better way forward may be to say no more often and implement barriers that ultimately create greater freedom.

8) The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande via Nick Wignall

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A book about checklists may not seem riveting at first glance, but this book is incredible. Instead of a specific manual on how to build the perfect sequence of action items on paper, Atul Gawande shows us why checklists are good at all. In a world filled with increasing complexity, one of the greatest skills we may be able to bring to our profession is the ability to manage the chaos. This isn’t just for our own good, but for the flourishing of society. Atul Gawande shows how checklists are saving lives in medicine, ensuring skyscrapers don’t fall down, and keeping pilots from making fatal mistakes. You’ll finish this book wanting to make a list for every area of your life. And maybe you should.

9) “Send One Scary Email This Weekend” from Lifehacker

I dare you to reach out to someone you want to talk to but feel nervous about it. Some of the practical tips in this article will make it easier.

10) The Controversial Jesus | Controversial Compassion” from Jon Tyson via Ryan Anderson

Jon Tyson pastors a church called Church of The City New York. Recently, the church did a series on the person of Jesus Christ and the controversial nature of His life and teaching. If you are someone who loves and follows Jesus, this sermon—and the entire series—will lead you to ask deeper questions about if you’re following all of what Jesus said and the lifestyle He embodied.