Today I plan to finish “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. Its a challenging book that explains much of the work we do is “shallow” because it is constantly interrupted by other things.
Throughout the book he encourages readers to instead embrace “deep work” that involves long periods of intense concentration.
One of the most helpful tips he gives is to create “offline blocks” within your day. It’s obviously impossible to live without internet completely, but certain hours of the day can be set aside where you can disconnect from internet or data (3g, LTE)
While the idea of offline blocks is helpful for productivity, its absolutely essential for ministry
Personally I was convicted by much of Deep Work because it helped me realize just how much ministry (outreach, Bible club, discipleship, reading help) was distracted by the use of my smartphones data.
- My train of thought would be interrupted by the vibrating of the phone in my pocket
- Every moment of boredom was filled by checking twitter or facebook
- and I would continue back and forth communication through social-media, or WhatsApp
Worse that distraction, ministry while being reachable often means you’re not truly present. A few weeks ago I (shamefully) found myself having a back and forth conversation on facebook while visiting with an elderly shut-in.
So with the Lords help I began turning off the wifi capabilities of my phone during ministry time, and limiting data to WhatsApp or messages (in an emergency I can be contacted).
to be honest it was difficult not being able to check the phone during my morning walk handing out tracts (I’m used to doing it). But at the same time being “offline” will allow all of my attention to be focused on that moment.