In recent weeks I’ve been working on my productivity. A combination of busy schedule, meetings, and recurring stomach issues meant I often didn’t get a lot done by the end of the day.
one of the most interesting things I discovered while doing this is applications or software don’t really make you more productive. Of course there is a place for things like this (like making a note on a list so you don’t forget it) but at the end of the day I’d just end up with a longer to-do list!
In an act of desperation I suddenly found my personal secret to productivity
A pen and paper
I know this is incredibly “old school” but trust me it works.
My problem was usually not knowing the answer to “what’s next?’ After accomplishing a task. To-do lists are awesome (I have lots of them) but they must be integrated into an organized system that tells you in detail what to do next so you don’t rely on short-term memory
I personally chose to do this with pen and paper because:
- Writing a task down cements it in my mind
- You can see what comes next with one glance
- It is unplugged (non-digital) which helps a lot
- It’s easy to see which tasks or finished, and which ones aren’t
- And you can easily make notes or emphasize tasks afterwards
The next step was to borrow an idea from Cal Newports book “Deep Work” by scheduling everything
- My day is broken down into 15 to 30 minute blocks
- . these blocks are as much as possible defined by a specific action
- The important tasks are organized in the early morning (I have more energy then)
- And everything (even leisure) is put into scheduling
The tasks almost always take more time to complete than I’ve scheduled, but thats okay since the goal is to have a clear understanding of what comes next.
There will always be new challenges and unfinished tasks in ministry. The important thing isn’t to run around trying to get them all done as soon as possible because that doesn’t work (trust me I tried). Instead its to have a detailed system that finishes the next task with quiet excellence.