Work Better: A Christian Primer on Productivity
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— Work Better —

How to Free Yourself From Being a Slave to Your Phone

Phones are frustrating. You've got to have one to communicate in the world, but it's all too easy to let it rule your life. We get tired of always being on and connected. It can easily feel like instead of our phone's serving us and making life easier, we are slaves to our phones.

Phones also have a profound affect on our relationships. Studies have found that having a phone out and visible hurts the quality of our personal interactions even when it's sitting on the table not being used

Because cell phones are still relatively new, we are... [continue]

Create Something!

I firmly believe everyone is an artist.

Not everyone can paint or do the typical "artsy" skills, but everyone has the ability to create, to imagine something more than what currently exists, to make something real out of what was once only potential.

Images of the Artist

God is an artist.

He imagines things and brings them into existence. He was the original creative genius, who came up with the idea of this world, all the insane things about it, and the notion of you to enjoy them.

Everyone is an artist because everyone was made by the Artist. And we can't help but take after... [continue]

Shark Pole Fruit Hop - The Problem of Passwords

Your old habit of using your childhood dog’s name for every site you visit is not just outdated, it’s dangerous. Everything from your bank account to Starbucks requires a login password. And if you use Facebook to log in, many of those accounts can be connected, which makes them even more vulnerable. In a world of increasingly sophisticated hackers, your one-word, one-digit password isn’t much better than using “password” as your password.

I highly recommend an app like LastPass or 1Pass to make passwords simpler and more secure.... [continue]

Productivity is Continual 1% Improvement, Not a One-Time Achievement

One mistake I see over and over again when people want to get more productive is that they try to do too much all at once.

I'm sure at some point you’ve found several ways to improve and tried to implement all of them at the same time. And how did that work out? I’m willing to bet it lasted only a very short time before you collapsed into all your old, bad habits. Even worse, you feel guilty and begin to believe you can never change. So you actually take steps backward.

The truth is, productivity is a process, not an achievement. It is not a... [continue]

Productivity is Doing the Right Things, Not More Things

This is second in a series defining productivity. You can find the first entry here.

It is a common misconception that productivity is about getting more done. David Allen's all-time bestselling book on personal productivity is titled simply, “Getting Things Done.” It seems so basic we don’t even consider it. Being productive means doing more stuff. Obviously.

But productivity is about quality, not quantity. It's about doing the right things, not doing more things.

Productivity is about doing the right things, not doing more things.
The 100... [continue]

Productivity is Energy Management, Not Time Management

One of the biggest misconceptions about productivity is that it's all about time management. People figure they just need some tips on how to squeeze a little more out of the hours and minutes. But this outlook is fundamentally flawed. Productivity is all about energy management, not time management. The Timing of Energy

Not every hour is created equal. Our energy is different throughout the day, so some times are better suited to different tasks.

In general:

Morning - High energy, High focus tasks

Afternoon - Low energy, High... [continue]

You're Doing Email Wrong (Here are 5 Ways to Do It Right)

Note: This post is a chapter excerpt from my e-book "Work Better: A Christian Primer on Productivity." You can get the whole book for free by signing up for my email list.

Email. It’s a blessing and a curse. But mostly a curse. Sure, ease and speed of communication, blah blah blah. Yet for most people e-mail is also a colossal bother and a waste of time. The mere mention puts a pit in the stomach and a glaze over the eyes. We need to put email in its appropriate place.

Here’s the thing:

1. If you check your email continually, do e-mail... [continue]

Trust Me, I'm an Expert (At Failing)

My Expert Teacher

I had a teacher once who was basically a genius, Professor Matikos (not his real name). Professor Matikos spent a few hours each week teaching calculus to college freshmen, but the rest of the time he was busy researching problems we couldn’t begin to comprehend or even see the need for solving.

Everyone hated him. Well, everyone hated the class because calculus is hard and he was horrible at teaching it. Prof. Matikos was a decent guy. His only problem was that he knew too much.

He would write a problem on the board, solve it with a few... [continue]

Who Before What

The Bible gives lots of commands. I mean, tons. So many that it’s easy to see the Bible as a set of instructions for us to follow. But seeing the Bible as basically a rulebook for us to keep misses that it is first a story of God’s grace. The grace comes first, then the response of our obedience. That’s why my slogan for this blog is “rest easy, work better,” and not the reverse. We have to learn to rest in the finished work of Jesus before we can properly move on to our own work. We have to know who we are before we are ready to hear what we should do.

It is typical to view the... [continue]

Confession of a Depressed Pastor (Or, How I Learned How to Work Better by Resting Easy)

I was frustrated, stressed, ashamed, and depressed. Completely normal feelings for a pastor, right? I was three years into my first job as a pastor at a mid-size evangelical church. I knew it was what God wanted me to do, and parts of it were wonderful, but at the end of most days I felt like a total failure.

It took about 18 months and some serious counseling, but I emerged from this experience, more certain than ever that 1) God has called me to be a shepherd and 2) I was equipped to do it.

To get there, though, I had to walk through the depression and anxiety,... [continue]