Less Algorithm, More Intentionality
5 min read

Less Algorithm, More Intentionality

Issue #29: Information diet, time management for mortals, beginners guide to Craft, a simple method for praying the Bible, and more.
Less Algorithm, More Intentionality

Read time: 5 minutes

👋 Hello friends,

Welcome to another edition of the Roundup! I'm glad you're here.

By the way, if you're benefiting from these emails, why not share them with a friend?

On a personal note, it's been an exciting couple of weeks for me. The launch of Redeeming Productivity Academy (RPA) has gone better than I could have hoped. The wife and I are looking forward to getting away for a bit this weekend for some rest and to celebrate 10 years of marriage (awww! 🥰).

Honestly, the interest in RPA totally blew me away! And I'm already personally benefiting from the accountability and encouragement. It's awesome to have a community of other productivity-minded believers. I just wish I had something like this years ago when I first got interested in the topic!

If you were hoping to join us, I'm sorry but registration is currently closed. But if you want to be notified when RPA reopens, you can join the waitlist.

Alrighty, let's get down to business. It's Roundup time! 🤠

Less Algorithm, More Intentionality

Lately, I've been thinking about my information diet, what I fill my head with.

In Philippians 4:8 the apostle Paul writes,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Paul's message was simple: Christians should dwell on things that are true and good and pleasing to God.

The fact is, however, our thought life is usually made up of the information we consume. If I watch a good show, find a funny meme, or read an interesting article, I find myself thinking about it the next day or discussing it with friends.

But the platforms we use to consume information are not incentivized to show us what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praise-worthy. Their algorithms are tuned to show us what they think will keep us on their site the longest. I'm speaking mainly about social media here.

Simply put: Social media algorithms are not incentivized to serve us the kind of information which is beneficial to God-honoring Christian thought life.

The algorithm's job isn't to serve you the truth, but to serve you what gets engagement. And those two are not always aligned.

Think about it this way: What would you say if I told you I got my advice on healthy eating from Coca-Cola?

You'd probably laugh at me. And you'd be right. While just about everyone enjoys an ice-cold Coke once in a while, we recognize that soft drink makers don't exactly feel compelled to warn us about the dangers of a sugary diet.

Coke wants to sell Coke. My health is not their main priority.

The same is true of our information diet. Most of the platforms we use to stay informed have incentives that are not aligned with our objectives as believers in Jesus Christ. And that means if we want to dwell on the types of things that please God, we need to be more intentional about curating our information diets. We can't leave it to algorithms to do the job for us.

And that's exactly what I talked about in this week's podcast...

🎙On the Podcast

There's also a new episode of the show: How to Curate Your Information Diet (28 mins)

The articles we read, the podcasts we listen to, and the videos we consume have a profound effect on our beliefs and how we see the world. Are you being wise in what you consume? In this episode, I talk about the reasons, principles, and tools I use to curate my own information diet and offer some practical tips for you as well.

The Redeeming Productivity Show is my weekly podcast on a biblical approach to personal development and productivity. Subscribe on your favorite platform.

🧑‍💻The Roundup

Review: ‘Four Thousand Weeks’ by Oliver Burkeman (6 mins)

I've been reading Four Thousand Week, a book about confronting your finitude when it comes to time management. It's more a work of pop philosophy than productivity, but I've been enjoying it. This review by John Inazu captured many of my own thoughts on how Christians should think about this subject.

"Indeed, if you accept the book’s premise that we are mere mortals—that there is no God and no transcendent hope—then Burkeman’s advice is not only insightful but nearly irrefutable. If I weren’t a Christian, Four Thousand Weeks might well be my bible."

(John Inazu / The Gospel Coalition)

Revisiting Parkinson’s Law (2 mins)

If you've read much productivity literature, you've come across the concept of Parkinson's Law, it dictates that tasks expand to fill the time allotted to them.

Well, Cal Newport revisited the origins of this law and discovered another way the principles behind Parkinson's Law can affect not just individuals but organizations.

"Parkinson then provides statistical evidence for this phenomenon, showing that the British naval bureaucracy grew even as the navy it served shrunk after WWI."

(Cal Newport / Study Hacks)

Let There Be Rest: Recovering Healthy Weekly Rhythms (7 mins)

"God could have made a rhythm-less world if he wanted — a world without days and weeks and months and years. But in his wisdom, days four and seven of creation serve day six; rhythms make the world a good habitation for finite humans, in need of rest and refreshment. As creatures of dust, we are creatures of rhythm."

(Scott Hubbard / Desiring God)

A Beginner’s Guide to Craft: Documents, Pages, and Blocks (9 mins)

Craft is a great note-taking app and probably has the best mobile interface of any note-taking app I've ever used. This beginner's guide breaks down what's makes this little app so special.

"Like the popular app Notion, Craft uses blocks to break apart media types. You can house photos, videos, text, handwritten snippets, PDFs, audio, and other file types in Craft, and you can create backlinks to different blocks to link your notes together. Craft’s flexibility — let alone its stunning design — makes it one of the most fun apps on the App Store today."

(Josh Ginter / The Sweet Setup)

One Simple Method for Praying the Bible (2 mins)

Kevin Halloran presents an easy-to-remember method for praying as you read your Bible.

3 R's:

  1. Rejoice
  2. Repent
  3. Request

"It’s easiest to get into a conversation when someone speaks to us first. God speaks to us in His Word; and if we pray with an open Bible, we don’t need to think of words to pray to Him. We can simply respond to what He has said."

(Kevin Halloran / Gospel Relevance)

👍 Something I Like

Like most people, I enjoy a warm beverage while working in the morning. Usually, it's coffee. But today we're having tea, just to mix things up.

The problem is I'm a really slow drinker. So my drinks always get cold by the time I'm halfway through. And I never wanted to buy one of those stupid Yeti mugs because, well, I'm sort of trend-averse 😂. But I kept getting them as gifts, and soon found myself using a Yeti every day.

And it wasn't until the other day, when I went to serve up my morning brew only to discover all my Yetis were dirty, that I realized just how much I've come to love these stupid mugs.

So that's the "something I like" this week: Yeti mugs. They keep my coffee warm and the productivity flowing.

Are they overpriced? Probably. But are they great? Absolutely.

I like the Yeti 20 oz Ramblers best.

⌛️That’s All for this Week

Thanks for reading!

If you're enjoying the newsletter, share it with a friend. And as always, you can just hit reply to send me a message.

If you want to help me create more resources on productivity from a Christian worldview, consider supporting Redeeming Productivity.

See you next week!

– Reagan