Welcome to another edition of Reagan’s Roundup, the weekly newsletter all about personal productivity from a Christian perspective.
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How to be productive without annoying everyone around you
Have you ever gotten an email auto-response that reads something like this?
Dear esteemed colleague,
Thank you for your email.
In an attempt to be more efficient and effective, I am only checking email once a day. So, though I may not respond to you right away, this will help me serve you better in the end by making me more focused.
Well, maybe not the lukewarm regards part. But that is kind of the vibe you get from it, isn't it?
As a productivity aficionado who also happens to be a Christian, emails like that give me mixed emotions.
On the one hand, I think, "good for you, being more productive!" But on the other hand, I think, "Yeah... but you do know I'm waiting on you for an answer from you, right?"
The inspiration for emails like the one above came from Tim Ferriss. Ferriss is the author of the bestselling book, The 4-Hour Work Week. He's also the OG lifehacker. And this email trick was one of his many suggestions that rapidly swept through office inboxes in the late aughts.
I'm not saying it's a bad idea to set up a similar auto-responder to manage email overload. But I am saying that productivity-minded believers have to walk a narrow line when it comes to how "interruptable" we allow ourselves to be.
As Christians, we want to be people who exhibit Christ-like love. And Christ-like love means self-sacrifice. Sometimes, unfortunately, that sacrifice is your own productivity.
There's a balance here. We have our own responsibilities. We cannot abandon our priorities to become slaves to everyone else's. We do have to manage interruptions. But we also have to treat our co-workers, family, and friends with respect.
It all comes down to this heart attitude:
People aren't interruptions to be managed, they are fellow image-bearers to be served.
If we keep that in mind, we will find the right balance.
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
I talk more about striking a balance of personal productivity vs. being a servant in this video.
🎙On the Podcast
Did you know that sleep is not the only kind of rest we need? In this episode of Redeeming Productivity, I talk about the different kinds of rest and how to make each of them a habit so we don’t burn out.
The Redeeming Productivity Show is my weekly podcast on a biblical approach to personal development and productivity. Subscribe on your favorite platform.
🧑💻Happening on the Web
This one got me good as I was struggling with contentment this week.
"If your consistent response to testing circumstances or challenging people is to become annoyed or angry, then you are irritable. But I have good news for you. Because of Jesus, believers can have godly attitudes even when our patience is tried, and we don’t have to make self-justifying excuses when we don’t. We can confess our failure as sin, knowing Jesus forgives."
(Bobby Scott / Desiring God)
Some people view work as a necessary evil others as a calling. This article by Paul Graham resonated with me. Here are a few points that stood out.
- "Working on a project of your own is as different from ordinary work as skating is from walking. It's more fun, but also much more productive."
- "In Andy Hertzfeld's book on the Macintosh, he describes how they'd come back into the office after dinner and work late into the night. People who've never experienced the thrill of working on a project they're excited about can't distinguish this kind of working long hours from the kind that happens in sweatshops and boiler rooms, but they're at opposite ends of the spectrum."
- "Indeed, the mere expression "work/life" embodies a mistake: it assumes work and life are distinct. For those to whom the word "work" automatically implies the dutiful plodding kind, they are. But for the skaters, the relationship between work and life would be better represented by a dash than a slash. I wouldn't want to work on anything I didn't want to take over my life."
Appreciated this from Albert Kilgore. One of the most important areas of our lives in which we can be purposeful and productive is in the raising of our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
"God has ordained the home to be the primary worldview shaper of the next generation. Stated another way, it has always been the intention of God that a father and mother would purposefully disciple the kids within their four walls to know who God is and know the truth found in His Word."
(Albert Kilgore / For the Gospel)
This article from Ness Labs argues that procrastination is an emotional response to our work. "The higher the emotional aversion to a task, the more likely we are to procrastinate."
Typically we procrastinate when we view the task before us as one of these 8 things.
Identifying why we don't want to do something can be the first step toward overcoming that aversion and getting back to work.
(Anne-Laure Le Cunff / Ness Labs)
Research has shown that the more decisions we make, the more cognitive fatigue we experience. Wisdom, therefore, calls for us to find ways to limit the number of decisions we need to make each day. One way to save your decision-making energies for things that really matter is by creating habits or daily routines for yourself.
"One way to handle daily demands without much effort is automation, which is simply a way to put some things on autopilot. But that begins with putting yourself on autopilot, and you can do that through rituals."
I don't like being watched by big companies, which is why I often recommend the Brave internet browser as a more secure alternative to Google Chrome. It's also why I recommend using Duck Duck Go instead of Google for your search engine. Well, now you have one more option for secure search. Brave has just launched a search engine of their own. And it looks quite promising.
✍️Quote of the Week
An idol is anything or anyone that captures our hearts, minds, and affections more than God.
– Brad Bigney, Gospel Treason
⌛️That’s All for this Week
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See you next week!