⏳4 Steps to Plan a Productive Day

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Dear steward,

When you have a million things you could do in a day, how do you decide the best place to start?

You want to honor God with how you spend your day, and you have goals you know you want to reach, but it seems like something always gets in the way of you actually making progress on what you say is most important.

It’s a prioritization problem.

When we don’t prioritize purposefully, urgency and other people’s priorities end up dictating what we work on. So of course we fail to make progress on our goals.

I want to show you a quick method for selecting your priorities for the day, so you can focus on what’s most important.

Step 1: Write down your 3 most important tasks

I start by asking, “what are the 3 things I’d really like to get done today?”

Every morning, I write these down in my notebook.

I limit myself to three because the truth is I rarely get to do everything on my list anyway. I just want to make sure the stuff I do get to, actually moves the needle.

Step 2: Number your list by priority

You probably wrote those tasks down as they popped into your head, not in a specific order. Now they need to be prioritized.

Write a number 1, 2, or 3 next to each task, in order of priority. #1 is your top priority for the day.

And here’s the important part:

Tell yourself “if I get nothing else done today, I must complete this ONE task.”

Commit to it.

Step 3: Work on that task until it’s done

I close my email and turn on the Freedom App to shut out all distracting apps and websites on my devices.

Then I go into “deep work mode” until my #1 task is done for the day.

Once it’s complete, I take a break.

Step 4: Repeat for tasks 2 and 3

Depending on how long my first task took and what other urgent things have come up in the meantime, I’ll move on to tasks #2 and #3.

But, honestly, it’s pretty rare that I complete all 3 tasks for the day.

Something else always seems to come up. Because the truth is, there’s no way to banish urgent tasks from your life completely. Some things simply need to be done when they need to be done.

But at least I know that if I complete my #1 important task day after day, I’ll always be making progress on my goals.

This simple technique forces you to give careful thought to what your priority for the day is, so you are not just swept away by the deluge of urgent tasks and requests.

Plus it only takes about 5 minutes to do all 4 steps!

I hope this technique can help you work more intentionally, as you seek to glorify Christ in all that you do.


P.s. If you want more help with managing and prioritizing your tasks, my course To-Do Lists Done Right can help.

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✨ New on Redeeming Productivity

🎙Podcast Returns Next Week

We’ve been on a break from the podcast between seasons. But the Redeeming Productivity Show returns for season 6 next week.

Make sure you’re subscribed to the Redeeming Productivity Show so you don’t miss an episode.

Last weekend I shared a Twitter thread outlining some of my favorite productivity apps:

🧑‍💻The Roundup

How Can I Know My Decisions Glorify God? (5 mins)

This review of Aimee Joseph’s book Demystifying Decision-Making contains some really helpful tips on how to think about decision-making as a Christian.

“As Christians living in an increasingly individualistic society, what’s the best strategy for making decisions that honor God while becoming more like him in the process?”

(Leah Jolly / The Gospel Coalition)

Have I Sinned If I Fall Short of Excellence at Work? (14 mins)

Appreciated these thoughts from John Piper on a common verse we cite when talking about being productive as Christians.

In Colossians 3:22–24, Paul exhorts his readers to ‘work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.’ Does this mean that any work not done in excellence is sin?“

(John Piper / Desiring God)

3 Ways to Stay Focused While Praying (2 mins)

A great summary of 3 very practical methods for avoiding distraction in your prayer time.

(Doug Eaton / Fight of Faith)

Bionic Reading

This awesome service converts text into a format that’s easier for you to read more quickly.

How Can We Measure Spiritual Progress? (3 mins)

“There is no progress indicator on our spiritual lives, no objective measure of our sanctification. A woman laying a floor can stand back and observe that she has laid 50 percent of the planks; a man finishing a basement can observe that 80 percent of the drywall has now been hung. But no Christian can assess his or her life and say “I am halfway there” or “I am three quarters of the way there.” We make progress that is far less visible and far less measurable. This being the case, we must rely on other indicators.”

(Tim Challies)

🖋Quote of the Week

“Let us strive to show the men of the world that we have no time for their mode of living. Let us show them that we find life too precious to be spent in perpetual feasting, leisure, and pleasure, as if there were no death, or judgment, or life to come.”

– J.C. Ryle, Commentary on Luke 10

(H/T Cory Vail)

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⌛️That’s All for this Week

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I’ll see you next time!

– Reagan

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