Finding the Perfect Productivity System

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Hello friends,

I pray that your week is going well, you’re setting God’s glory as your chief aim, and daily being reminded of His grace as you fall short in your productivity goals.

Welcome to another edition of Reagan’s Roundup, the weekly newsletter about personal productivity from a Christian perspective!

I’m teaching and preaching at my church a few times over the next couple of weeks, so I’ve been a little less productive on the online content-creation front this week as I prepare those messages. But I do have a new video I’d love for you to check out. And as always, I’ve loaded this issue to the brim with the best of the best links about productivity and the Christian life that I could find around the web.

Big shout out to Ray Edwards for suggesting I include read times in the newsletter. Hoping that will make you a bit more productive as you peruse this week’s Roundup!

But before we get to the links, I want to talk about to-do lists…

The Humbling To-Do List

Legend has it there once was a man somewhere in the mountains of Tibet who once finished his entire daily to-do list.

But I’m skeptical.

A lot of us have this idealized vision of a productive life in which our time is perfectly balanced, we always finish our tasks, and we end the day satisfied with ourselves.

But that dream rarely comports with reality. And an unfinished to-do list is the most stinging reminder of how frequently we fall short of even our least ambitious goals.

Many articles have pointed to the futility of completing to-do lists to argue for abandoning the practice altogether. Why make lists if we don’t complete them? Won’t that just discourage us? Maybe it’s time to do away with the to-do list.

I disagree.

I still believe the daily to-do list is an important weapon in the battle for productivity. And, for believers, the fact that we don’t always finish our lists should be viewed as a feature, not a flaw.


Because an unfinished to-do list humbles us.

To-do lists are aspirational by nature. It’s a wish for everything I want to get done today. I hope I’ll finish it. But our days don’t always unfold according to plan. And that’s okay.

When that happens and the unticked box next to “do the laundry” mocks you, you have a choice. You can despair and beat yourself up, or you can remind yourself of the grace of God. The unfinished to-do list reminds us that we can’t do it all, and the gospel of grace reminds us that because of Christ, that’s okay.

God does not love us based on how perfectly productive we were today, but rather based on how perfect His Son and His sacrifice were.

I can stand before God and men with confidence even in my daily failure to live up to my own standards because Christ has lived up to God’s standards on my behalf.

Read this article on Redeeming Productivity.

▶️ New Video

Covenant Eyes Review​ (8:33)

In this video, I explain what accountability software is, how it works, and why I like Covenant Eyes.

👍 Something I Like

I’ve been testing out a new app called Rize for time-tracking.

Instead of manually starting and stopping trackers for each task like a traditional time-tracking app, Rize monitors your activity and tries to help you develop better habits for staying focused and taking breaks.  

That UI is *chef’s kiss*!

I need to use it for a little while longer to give my full thoughts on it, but so far it seems really promising. Rize is only available for mac currently.

You can try Rize free for a month with this referral link (that also gives me a free month also).

🧑‍💻Happening on the Web

How Free to Play Video Games are Forced to Make Addicts (9 mins)

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t play video games because I find them to be too addictive. This article shows how the industry of free-to-play games incentivizes developers to purposeful try to make games addictive.

“Free to Play video game companies, by the structure of their market, are faced with the choice to either A) create addictive products that rob a select group of users large amounts of funds, or B) exit the business entirely.”

(Evan Armstrong / Napkin Math)

Storytelling: The art of telling spoken stories (11 mins)

I’ve read this guide on being a better storyteller three times already. No joke!

“The most notable thing Jason does is blow his own mind as he recounts his stories. This is purposeful. This is what I was referring to earlier: don’t recite your script. Instead, relive the story and its emotions in real-time. This is infectious for the audience.”

(Julian Shapiro)

A Man Among Men: Why Friendship Is Worth the Fight (6 mins)

On the importance of male friendships especially as men get older.

“A man, likely more than he knows, owes who he has become to the friends who helped make him. And if he’s wise, he will not undervalue his fundamental need of friends as he ages, for he will need them every bit as much at the end of his sojourn as he needed them when it began.”

(Jon Bloom / Desiring God)

Is there a perfect productivity system? (10 mins)

As someone whose productivity system is more akin to Frankenstein’s monster than any single system, I appreciated this article. She also gives some great tips for how to think about which productivity systems you might try implementing yourself based on your proclivities.

“A system that works for a hyperactive young developer pursuing a degree on the side won’t work for a director of operations with three kids. Someone working from home may need a different system than someone commuting to work. An early bird will have a different work schedule from a night owl. And that’s alright.”

(Anne-Laure Le Cunff / Ness Labs)

How To Set Weekly Goals To Change Your Life (6 mins)

“Setting weekly goals might seem like a small piece, but it is an important piece of a bigger puzzle. It’s up to you to put those pieces together step by step, week by week, to move closer to your bigger goal. Looking ahead to long-term goals will help you determine the right weekly steps. It will also keep you motivated and consistent in following through with your commitments because every new day is an opportunity to do just that.”

(Agnese Rudzate / Lifehack)

⌛️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.

See you next week!

– Reagan

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