5 Minute read…
Do you feel unproductive these days?
Or do you feel less productive now than you did in the past?
Right now, I certainly don’t feel productive — at all.
I mean, I’m getting a lot done. But my list of “to-do’s” seems ever-growing while my list of “got-done’s” isn’t keeping pace. I feel scattered, inefficient, and not nearly as productive as I know I should and could be. Definitely not as productive as I once was. It’s frustrating.
It’s tempting to excuse my lack of production to a season in my life. And partially, that’s fair.
Big Seasons Change 1: Launching Transformation Solutions
Ten weeks ago, I launched Transformation Solutions, my new content, coaching, and consulting business. I’m primarily coaching leaders while helping organizations be more intentional and strategic as they move into their future. My portfolio of business consists of:
- Long-term coaching partnerships with ministry and marketplace leaders,
- Short-term project-based strategy planning work,
- Preaching on weekends and speaking at conferences,
- Leadership content and resources beyond this blog (e-books, books, and courses on the way),
- and some other things yet to be fully determined.
This new business venture has me traveling (I’m writing this from Louisiana), speaking, crafting content, and meeting with leaders more than ever before.
Big Seasons Change 2: Buying a Local Coffee Shop
My wife and I also just bought a coffee shop. Copper Coin is a delightful space in the center of our community. We are the majority owners, but we are blessed to have the two general managers of the shop involved in the ownership team.
With one business, I’m building it from the ground up. At Copper Coin, we are taking over an existing business with established systems, staff, and a customer base.
The shop is open seven days a week, most days beginning at 7:00 a.m. and closing at 6:00 p.m. But while the shop may close at 6:00 p.m., our minds don’t seem to close with it. Every night, Chantel and I talk about the shop — the vision, the decor, the product mix, the pricing structure, the expenses, and how to improve the experience. There’s more, but you get the point.
Placing the Blame for My Productivity Gap
So yes, I could blame my felt productivity gap on the vertical learning curves and career transitions, but blaming my current “season” doesn’t help me now. I also know other new “seasons” will come.
What we all need is a pathway to productivity that exists independent of our current life season.
This won’t be a completely new idea, but perhaps it can serve as a reminder for us all. The problem in my work production is a lack of established (and adhered to) rhythms and routines.
Before I left Woodstock City Church, my schedule was very predictable. Nearly every week, the days were similar. The same meetings were held on the same days each week. My calendar blocked and protected time for working on content or tackling email. I got up basically at the same time each day and arrived at the office at the same time each day. It was a bit boring, and it was so beneficial.
I’ve lost the dull routine. And it’s harming my productivity. It feels like I’m working more now than in the past while getting less accomplished. I need a plan. Perhaps you do, as well.
Here’s what I’m going to start doing next week. Perhaps something from this list will help you, too.
1. Stop multitasking
I can’t effectively operate Transformation Solutions and contribute to Copper Coin’s success at the same time. I need to dedicate specific spaces for both businesses. Without intentionally blocking space in advance for each endeavor, the tyranny of the urgent will dominate my days.
2. Protect my calendar
I need to remember that I own my time and my calendar. It’s too easy to say “yes” to every request. I love using Calendly to schedule meetings, but moving forward, I am blocking off time each week away from the business to work on the business.
3. Prioritize the morning
If I had a dollar for every time I said, “Later today, I plan to…” The days can too quickly get away from me, so I need to ensure I schedule the most critical tasks of the day before lunch. I’ll still plan to calendar things in the afternoon, but my MITs (Most Important Tasks) must become morning assignments.
4. Make more lists
I’m naturally a list guy. Checking the box is satisfying for me. But, I’ve found my list-making has taken a backseat of late. I need to return to the lists. Moving forward, I plan to create a daily task list. And per number 3, I’ll assign most of the tasks to my mornings.
5. Identify time suckers
We all have things in our life that suck our time. My phone can tell me where my screen time was used, but that’s a lag metric. With my time, I want to be proactive more than reactive. So while I enjoy social media and things like PUBG (if you don’t know this, don’t even worry about it), those are distractions, not value additions. They mostly need to go.
6. Reengage life-giving activities
Like the removal of time suckers, we all need life-giving activities. That’s unique to us all. For me, working out at my local gym and reading bring me life. In this season, I need as much energy as I can get. Beginning next week, both are going to become regular activities again.
7. Force the workday to end
As a business owner, my laptop and phone are my office. Unfortunately, they are everywhere I go. More, my wife is the majority owner of our coffee shop. Every time we are together, it’s tempting for the shop to dominate our conversations. Just as I need to calendar meetings and business tasks, I need to schedule (and stick to it) time with my wife, children, and friends outside of work. Chantel and I go on a date nearly every Friday night. Moving forward, work talk will be off the table (at least for two hours!).
8. Prioritize my relationships over my business opportunities
I saved this for last because it’s the most important. I want to be more productive, but I want more to be more relational. The drive to produce can remove people from our life. Starting now, I will incorporate more intentional time with the people who I love and who love me. Ironically, I suspect this time will add to my productivity over time, anyway.
Give me a couple of weeks and I’ll let you know what’s working and where I’ve made adjustments.
One question for you: How are you regaining and maintaining healthy rhythms in your life?
How can I help?
Helping ministry and marketplace leaders make things better and make better things is why I created Transformation Solutions. That includes coaching presenters and communicators through the process of crafting and delivering content.
Go right now to mytransformationsolutions.com and sign up for a free, 15-minute conversation to decide if working together works for you.