6. Many of my readers know of you through your very helpful blog. What is your process for blogging? For example, how do you choose what to blog on each day? What do you do if, say, on a Saturday afternoon an idea for a post comes to you. Do you collect post ideas and work from a list, or just decide afresh each day?
Most days I sit down at my computer at 8 AM and just see what happens. I maintain a list of potential topics within Things, but usually what happens is that an idea will strike and I’ll try to spend a day or two thinking about it and running over it in my mind. After a couple of days of ruminating I find that the words tend to come quite easily. Occasionally when the muse is speaking I will sit down and write out several posts at once. But far more often I write and post all at the same time. I’m not nearly as organized as some might think. But I find this adds to the immediacy, freshness and honesty of the blog. What I’m thinking today I’m writing about today. Or that’s the hope.
7. Why do you think Christians should care about productivity? (Or, dare I say it, if you don’t think Christians should care, why not?)
Christians should care about productivity. That’s not to say that they should necessarily be driven by a desire to accomplish more things in less time. Rather, they should be motivated to use their time well and to do everything with excellence. God is glorified when we use our time well and when we do what we do well. There can be productivity in simplicity, not just in quantity.
8. In the last three months, what has been the most helpful productivity practice or tip for making you productive and effective?
I think it is one that came while writing The Next Story and it involves reducing my dependency on technology. There are times when I feel that there has to be a technological solution to every problem, and especially to every problem created or exacerbated by technology. So when I find that I need to record more information than ever before, I want to find the perfect app to deal with the increased quantity. But in many ways I’ve found it better to take steps backward, depending more than ever on pen and paper. And I am honestly more organized and productive for it. Until I lose my notebook.
Second to that I would say it is trying to maintain an empty inbox. Few things feel better in a digital world than looking at an inbox and seeing nothing there. That’s especially true when it’s 5 PM on a Friday. Just don’t tweet your accomplishment because every one of your hilarious friends will send you an email to fill it back up.
9. Do you have any bad productivity habits that you think might undermine your productivity and which you are seeking to change?
Absolutely. My biggest weakness is distraction. I wrote a whole chapter in my book on the subject and still find that I succumb to it. I find it very, very difficult to shut down my email while writing or blogging or preparing a sermon or doing any other kind of work. And it proves a constant temptation and constant distraction. I simply need to discipline myself to shut down email when trying to focus on other matters. My most productive days are the days in which I do batch processing of my email and then shut it down and forget all about it.
10. What is the most helpful book on productivity that you have read?
I know it’s a cliche, but I’ve got to go with Getting Things Done. I think it’s also the only book I’ve ever read on productivity. In the end I did not adopt very much of the GTD system, but found myself grateful for the issues it raised. It got me thinking in valuable directions, even if the solution Allen proposes is doomed to failure by virtue of its almost impossible complexity.