Several years ago, I was a member of a church that spent months discovering God’s vision for the congregation. They identified the vision that God had for them. They launched it with flare. The whole congregation grew excited to do what God had called them to do.
But one year later, nothing changed. Five years later, nothing changed.
Is the same true for you? Has God called you to something that sets your soul ablaze but that you’ve failed to make strides toward?
When I look at churches and individuals, I often see people who passionately pursue God. They want to know Him and have a sense of His calling on their lives. They have identified something that God has called them to accomplish. They have passion for the accomplishment of that calling. They pray that God will lead them in it.
But I consistently see people fail to act on the things that God calls them to do.
It’s not blatant disobedience. Their hearts are good. They long to please God. It’s just that in the midst of all the chaos of everyday life, they become immobile.
They fail to establish a system that turns their vision into action.
They fail to turn the big vision into smaller, actionable steps.
At the root of this problem is a failure to identify and implement a productivity system.A failure to establish a productivity system can lead to a failure to do what God calls you to do. Click To Tweet
Choosing a productivity system that works for you is important. I think it’s one of the most important decisions that you make if you care about accomplishing your highest purpose and doing the things that God has called you to do.
That’s why it is critical for you to develop a simple productivity system. If God has called you to anything, then it requires action. A system initiates and perpetuates mobility.
You need a system that helps you focus on the bigger vision God has called you to while accomplishing all of your other obligations.
You need a system that leads to peace, not busyness and chaos.
Your productivity system should include 7 building blocks.
Of course, you need a calendar. Calendars should serve for appointments and meetings that need to occur at a specific date and time.
But most people make make one major mistake with regard to calendars: they have multiple calendars.
You have one life. So you only need one calendar. Not one for work and one for home and one for the kids and one for your hobbies.
If you have more than 1 calendar, you will waste time arranging events in multiple calendars. You’ve only got one life, so pick just one calendar.
2. Life Accounts / Roles List
You have several roles in your life. Each role is a calling that God has on your life — spouse, parent, volunteer, financial steward. One of your roles should be a “Me” role. You have been given responsibility to steward yourself.
Have a list of your roles. Take this to the next level by identifying a purpose statement for each role.
If you look at a role you have and don’t believe that God has called you to it, you need to get out of that role. You’re doing something that He hasn’t called you to — that’s a form of disobedience and a waste of time. (This, of course, doesn’t include commitments like being a spouse or parent. If you try to get out of those lifelong commitments, then that’s disobedience.)
3. Goal list
Within each of your roles, you will have goals. I define a goal as anything that will take focused effort for more than 2 weeks. If you have any goals that you need to accomplish, you should have those defined.
Every goal needs a clear objective and a due date. When you have a goal, do the hard work on the front end to create clarity. Define what the goal is and how you will know that it is finished. This allows you to know (and celebrate) when you have accomplished the goal.
4. Project list (and subprojects, if necessary).
Within each of your goals, you will have projects. I define a project similar to David Allen in Getting Things Done — anything that will take more than 1 action to accomplish.
Every goal will have projects but not every project will be connected to a goal.
If one of your goals is to write and publish a book, you will have several projects within that goal: create a proposal, write a draft, edit the draft, design the cover, etc.
But you will also have some projects that aren’t connected to a goal: replacing the refrigerator water filter, hosting a birthday party, etc.
Have a list of all of your projects and subprojects. That way you can know what your commitments are.
5. Action list (a.k.a to-do list)
Every project turns into actions that you do. If your project is to replace the air filter, you need several actions:
- Find out what kind of water filter you need
- Purchase the filter online
- Wait for the filter to arrive
- Install the filter
I repeat, every project turns into actions. You need a place where you can see all of the actions that you need to do.
This list of actions needs to include the ability to assign due dates, priorities, and other labels that help you immediately see where you need to do the action or other pertinent information.
That’s why I use Todoist as the foundation of my productivity system. It allows me to track all of my goals, projects, and actions and assign all the pertinent information like due dates, priorities, and labels. To try out Todoist, click here.
6. Collection bins
You need places — physical and digital — where you can store all of the incoming information and ideas. Not just one place, you need multiple places.
These collection bins have one job: to hold your incoming stuff until you have time to put that stuff in the right place (calendar, project, action list, etc.)
I have several inboxes that help collect information:
- Inbox on my office desk for papers and meeting notes
- Email inbox
- Inbox folder in Evernote
- Inbox in Todoist for actions and ideas that need to be processed
- Inbox at home for mail and receipts
You get the point. You already have several places that you collect things. You need these so that you can store things until it’s time to process them.
7. Trash Can
Your trash is one of the most important tools in your productivity. You are going to get a lot of information and stuff that is junk. Toss it.
You’ll get some stuff that’s not junk. But it’s not your responsibility and doesn’t fit in the roles that God has called you to. Toss it.
If God calls you to a goal or task, He calls you to faithfully accomplish it. Don’t make the mistake of discerning what God wants you to do but failing to turn that into action.
You need a productivity system. And it starts with these seven building blocks.
Question: Which of the 7 building blocks are you missing?