Toolbox #4: Productivity Hacks for Pastors

Welcome to the fourth volume of the Tentmaker's Toolbox!

Today we’re talking productivity hacks.

Balancing the many responsibilities that bivocational pastors have requires more than just hard work and long hours - it demands smart strategies.

So after being a ‘tentmaker’ for over 20 years, I'd like to share some strategies that have enriched my journey and, I hope, can illuminate yours too.

Let’s jump in.


📈 Productivity Hacks

In the fast-paced world of bivocational ministry, juggling multiple roles can be challenging. But, how do we maximize our efficiency without burning the candle at both ends?

Here are five productivity gems I've discovered over the years that keep me thriving:

  1. Embrace the Power of Short Bursts: The Pomodoro Technique advocates for 25 minutes of undistracted, concentrated work, followed by a 5-minute break. This is my secret productivity weapon. (Currently there is 2:36 left on my timer.) I’ve found that it not only helps me slay my to-do list, it also reduces mental fatigue giving me more energy during the day.

  2. Streamline with Templates: If I've learned one thing, it's that reinventing the wheel is overrated. From this very newsletter to the landing pages, ads, proposals and reports in my agency, templates are the unsung heroes. I even have a template for my sermons. By standardizing recurring tasks, you're not only saving time but ensuring consistency in quality.

  3. Plan Ahead for Tomorrow: A few intentional minutes before bedtime can set the tone for a productive tomorrow. Outline your 3-5 major tasks for the next day. I prefer the old-school approach with a small spiral notebook that sits on my desk. Having this clarity takes the guesswork out and brings much more focus to the start of my day.

  4. Move your Body: A sharp mind thrives in a well-tuned body. Those 30 pound dumbbells by my desk? They're not just paperweights. A quick set here and there invigorates and resets the mind.

    Another tip: invest in a standing desk and treadmill combo—they’ve done wonders not only for my productivity but also for my lower back pain.

  5. Keep it Simple with Productivity Tools: In the quest for productivity, it's easy to fall into the trap of over-optimizing with the latest tools and apps. They can be enticing labyrinths.

    I've navigated through the mazes of Monday, ClickUp, Notion, Basecamp, Asana, and more. Yet, simplicity emerged as the winner: Google Docs. Bottom line: The tool should work for you, not vice versa. Choose wisely, and remember—simplicity often reigns supreme.


Today’s action plan:

  1. Pilot the Pomodoro:

    Allocate a couple of hours this week to try the Pomodoro Technique. Start with a task you've been postponing or find challenging. Break it into focused 25-minute intervals. Chances are, you’ll tackle it much faster than you thought. Keep the momentum going!

  2. Template Audit:

    Identify one recurring task in your weekly routine that could benefit from a template. Whether it's a form of communication, planning, sermon/message, or any document you frequently draft from scratch, create a standardized template for it. Measure the time saved in the following weeks.

  3. Physical Integration:

    Designate two 5-minute breaks in your day dedicated solely to physical activity. It could be a brisk walk, a dumbbell set, or even light stretching. Note any improvements in energy levels, focus, or overall well-being at the end of the week.

📚 What I’m Reading

"Atomic Habits" by James Clear is a comprehensive guide on habit formation. Here are two key takeaways from my notes:

  1. Habits Compound Over Time:

    Just as small savings can grow into significant wealth over time due to compound interest, even tiny changes in habits can lead to substantial results in the long run. It’s the idea of making 1% improvements each day, which, although may seem negligible at first, compounds over time leading to significant growth and results.

  2. Four Laws of Behavior Change:

    Clear outlines a framework to build good habits and break bad ones, based on four laws:

    • Make it Obvious: Set clear cues for your habits. The clearer the trigger for the behavior, the higher the likelihood of it becoming routine.

    • Make it Attractive: Use temptation bundling or pair a task you need to do with something you want to do.

    • Make it Easy: Reduce friction to make good habits more accessible. Simplify processes and take small steps.

    • Make it Satisfying: Ensure immediate rewards to reinforce good habits. Tracking and seeing progress can be a reward in itself.

📖 Scripture

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

🚀 How I Can Help

That’s all for today!

Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways for us to work together:

  1. Join our Free FB Group: You don't have to go it alone. Tap into the wisdom of our community with over 2700 like-minded individuals navigating the same journey.

  2. Check out the FB Ads Bootcamp - our implementation coaching program that shows you how to manage Facebook Ads for clients, enabling you to build your own highly profitable 'tentmaking' business.

  3. Promote your business to 9500+ pastors and church leaders by sponsoring this newsletter. Contact me here.

What did you think about today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.