How To Have Quality Momentum With A Future Focused Calendar

How To Have Quality Momentum With A Future Focused Calendar

Do you struggle with future-focus? In this episode, I share how I am tackling that EXACT problem. Stay tuned and learn about creating a future focused calendar.

Front Matter

I am almost done with the new sermon worksheet AND an accompanying eBook. This will be an incredible free resource I’ve been working on for the last few months.

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Congregation is Inward-Focused. Carey Nieuwhof. 

iTunes review and rating. Thanks for leaving such incredible feedback!

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How To Have Quality Momentum With a Future Focused Calendar

So what exactly is future focus? 

Future focus is the ability to pro-actively keep a schedule focused on leading your team, organization, ministry or church further toward the missional vision God has called you to.

Intentionally investigating and creating future focus is all about creating awareness that leads to action. This isn’t done outside of the context of mission and strategic vision. Over the last few months, I’ve increasingly frustrated personally with what my schedule has looked like. My realizations have come because of dissatisfaction with how I’m spending my weeks. I’m a big fan of auditing my schedule, so I decided to tweak what I was doing in order to learn what exactly has been going on (that I can control).

Paper vs. Digital

Many of us keep a digital calendar on our computer or some other device. I couldn’t live without my iPhone reminding me of what is coming up each day. But digital devices didn’t have the ability to really look back and investigate effectiveness. I wanted a paper solution (since my daily work is usually done on paper anyway) to look back on from a week long view. I pulled out my week dominator planner I funded a few years ago on kickstarter. It’s perfect. (if you want to see pictures of how I’ve been using this, make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. I’m doing a bigger write-up with pictures this week. It will be the only place you can grab it.)

How I Build

I decided 5 categories will keep up with the majority of my tasks.

  • Forward
  • Maintenance
  • Catch-Up
  • Family/House
  • External

If you want to build a future-focused calendar, make sure to give yourself 3-4 normative weeks. Nothing out of the ordinary (as much as you can help it)!

  1. Start with your appointments
  2. Add in blocked out time slots (I put my Monday admin block, Podcast recording, etc)
  3. Time for goals and medium level project work.
  4. Start building in how these regulated tasks fit into your categories.

I build my calendar with black ink. As tasks come up during the week, I change things up. Blue ink gets new appointments added in. Red ink tells me where something changed my schedule.

Back Matter

Make sure to subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider. This week I’ll be sending out some more additional information about doing a future focused audit and building your calendar.

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.



7 Habits of Unproductive Pastors | PP58

7 Habits of Unproductive Pastors | PP58

So what makes a ministry leader unproductive? It might be a little different than you expect. Today we are talking about the habits of unproductive pastors.

Front Matter

Our new interview format is going great! I’ve heard great things from folks with last week’s episode with Dave Shrein. Make sure you check it out.

This week I have spent PLENTY of time listening to Dan Carlin’s podcast Hardcore History. His recent series entitled “King of Kings” is a fascinating look into the world of the ancient near east. For anyone who teaches the Bible, it would be a great resource to utilize.

We have had some great iTunes feedback. I want to thank these reviewers for their support of the show. If you haven’t, please review the Productive Pastor on iTunes. You can do so right here.

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7 Habits of Unproductive Pastors

They Aren’t Incarnated
Think about John 1:14 at what it means for Jesus to dwell among us. That means we have to be embodying the dwelling of Jesus in the places we are called to and the people we are called to lead. It can be tough sometimes, but not leading from the standpoint of love can be pretty gnarly.

They Don’t Know What They Are Doing
As leaders, we need future focus. This is about building a planned strategic schedule. I’ve done an entire episode on this idea.

Building a Priority Based Schedule | PP3

They Can’t Differentiate Between Urgent and Important
There is a huge difference between what’s urgent and what’s important. We can fill our life with the urgent and never touch the important! We have to develop the skillset to begin weeding out the unnecessary urgent.

They Don’t Delegate
Delegation is one of the hardest and most important skills for any ministry leader to develop. Full honesty…I’m terrible at it. Folks know it and even joke about it. The best resources on delegation come from Michael Hyatt. Here is a search query on all of his delegation content. Make sure to check out the podcast episodes.

They Don’t Know Their Personalities and Strengths
I am a big fan of two resources to help leaders understand the way they are wired. The DiSC test and Strengthfinders 2.0. Spend the money, invest in the tests and learn about how you will lead, relate and schedule better. Bonus points to those who also lead their teams through these resources.

They Can’t Keep The Future in Focus
I’ve been focusing energy on this lately. I’ve been personally asking myself the question about how much future work I am doing. Remember that maintenance can’t maintain. It won’t end well.

They Don’t Have Routines 
I’m a big proponent of a morning routine. It is an absolute for me. You will find this is a regular habit for the folks with the highest degree of capacity and influence.

Back Matter

Remember to Review and Rate in iTunes. You can do it right here.

If you want more of my writing and other free content, you can subscribe to the Productive Pastor Insider List.

5 Podcast Episodes | 8.12.16

5 Podcast Episodes | 8.12.16

Every week I curate a list of 5 great podcast episodes. This week is focused on great easy-to-listen educational and historical content.

King of Kings III | Hardcore History with Dan Carlin 7.7.16
Ok. This is the podcast of podcasts. Episodes of Hardcore History are only released every 4-6 months. The newest episode came out this week and it clocks in at over 5 hrs. I spent most of my driving time this week listening to it. I’ve heard the hoopla about Carlin and this podcast before and I can now say I’ve totally drank the kool-aid.

Klondike Big Inch and Land Promotion | Stuff You Missed in History Class 7.30.14
I share this podcast pretty often, but that’s because they have a huge catalog and I find it perfect for longer drives. I love how they find fantastical events from the past and explain them. This one is all about a cereal company doing a land giveaway in Gold territory.

Odin-In the Land of the Blind | Myths and Legends 7.26.16
The Myths and Legends podcast broke onto the scene last year. It quickly rose to the top of iTunes charts. For folks into fables and tall tales of yore, it’s downright perfect. The creator goes in and out of a Viking kick. This is a great episode.

Route Talk | Serial 
Serial was the podcast that changed everything. This summer, the focus of season 1 Adnan Syed was able to get his court case reopened. Many people believe this is because of the focus the podcast put on his nearly 20-year-old conviction. For folks who doubt the power of investigative journalism, this is the perfect episode. Make sure you click through to the shownotes as well.

Stranger Things Podcast
Not an episode, but a whole show. One of my favorite types of podcasts are the shows that serve as “after-shows” for television. They are especially awesome for TV shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. It is also a great way to get into listening to and making your own podcasts. Folks are all over Stranger Things, a new Netflix Original television show. This is the accompanying podcast. I’m stoked to start the show AND the podcast together.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset with Dave Shrein | Productive Pastor 57

The Entrepreneurial Mindset with Dave Shrein | Productive Pastor 57

I am excited about this episode of Productive Pastor. I am *attempting to start running weekly episodes. The odd weeks (outside of the older episode structure) will be interview and conversation focused. Our first episode with this new format will be Dave Shrein. Dave is a social entrepreneur who has led in the communication sector for years. I wanted to grab Dave and have a conversation about marketing in ministry and what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset with Dave Shrein

  • Arizona vs. Louisiana
  • Church and Social Media
  • From worship leader to entrepreneur
  • Church technical arts and marketing
  • What has God wired you to do in order to communicate with specific people?
  • Marketing and Church
  • Love people and generate the ability to love them even more
  • God has created people in our community who are waiting to hear from us.
  • Making a bigger impact by acting like a 30,000 ft leader.
  • God using everything He has done in your life to prepare you for this new move
  • The Church world has a lot to learn and a lot to redeem
  • The Mindset of an Entrepreneur
  • Clouds and Dirt
  • The Rhythm of going up and going down
  • Visioning and Executing
  • The power of resourcefulness
  • The audacity that Jesus is going to do it
  • Doing the chores
  • Lean upon the people with the gifts and resources that you don’t
  • Be aware of what is out there
  • What does it mean to have unique gifts and abilities?


Jon Acuff’s Books

Carey Nieuwhof | Why We Need More Entrepreneurial Church Leaders, Not More Shepards 

Find out more from Dave at:

Church Marketing Podcast


5 Podcast Episodes | 8.5.16

5 Podcast Episodes | 8.5.16

Every week I curate a list of great podcast episodes. This week is all over the place, but they are fantastic. Make sure to check them out.

1. The Showrunner dilemma. The Showrunner Podcast. 7.20.16

The Showrunner podcast is all about the craft of podcasting. These guys are fantastic. I absolutely love the show. This episode gets super interesting as it talks about work/life balance and how much you can *actually keep going.

2. How Night Terrors Work. Stuff You Should Know. 8.2.16

Josh and Chuck do a fantastic job dissecting all sorts of things. In this episode, the pull apart the idea of Night Terrors. Awesome content.

3. Podcasting for Pastors and Ministries with Jonathan Howe. Art of the Sermon. 7.7.16

Art of the Sermon has taken a little of a content shift and this episode is wonderful. I think every ministry leader needs to think about podcasting, and Dan found a great guest to talk about the subject with. Jonathan is the host of the formidable Rainer on Leadership podcast and certainly knows his stuff!

4. Sending. Sacred Ordinary Days 6.8.16

I discovered the Sacred Ordinary Days podcast this week. They put together an awesome planner based off the liturgical year and the first season of their podcast was devoted to the church calendar. I listened to about half the season on a drive this week and it is super interesting.

5. Branding Your Story with Donald Miller. Entreleadership 7.13.15

I’ve been researching the power of story for an upcoming sermon series. This was a great conversation on realizing the power of your own personal story.