Welcome back to Productive Pastor. In this episode, I share some amazing workflow templates I’ve built out and use constantly in Evernote.
How To Find Your Most Productive Hours. Trello Blog
I read this a couple of weeks back and I was amazed. It gave such a great pathway to creating an experimentation plan to learn your most productive hours and days. You need to check this out.
A big thanks to our iTunes Reviewers for this episode. If you want to hear your name on the podcast, just leave a rating and review. You can do so right here.
Organizing Workflow Templates in Evernote.
I’m a big fan of templates AND Evernote. You can hear more about them in these two episodes of Productive Pastor
Up Your Productivity With Templates. Productive Pastor 6
Managing Your Week With Evernote. Productive Pastor 49
I love building out workflow’s inside Evernote because of these three things
Repetition Builds Response
- It gets in your brain
- The workflow becomes a rhythm
Having Effectiveness Systematized is Worth It
- Saves time
- Let’s you keep more balls in the air (and not drop the ones you are responsible for)
- It can make handing tasks off easier
- Just working through it keeps your mind clearer
- Learn other ways to organize and clean up things
- The boundaries invite expression.
Shared Evernote Workflows/Templates
Sermon Production Checklist
Weekly Tasks Blank (my weekly list)
1000 Questions to Ask of the Text (episode 2)
Preaching Rocket and it’s 4 questions
Facebook Contact Workflow (Hacking Facebook Lists for Ministry Effectiveness)
If you want to jump into Evernote headfirst, then you need Brett Kelly’s book Evernote Essentials. There are 3 different versions of the program. I’ve bought into the highest level and it is absolutely worth it.
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Did you know you can use Evernote to order and organize your week? I use Evernote for nearly everything and the two tasks that I can’t imagine NOT using it is ordering my week and ordering my contact list.
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Managing Your Week in Evernote
I use Evernote to manage my daily repeatable tasks. I make mention of several previous episodes and I will link them in the bottom of the shownotes. For me, Evernote is an amazing tool to keep up with the small tasks I do every week on the same exact same day. I am always curating my weekly work template for the best effective use of my time, energy and mind space. This is what I am currently using my focus days for.
Monday -> AM. Sabbath. PM. Visitor Contact, Team Communication, Basic Administration and Sermon Preparation.
Tuesday -> AM. Administration. PM. Long Range Planning and High Impact Projects. Staff Meeting
Wednesday -> AM. Sermon Preparation. PM. Meeting with People.
Thursday -> AM Sermon Preparation. PM. Writing and Medium Projects
Friday -> Sermon Preparation. PM. Projects and People
So each day gets a checklist of repeatable tasks. Honestly, these lists get pretty sparse as the week goes on. I try to reserve Mondays and Tuesdays for these type of tasks.
I also use Evernote to keep up with one of my main goals. I try to stay in contact with 2-3 new people a day and 5-7 existing church folks a day. On Monday, during my weekly planning session, I build a list of the people I am going to make contact with during the week. For the ones that get a phone call (around 5 a day), I put their name and phone number into my weekly note. That way, I don’t have to hunt for the number. I just click on it inside Evernote on my phone. It makes the call and I can go down my list. This sounds super simple…but it is SO EFFECTIVE.
Thanks for managing your week with Evernote!
PP45| Maximizing Ministry With Evernote.
PP3 | Building a Priority Based Schedule
PP6 | Up Your Productivity With Templates
PP37 | How Batching Rocks Your World
Do you want to get the best in Evernote training? Check out Brett Kelly’s Evernote Essentials toolkit. He has three different levels of Evernote training and use cases. You can pick it up here.
Here are all my posts and episodes about Evernote.
Do you use Evernote? If you don’t, this episode is all about maximizing ministry with Evernote.
It’s no secret how much I think Evernote is a crucial ministry tool. I have spoke about it quite often, but have never devoted a full episode to this AMAZING app.
Maximizing Ministry With Evernote
The first suggestion I always make is to download the (free) desktop Evernote app. This makes it substantially easier to use. Then, get your evernote email address and find a clipper app for your browser. This biggest secret is to simply USE Evernote.
How I use Evernote
I am dropping information into Evernote constantly.
- If I need to remember more than 1 time.
- I save .pdf’s and pictures
- checklists and templates
- long range documents
5 Ways to use Evernote for maximizing ministry.
- Staff Meetings
I set up a note with the word “staff meeting” and the date in the title. I then take notes as normal. Whatever I need to drop into the note I can, urls, documents or just notes.
- Sermon Planning
This is where I get ALL UP IN Evernote. I start a notebook with the sermon series. Every sermon gets a note and then there is a random catchall for the series. I am constantly dropping things in these folders. It helps me built up a cohesive library for my preaching.
- One on Ones
They can be discipleship meetings or meetings with staff. I simply use the persons name as a note and date it. Whatever I need to make note of, to remember or refer back to…it’s there.
- Reading Notes
I did an entire episode (26) about how I keep my reading notes. I take some time after I’ve finished a book to enter my notes. There is also a way to get kindle highlights into Evernote.
- Group Documents
I know other people use google docs for this sort of work, but Evernote works better for me BECAUSE YOU CAN SEARCH IT. Sorry for the screaming. But it has saved my neck more times than I can imagine.
In this episode of Productive Pastor I am going to walk through a year-round sermon preparation calendar. So many folks ask me how they can find the time to get ahead in their preaching, and this is the best way I can think of. The first few parts of it are more production oriented and the last half is very specific about sermon preparation.
- 7 Must-Do Items for a Church Growth Calendar.
Don’t roll your eyes over the title. Think of it as a church engagement calendar. I stumbled across this post earlier in the week and have slowly been reading and letting it sink in. There is tons of great information and ideas here.
- How I work 40 hrs in 16.7 (The Simple Technique That Gave Me My Life Back).
I referenced this in an earlier episode, but didn’t have access to a shareable link. Well here it is. If you want to have better control over your time…this is the way.
Creating a Sermon Preparation Calendar
Many times I hear from people about their desire to have more time to plan and prepare ahead in regards to preaching. This episode I want to share with you a way you can create a whole year vision for preaching, stay on top of things AND still have time for the rest of ministry.
Remember, the things we feel we don’t have time for are often the things we don’t have the time to NOT do.
Once a year take a few days to think about the next year of preaching. Get away for a few days by yourself or with anyone else who teaches at your church. Bring along whatever you think will be helpful. I usually bring my journals from the year, my bible (duh), a few interesting books that have impressed me and a single volume commentary. Also, bring any demographic resources you might have, survey data AND a record of the last couple of years of preaching.
This will help you prayerfully discern the direction your preaching could take for the next year. Often, as soon as this is done it works great to have a brain-storming session with the larger Sunday morning ministry team.
Think of the ideas you have had a couple of weeks out from a Sunday that could have been easily accomplished if you would have had the time. We have all had them…and they usually end in regret because the only thing stopping us is time.
One of the benefits of planning in advance is being aware of what is coming up. If you plan out…you will find these moments of inspiration strike when you DO have the time.
The quarterly meeting is where you can talk about the environment, the schedule for preaching series and the details that allow all of your teams to be working on Sunday. As far as the preaching goes…it helps you begin to develop trajectory, the specific passages and the intended response.
At the monthly level preparation starts to get a little more personal. I take 1 day a month to do this. I focus on the sermons I am preaching for the current month and I prepare ahead for the next month by creating evernote folders and printing out sermon worksheets for each Sunday.
The art of being aware of what you are preaching will help you so much.
The best thing to schedule each week during your preparation time is a few hours to devote to the future. That will help you get just enough traction to jump into things quickly. I then schedule my preparation time each day and devote it to a specific task.
When I create my evernote files, I add the passage I am preaching to the top of each note. Every day during my devotional time I read the current week’s passage and the next weeks passage.
The best way to always have the time to be working ahead in sermon preparation is to build in time to be aware of what’s coming up. Your church, your teams and yourself will appreciate the effort.
Sermons That Have Reach Mailing List (signup to get the newest version of my sermon worksheet).
Welcome to the third season of the Productive Pastor. I am really excited about this season and I want to share a few things with you before we jump into the episode.
New Content: I am working up a great way to feature different folks in the productive pastor community. One of the things I am fascinated with is other peoples work flows and space. Look for the “How I Pastor” series coming out soon.
New Conversations: The Productive Pastor has always had an undercurrent conversation about call and a theology of time management. We will let this conversation come up for air a little more this season. Until then-here are two great episodes for background information.
1. Episode 4: Starting a Theology of Time Management.
2. Episode 5: JD Walt on Sabbath
New Resources: I am committing myself to putting together 3-4 new resources this season for you and give them away. Most of these are in development right now.
How to Read for Maximum Effectiveness
Most of us in ministry are readers. If not, you need to be. Readers are leaders and leaders are Readers. It is a cliche…but totally the truth. The best pastors and ministry leaders are the ones constantly learning.
Reading can easily be a drag. We don’t know what to read or how to go about retaining the information. There are services out there giving you book summaries…but let’s be honest. Most of them are barely passable.
Maximizing your reading is all about developing a system for reading.
What really opened my eyes up over the last 6 months was a series of articles by Ryan Holiday.
1. How and Why to Keep a Common Place Book
2. The Notecard System: The Key to Remembering, Organizing and Using Everything You Read.
3. Read to Lead: How To Digest Books Above Your Level.
Let me be honest with you. I first read these articles in the summer and spent to much time digging around the rest of Ryan’s archives. But the secret I found really isn’t a secret. Tons of other people manage to read an inordinate amount of material and keep ahead of it…all while managing other jobs.
The secret to reading for maximum effectiveness is to intentionally (and strategically) plan your retention.
1. Map out your reading.
I did this for 2015. Other books will fall in with this, but I have a reading plan. Think of it like a course list for college or seminary. I have a path.
2. Find a time.
For me it is in the mornings after my walk and in the mid-afternoon. This is when my mind is at a “reading mode” the best.
3. Have a system.
Just working through a book and randomly highlighting, flagging and marking won’t get you anywhere. Figure out a way to truly mark up the book and then save it. I use my own system of flags, notecards and evernote.
4. Process your reading.
Once a month I process all my reading. I go through the analog notes and input them into evernote. If it is a Kindle book-you can route them into Evernote (HT: Michael Hyatt). I follow my markup system and if anything needs it’s own special note in Evernote, I make it. Each book also goes into it’s own note.
This sounds laborious, but imagine what it can be like in 10-20 years when you have an extensive research library you can search, right at your fingertips and it is your own thoughts.
The Back Matter
The Bookshelf: Over the last two weeks I have been reading 2 great books I want to recommend.
1. Simplify: Ten practices to Unclutter your Soul by Bill Hybels
2. Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization by Greg Atkinson
Michael Lukaszewski (episode 19) has a great new company called Church Fuel. Their main product is a year program focused on systems. It looks great.
Our next episode will be a conversation with several people about call, time management and how their own personal theological development of productivity has affected their life.
Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.
In today’s podcast I talk about my new favorite productivity trick. I use templates for EVERYTHING. I cannot imagine not having access to them. They are super handy for several different reasons and I will share those with you later on.
Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Evernote from Timemanagementninja.com
Consider this to be a great introductory post on how Evernote can change the way you do life. Wouldn’t it be amazing to not have to constantly be trying to remember everything all the time and have instant access to all your thoughts, lists and other information?
Mikes on Mics Podcast
This is another great producivity podcast I have really been enjoying over the holidays. I powered down several episodes while traveling and Mike and Mike do a great show.
You’ve Got 25,000 Mornings as an Adult: 8 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine: James Clear wrote a fantastic article about why mornings really matter and how they can be the best time of day for anyone. If you haven’t taken advantage of mornings yet, I hope this convinces you.
Organize Your Life in 21 Days from Michael Lukaszewski
Michael, CEO of The Rocket Company, has put together a great free resource. I went through this email series late in 2013 and it is full of really practical tips to getting life more organized. It is done through quick email messages and gives you a few days to complete each task. I highly recommend it.
Up Your Productivity With Templates
How many times have you realized you missed doing a really simple task a couple of days back? For me, it was always sends the exact same email every Wednesday. I had to find a way to automate it, but it had to be customized every week. I tried putting a calendar reminder, but that didn’t work either. It would go off at the wrong time and I would still forget.
I also like to evaluate regular events (like Sunday) and wanted to go through the same questions every time. This was a little bit more familiar. I realized I just needed to start setting up templates to organize many of the same tasks I do each week. Here are a few reasons templates can nearly instantly up your productivity.
1. They focus life. If anything is important in our life, personal or work, it has to be part of our habits. We focus so much of what we do around regular tasks, like exercising, reading, prayer and even event preparation, committee emails and other communication tasks. Templates help us with consistency.
2. They help us complete unnatural work.
There are certain tasks I need to accomplish weekly I am not naturally wired for. But that doesn’t mean I can drop the ball. Having a template set up helps me to know it is coming and when it needs to be done.
3. They help us grow.
Templates keep us focused on what absolutely must be done. But they also help us track things. I use templates for many different things. Some are extremely task focused. Others tasks are template based because I want to build regular routines and rhythms. Doing the same thing over and over helps me with that.
My Weekly Tasks Template (pdf).
Tool Box Tip :
How many times do we know when we are worthless? I can tell you, without a doubt, I can’t get anything done around 2;30. So I don’t plan on it. I schedule really mindless tasks for this time. Or I take a quick nap or read a book. Getting over this 30-45 minute hump in my day the right way really affects what I do for the rest of the day.
I want to thank David Franks for winning our Christmas give away. He reviewed and rated The Productive Pastor on iTunes and shared on twitter. Thanks David!
I talked about the Evernote Essentials ebook on the episode. I highly encourage you to get this resource. If you have every wondered what you really should be doing, or could be doing with Evernote, this is the best way to learn.
A few episodes back I interviewed Jonathan Andersen and he gave us his template for Exegesis. In the shownotes I shared his template plus another one I was already using.