It’s time to conquer the chaos and become a chaos killer. Over the last few months, I’ve gotten a little too familiar with chaos and what it takes to climb out of it. But we aren’t going to talk about the dirty side, instead, I am going to share with you what it means to capture the chaos and keep it contained (so it can never come get you.)
It’s about doing, not tweaking by Carl Pullein This is a fantastic article on Medium (one of my new favorite content sites). The biggest takeaway we can all grab from it is realizing in this new world shipping, instead of perfection, reigns.
My new youtube channel: Chad Brooks In this, I’m sharing a little more about life (alongside my wife Meredith). I already have two ironman texas vlogs and a timelapse or two up.
Chaos is in a direct relationship to capacity. When your capacity is hit to it’s maximum, in any area, and pushes pass it, then chaos invades your entire life and slowly begins to take it over. Like the raptors in Jurassic park, it is finding the weakest link in your defense system. Once in, it is capable of taking down the strongest place in your life.
There are three posts of chaos keeping: space, schedule, and soul. Each of these forms a protective element to keep those chaos raptors from destroying your life and sneaking in.
What do the physical spaces of your life look like? They serve as an almost instant reading of how we can let chaos overtake us. One of my favorite differences between total destruction and total creativity is Casey Niestat’s studio. One day my office, study, studio, whatever will look like this.
Schedule What do you allow to run your day? Does your schedule run you or do you run your schedule? There is a big difference. The spaces you live and work in are a visible reflection of the chaos and how it orders your life. Chaos fills in all of the untended gaps and takes up space with distractions, reminders, and methods of life suck.
Schedules need a buddy. That buddy’s name is goals. The listlessness we can experience in life is the best bud of chaos. Remember that.
How are you taking care of yourself? If you are run-down and ragged out, things aren’t going to work out well. Your single, greatest defense system is a regular, rhythmic and routine time of prayer and scripture. Remember the twenty-mile-march.
Have you checked out the Productive Pastor Community? It’s an awesome place for ministry leaders to have productivity and time management resources. It’s absolutely free and connects you on Facebook to other folks in the community.
Being by yourself for that length of time is really odd. I was surprised how tough it was.
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule.
Sermons that have reach
Over a year ago I started working on a new version of my sermon worksheet. It has taken me ages to update this resource because I am making it 100x better. I am shooting for it to be out in April.
I have been getting more and more emails from people wanting to start podcasting their sermons. I TOTALLY believe this is a great idea for any church. I’ve started writing material to help anyone start podcasting, including buying equipment and what services they need to use.
Daily Journal I first started this daily journal habit years ago. It’s really quick. I note the day, weather, location, scripture and where my emotions are at. I learned this from Michael Hyatt. It’s the first thing I do when I sit in front of my computer in the morning.
My Weekly Template
This is simply my always-working-on template for running my week. Currently, it isn’t as task based as it used to be. Right now it is keeping track of some repetitive pieces of contacting that are important to me.
Sermon and Sermon Series Ideas
I have ideas in here that are YEARS old. I mean YEARS. All the way back to seminary. I don’t do big fleshing out in here…but I get the ideas out of my head to the level I will quit thinking about them. I might not ever use them, but I am letting that part of my brain work and wonder.
Things I Need to Do
Ok. This one can seem really weird. I have a running task list…most of them are medium levels of importance. This is a strategic list and it works hand in hand with my weekly and daily to-do list, especially when it comes to strategic tasks.
This is the newest. I made some pretty big goals for 2017. This note isn’t for working through these goals, just marking major milestones and bigger thoughts. I use this note to refer back to my goals pretty frequently, if not every day.
I hope these notes help you develop your own Evernote shortcut list.
Welcome to Productive Pastor. In this episode, I am sharing how I designed a productive study retreat. Can I mention how stoked I am about a STUDY RETREAT!!!!
I am spending a few days at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas. This should be a fantastic time for deep work and sermon preparation. I am also hosting a lunch get together for listeners of Productive Pastor. To find out the details, make sure you join the Productive Pastor Community on Facebook. I’ll be announcing and coordinating everything there.
Over the last year I have been working on a new version of my Sermon Worksheet, complete with a new eBook AND my first premium resource. I am wrapping up the last part of this project and can’t wait to share it with you. It has been a long time coming! If you want to get the old version of the sheet and get on the early bird list, just click here.
I’m also working on a how-to guide for starting a fantastic and high-quality sermon podcast. Did you know the Christian category is the largest on Apples Podcast store? This is because of sermons. I totally believe in the medium of audio podcasts and I want to help you leverage them for high impact in your community.
Designing a Productive Study Retreat
I took a sermon study retreat a few years ago. I just threw a bunch of books in my truck, grabbed a bag of frozen buffalo wings and went out. I got a few things done, but I mainly just took the time to rest. Looking back, I needed rest more than I actually needed to study.
Going into this retreat, I didn’t want to make the same mistakes. I intentionally planned what I knew I wanted AND needed to do. After planning my retreat, I read this fantastic article by Brian Jones about sermon preparation. It is called “How To Finish Your Sermon by Monday” and I was initially taken aback. But after reading I realized it gave me much more focus about the handful of goals I had for my sermon retreat. There are two important parts of designing a productive study retreat.
– come up with a plan and some goals
– order whatever supplies you might need (notebooks, pens, resources, etc)
– build out digital note taking systems (for me, it’s my evernote templates)
– print out whatever sermons sheets you need
– map out the time you have. set some goals.
– Find a few things to be excited about.
– Find a great place.
– find a great place to stay. For me, it has to have a good breakfast and be comfortable enough for later evening study sessions in the hotel room.
– start preparing for longer stretches of thought work. You want to be acclimated to it.
– stick to your map. Make sure to stick with your focuses.
– Make sure to have a note-taking system for long-term recall.
– Find something mindless to do as well. You are studying and doing large amounts of deep work. Your brain will keep itself active.
– Do something fun in the evening.
Do you work backward? I love it. Working backward means choosing to start with a preferred future in mind, not a problem to solve. You need to try it!
I’m super excited about how episode 71 (Deep Work with Isaac Hopper). It is turning into our fastest downloaded episode ever! I have some amazing interviews scheduled and parallel content for this spring. You don’t want to miss it.
Have you checked out Ministry Library yet? I’m creating some super practical video content for them this year. The only way to get it is to become a subscriber. It is a super worthwhile investment in your ministry. Sign up through this link and help support Productive Pastor.
The Benefit of Backwards
Working backwards is all about having and understanding the idea of preferred future. This is a key concept in leadership. It focuses on vision instead of problems. Working backwards simply means identifying the qualities of this preferred future that you have the ability to control. Here are the keys to working backwards
Have whiteboard days and hustle days.
These are some of my favorite tools. Both of these tactics including gathering your best dreamers AND doers together to plot out this preferred future. When you have action steps in place, it means drilling down and getting the work done. These are a huge tool.
Work from the perspective of a preferred future.
Getting this idea into your imagination is key. Understand you are going to strategically design steps backwards from this preferred future. You aren’t moving forward to fix problems. You are stating a future reality and scheming through which steps will get you there. And I literally begin working backwards. Inside this flow, you are able to consistently realize and create the situations to move forward.
Get into the space of the future by asking intentional questions.
In order to find this pathway, don’t initially think actions. Think about the emotions. What questions help you set the stage?
Then begin creating the system design.
Once you properly understand the emotion, you will be able to start realizing what the previous (next) step should be. If you get stuck, you go back into questions of emotion. When you are done, you will find that you have answered questions before people have ask them, then come up with super clear steps for people to take and cover all of your bases.
Chad Brooks is a United Methodist Pastor serving in Louisiana. Married to Meredith, he is currently starting a new church in northeast Louisiana. Host of the Productive Pastor Podcast and lover of motorcycles, Chad would love to find Bigfoot one day.