17 Tips for Staying Productive

Every so often I come across a blog post that is just worth a read and re-read on a regular basis. One of those for me is one called 17 Tips for Staying Productive in Ministry by Pastor Rick Warren. There is nothing genius about any of the tips. It’s not super in depth on any one point or provide neat step by steps on calendar management or anything like that. These tips are just that. Short, useful, common sense oriented, easy to remember tips that have helped me quite a bit, and I think they can help anybody who has a lot of things to do…especially related to ministry. I encourage you to read the whole article, but here are my top five:

  1. Put your plans on paper. Write out what you want to accomplish. Spell it out. Dawson Trotman said, ”Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” If I can say it and I can write it down, then it’s clear. If I haven’t written it down, then it’s vague. A lot of us go around with anxiety which is this free-floating, vague fear that I’m not getting it all accomplished. Just the very fact of putting it down, a lot of times, gives credence and relief to your mind and you’re able to focus on it.
  2. Remind yourself of the benefits of completing the job. Jesus did this. The Bible says in Hebrews, that Jesus endured the cross because He looked to the joy beyond it. He looked beyond the cross and saw the result of it.
  3. Do a small part of it right now. In other words, Get started. Do a small part of it right now. Don’t stall. Take it a bite at a time and give it five minutes.
  4. Know your energy patterns and take advantage of peak times. Some of you are morning people. Some of you are night people. Have you learned that at some points in the day, you are brighter than at other times? You’re more alert, you have more energy. There are times when you’re habitually at your best. The only people who are at their best all the time are mediocre people.
  5. Enlist a partner. If you’ve got a big task and it’s up to you, you’ll probably procrastinate. But if you’ve got somebody else and can say, “We’re going to meet and get this thing going”, you’re more likely to get it done.

As I said, these are just a few of my favorites. I’ve found all 17 to be useful at one time or another.

Related resources

Over the years we’ve talked a lot about productivity resources on the WELSTech Podcast. So I won’t relist them here, but recently we discussed the “Bullet Journal” which fits nicely with these tips, as well as a series of reviews of the excellent book by Matt Perman entitled “What’s Best Next: How The Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.” Check those out as a good place to start on your productivity journey.

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Productivity Tips from

Now that we’ve arrived at another new year, it’s appropriate to highlight an excellent blog that not only provides productivity focused articles, but from a ministry perspective. You can find it at

During my time in the ministry and now consulting with many other pastors and teachers about productivity, it is clear to me that one of a called worker’s primary administrative challenges is time and task management. Within minutes their day can be turned upside down with a simple phone call, email, or after church/school conversation. They need to juggle hundreds of tasks and projects, all with real deadlines, and then be able to put everything on hold to address the many urgencies that ministry presents. As a result, they need a good productivity discipline that makes sense for them and their work.

I’ve been following Tim Challies for some time and found many of his articles helpful, if not productivity game changers. I’d say that nothing he writes on productivity (he writes about many other things as well) is “new” in the productivity world. You can see themes from people like David Allen who wrote “Getting Things Done,” and other sources. But he packages these ideas in meaningful bites and weaves them together that somebody in ministry can chew on and digest.

Here are some relevant links from his site:

If you are looking for a good place to start thinking about, or rethinking your productivity habits in 2017, you might want to start with a series of articles he wrote back in 2014 entitled How To Get Things Done. They are excellent.

One of my favorite productivity entries in the series is Using Your Calendar Effectively. He goes into some detail talking about what should and shouldn’t go on your calendar – an appropriate topic as you look at your 2017. Tim also clarifies the difference between three vital productivity tools: 1) Information Management, 2) Task Management, and 3) Calendar/Schedule Management. He makes a great case for three distinct tools and then walks through relevant examples of what goes where. Very helpful.

Related resources

Disclaimer: Ministry Resources identified on WELSTech do not all come from Lutheran sources or always adhere to WELS confessional statements. They are presented as resources that may provide value for your ministry, but assume appropriate and discerning usage.

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095 – Tech Tabletalk with Young Pastors

This week the WELSTech Podcast features a special roundtable discussion with three pastors from the Seminary Class of 2007.

The discussion:

Ministry and technology reflections – A recent WELSTech poll of the Seminary Class of 2007 focused on technology usage and revealed some interesting results.  Martin and Sallie are joined by three pastors from that class who have recently completed their second year of ministry and were willing to share their experience with technology thus far.

Koschnitzke Casmer Huebner

Ministry resources:

(34:29) Video Tutorials for Logos Bible Software

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Coming up on WELSTech:

  • (59:35) WELSTech & YOU! Our 100th WELSTech episode is fast approaching and we need your help to make it special.  Tell us how WELSTech has impacted your public ministry or personal life, and we’ll enter you into a drawing for a WELSTech 1.0L Sigg Water Bottle (retail value $27.49).
  • Next week we’ll look at chapter 10, Failure for Free, from Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody. (Release date 09/09/09)

The featured artist:

(1:03:38) This week we close with the music of WELS artist, Mike Westendorf ( – Look Out from his CD titled ”Climb The Mountain”

Get involved: