My Favorite Tool To Create Your Most Productive Week Ever!
As a free-spirited, big vision, dreamer I tend to want to push away anything that feels like structure or threatens to limit my spontaneity.
When I first left my day job to start Generation Distinct, I decided to try and keep my schedule loose and flexible in a way that would give me freedom.
I knew God was inviting me to follow Him and make a difference through starting this nonprofit, but I didn't want my ministry to end there.
I also desired to impact lives, love people, invest in my community, know Jesus more, serve abundantly, and pour myself out for the sake of the Gospel and to bring God's Kingdom to earth.
However, the lack of structure failed to provide the freedom I was hoping for. Instead, it often only led to discouragement as I realized I had no idea if I was accomplishing anything or what qualified as a “successful day.”
Instead of giving freedom to my schedule, the lack of structure only caused me to work more hours because I never knew when to end my work day or when I had accomplished “enough.”
I poured hours into my work, but I lacked a clear purpose or focus. This contributed to consistent overworking without actually accomplishing very much at all.
While I thought my structure-less work day would create room to serve, invest, and love, it actually only created more anxiety, less productivity and less time to do the things God calls all of His followers to pursue.
I didn't want to spend one more day pretending to be productive, all the while feeling too busy to acknowledge the nudges of the Holy Spirit to love, invest in, and serve the people and community all around me.
Finally, this past summer, I decided to try living according to a more structured workday for just one week. I was sure I would hate it, but I figured I would try.
Five days later, I was blown away with the freedom I experienced and I was hooked. I had more time than ever to spend time with my mentees, randomly serve my family, be present in my community, intentionally invest in my relationship with Christ, exercise, take adventures, and spend time in community. But, at the same time, I was also accomplishing more and experiencing more productivity in my work than ever before as well.
How is it that my productivity and my freedom both increased at once?
It is because of one, simple step I took to organize my day, keep track of my ideas, stay aligned with my personal priorities, and accomplish the most important items on my to-do list.
I am so excited to share this tool with you!
I call it “Freedom Scheduling.”
It is not designed just to help us have more free time or have more "me" time.
Rather, it is a structure designed to set us free from the cycle of achievement and reorient our life to be devoted to God
and the work He is inviting us into to live missionally in the places He has us.
Today, I am inviting you to join me as we discover the structured path to freedom.
Here are the five steps you can take today!
Grab a journal and divide the pages into 4 sections. Label them as follows:
Section A - Daily Grind
In this section, list the dates of your week with 5-10 bullet points underneath each day. This section will act as your daily to do list.
Section B - Creative Pile
This is the section of your journal where you can list any fun ideas, meeting notes, creative projects for the future, or random thoughts that pop into your head that you want to remember! This is the free-spirited section.
Section C - Master List
If you are a #3 on the Enneagram or a “to-do-list-aholic” like me, this will probably be your favorite section. This is the Master List of everything you can think of that you have to do. Your Master list will inform what you put on your daily to-do list. This will ensure you are not getting distracted with the urgent needs or random thoughts.
Section D - Personal Development
Whether you are a student, a young professional, a parent, or an entrepeneur, it is no secret we can get so distracted by all we have to DO that we forget to invest in ourselves to grow into the best leader, friend, family member and Christ follower we can be. This section ensures we don’t forget to take the time to prioritize personal development. One of the best investments you can make into your business, ministry, family, or community is to make a commitment to personal, spiritual and leadership growth.
Open up to section C. This is your Master List. Begin to unload your mind onto the page. Put everything you have thought of recently that you “have to do” on this page.
Dump everything that is taking up room in your brain onto this list. This may include something as small as sending a text message or as big as creating your business proposal. These items may be things you will accomplish today or things you don’t plan to accomplish for many weeks or even months. However, you will feel the burden lift off of your shoulders as you release your mind from having to remember everything you have to do.
Next, find Section D. This is similar to your Master List, except it is strictly for your personal development. In this section, write down everything you can think of that would significantly contribute to your growth as a leader, individual, or follower of Jesus.
This could include specific names of books you want to read, or the decision to find a mentor, or an online course you want to take, or a commitment to reading Scripture, or a podcast series you want to listen to, or a conference you want to sign up for.
Section A is where you will spend the majority of your time. Each evening, take ten minutes to plan ahead for the next day of structured freedom. Choose 5-10 items from your Master List to insert into your Daily Grind list.
Next, take a look at your Personal Development List and choose 1 item to put into your Daily Grind List. This way, you are making a commitment to both productivity AND personal development on a daily basis.
Now, it’s time to utilize the tool! Each day, wake up and take a look at your Daily Grind list to inform your priorities for the day. Once you complete this list, you will feel so much freedom to pour yourself out for the sake of Christ.
I was skeptical that any amount of structure could actually bring the daily freedom I was hoping for. However, I have never used any other tool that increased my productivity and my freedom like the, “Freedom Schedule.”
Don’t wait one more day. Join me in a one week challenge to discover your best life.
Take action, make a commitment and fully maximize your one and only life.
What tools or structures do YOU use to stay productive?