The Power of Purpose

What are you doing with your life? Just about everyone wants a meaningful life. Of course, life can feel meaningless, pointless, and absurd; just as the writer of Ecclesiastes. But most people when asked would desire to life a meaningful life. The desire for meaning is why figuring out your life's purpose is so important. Once…

Pastor as Monk (Sort of)

Cal Newport has a solid older blog post on the concept of "Monk Mode Mornings." Essentially, going monk mode in the morning means spending the morning doing deep work and scheduling any other meetings/people time in the afternoons. Applying the monk mode to pastors would mean focusing on your sermon prep and writing during the…

There’s Nothing to Fear

The Hurt Locker tells the story of various soldiers serving overseas, but it particularly focuses on those who disarm explosive devices. As you can imagine, trying to disarm bombs either before they explode or so that they don't explode is one of the most nerve-racking jobs in the military. The movie shows how such stress affects…

You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty Before the Lord

"I don't have to feel guilty in my relationship with the Lord, because it's my relationship with God." An older, wiser pastor spoke those words to me while we ate lunch together a few months ago. He told me that in his church circles, other pastors constantly exhort one another to follow certain kinds of devotional…

Digital Discipline

How much time do you spend on your phone? The answer may surprise you. From supposed "quick glances" to long hours scrolling through social media, mobile devices continue to grab people's attention. In his new book, Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport seeks to address the problems associated with having a life dominated by digital devices. The Problem:…

Questions on Deep Work

I love the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. It's probably been the most influential book on me in the last four years. You can find the series I did on the book here: one, two, three, four, five. But the book does raise a number of remaining questions that have to be worked through to develop…

Cut It Out…Shallow Work, That Is

If actually doing deep work is meaningful, then we the flipside is true: doing shallow work is not meaningful. So what it to be done? Rule #4 Drain the Shallows If you want to work deeply, then you must drain the shallows. You must attempt to rid your schedule of as much shallow work as possible.…

Be a Quitter

Author Cal Newport gives several "rules" for rebuilding your focus and strengthening your ability to produce high-quality work. First, we must make space for deep work. Second, we can embrace boredom. Next, Newport advocates for people to quite social media. Rule #3: Quit Social Media Internet sabbaticals are overrated. Why? Because such sabbaticals aren’t training your…

Embrace the Suck, I mean, Boredom

In the last post, I summarized Cal Newport's first rule of deep work and his suggestions on how to foster it. Now, I want lay out his next rule. Rule #2: Embrace Boredom You need to wean your mind from dependence on distraction (157). To strengthen your focus you must cut out the "fluff." It’s…

How to Go Deep (Work)

In order to succeed in today's economy, Cal Newport believes people must do "deep work": important, focused work. In his book, Newport lays out a few big rules for deep work and then draws out their implications. Rules #1: Work Deeply People have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it…