Archives For Productivity


iPhone Photo by Jeff Scurlock

It’s 10:50 in the morning. I’m sitting in a booth at the local McDonalds. I’ve been here since about 9:00.  My seat is next to a window. I can see the traffic going by and the sun is pouring in.  Some days this McDonalds is my office. Why McDonalds? Because my community doesn’t have a coffee shop with deep arm chairs and low light. That would be nice.

A very precious lady from my church came by about an hour ago and expressed to me that she knew I was having a hard time getting anything done with all these people around me. It’s quite the opposite.  I don’t do it often but it seems that I can get more done in McDonalds that in the supposed sanctity of my office.  There my desk is populated with notes, invoices, clutter and more. Things that distract me and draw my attention away from what I need to be doing.  Here at McDonalds the only thing on my desk are a salt and pepper shaker, my phone, my coffee and of course my computer.

I think the employees here think I’m homeless.  Or maybe the owners of this establishment might want to charge me rent for this space. Or, I might get the gossip lovers fired up. I can hear it now. One gossiper is talking to another fan of gossip saying something like, “I’ve been by McDonalds several times this morning and that preacher’s truck has been sitting there all morning. Surely we’re not paying him to hang out at the coffee shop.” Please excuse my limited grasp at humor.  I don’t have any people in my church that are like that (wink).

The truth of the matter is I’ve had a quite productive morning.  Life is full of distractions. Sometime escape is discovered in the  most unlikely place.

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It’s been four days since the iPhone was officially released. My iPhone 5 had a rough life. I didn’t use a case and I was on my third screen glass which was broken. So I decided that I would get the new 6 and I got it the day it was released. I’ve never had new technology immediately. I’m usually late.

I first struggled as to if would get the 6 or the 6 Plus.  The extra features in the video camera on the Plus appealed to me. I tried for days  leading up to the release to find someone who had at least a dummy model of the Plus so I could see how it fit in my hand. It never happened. Friday September 19th I stood in my local Verizon store waiting for my turn at the desk. While waiting I did some quick research. I found out the size of the iPhone 6 Plus was almost identical to that of the Galaxy Note 3. I could get my hand on the demo Note 3 in the store and it was HUGE. There was no way that with my hands I could do any one handed operation with the Plus so my decision was made.  I would get the iPhone 6.

About forty five minutes later I walked out of the store, new 64 GB iPhone 6 in hand. Here are my first impressions.

  • I love the size. The Phone (in a Trident Case) fit Perfectly in my hand.  It’s still really big compared to the 5.  It’s still a stretch for me to do some things one handed but I love it.
  • The display is extremely sharp. I can’t imagine videos being any better.
  • The camera takes exquisite pictures.
  • The internal speaker is robust. Great sound.
  • The internet speed is noticeably  faster than my old 5.
  • I could have updated my old 5 to IOS 8 but did not. I love IOS 8 for so many reasons. One thing I really like is the response when using voice to text, which I do a lot with texting. IOS 8 displays each word as it is spoken.
  • Phone calls are crisper.

WHAT I DO NOT LIKE ABOUT THE IPHONE 6……… Drum Rolllllllllll.    The Lock Button. The lock button has been moved from the top of the phone to the right side. After four days I’m still reaching a finger to the top to lock my phone. I know I will get used to it but it seems to me to be an unnecessary change. Change just for the sake of change.

Bottom Line: So far so good, I really like the iPhone 6. I know this has not been a technical review. If you want that go to CNET or some other tech site. This is just me talking to you. Be Blessed.



Image Courtesy of Flikr

So many people are naturally productive, morning people. They are like the army. They get more done before 6am than most people do all day.  That’s the kind of person that I want to be, a productive morning person.

When I was a young man (20’s and 30’s) I hated having to be up early. As I have grown older I’ve seen a shift.  Some would say that it’s just being older and older people require less sleep. Really?

Not only do I now want to rise early, it’s important to me to be productive. It’s important to me that I  spend time in Bible reading and prayer as the first part of my day.

Not long ago I decided to make a shift in my schedule. I love to play golf and honestly I’m not very good at it but I do want to be better. I’ve heard it said many times that any pastor who can shoot par golf is playing too much golf.  I’m nowhere near to being in danger of shooting par golf but I did make a decision to play more golf. Why?

  1. I need to exercise daily and walking a golf course is great exercise. Any person who say’s otherwise has never done it or is already in much better physical conditions that I.
  2. Golf is a great stress reliever for me. While I do get stressed about my golf game when things are not going well with the game, being on the golf course helps me release a lot of stress that I deal with as a human being, a husband, father and pastor.  Felicia says I’m a nicer person when I play golf.
  3. I like to go to golf outings with other pastors and I’d like to be able to hold my own with them so as to not be embarrassed. So…. I’ve committed a year to getting better.

I’ve purchased a one-year membership to the local municipal golf course and have committed myself to walking 9 holes of golf every morning that pastoral demands and weather allow before going to the office.  It’s really no different than the guys who play golf in the afternoons after getting off of work except I do mine in the morning and work later.

One of the things I knew I had to do in order to play golf every morning was I must have my priorities in order. I knew that I must get up, spend time in the Bible and prayer before heading out to hit a few balls.

To get up, have ample time in the Word and in prayer I had to have a plan. It’s no different for you.  Your excuse that, “I’m just not a morning person,” is just that, an excuse.

Here are some keys to getting up earlier, early enough to read the Bible and pray before heading out to work.

  1. Get enough sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation Adult sleep needs for adults vary from seven to nine hours per night.  I fall into the seven-hour range.  If you’re going to get up earlier then you must have a plan to get enough sleep. Which leads to……
  2. Go to bed on time.  If you need nine hours of sleep and you want to get up at 5am that means you must be in the bed falling asleep by 8pm. Or if you’re like me, 10pm.   It’s just a matter of habit. If you’re in the habit of staying up very late doing whatever you will not be able to get up earlier with any success.  I’ve heard it said that it takes twenty-eight days to make something a habit. I can’t always be in bed by 10. Sometimes family and church demands have me up later and sometimes in the middle of the night. But as much as humanly possible my goal is to be asleep by 10pm.
  3. Set an alarm.  If you’re not accustomed to getting up at a certain time you will need an alarm.  If you are prone to hitting the snooze button put the alarm away from your bed. If you have to get up to turn it off your less likely to hit the snooze.
  4. Brush your teeth and take a shower. For me there’s something invigorating about having a fresh feeling mouth.  I don’t take a shower first thing in the morning because I’m headed to the golf course and I take a shower at the office afterward,  but for you it might be just the ticket to getting the cobwebs out.
  5. Get fully dressed.  No slipping back under the covers if you have your shoes on. Right?
  6. Turn on lights in the house.  A dimly lit house is not conducive to waking up.
  7. Have a cup of coffee.  This is a must for me. Drinking something with some caffeine in it to help me wake up.  Scientist have concluded that caffeine in moderate portions is actually healthy.  For you it might be an energy drink or a diet soft drink.

By now not only are you up, you should be somewhat alert.  Sit with your cup of coffee and spend at least fifteen minutes reading the Bible. Once you have read your Bible spend another fifteen minutes in prayer (with a list).  During this time I also read a few pages from whatever book I’m in.  A good daily devotional is a great tool for early mornings too.

It will take some work and there may be some lapses.  Stick with it. Let’s all get up and not only be awake but be productive.