- Turn off notifications. If your phone is beeping at you every time you get an email or text, you’ll never be able to focus. You’ll be less present to the important work of visioning, preparing to teach or preach, or even to the conversations you have with others.
- Use a timer. I’ve used a timer for household chores for years. I can do something for 15 or 20 minutes and then I stop. I’ve found it helps with work, too. If you are stuck on the sermon, set a timer and tell yourself you can stop after 20 minutes. Or 40. Then you can take a break. Some people swear by the Pomodoro method, which is 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off. Right now I’m working for two 40 minutes chunks before checking email. That’s how I’m writing this article. If I check email first, my thoughts are distracted by whatever has come in, and I’m not as focused.
- Use an accountability partner. I send my friend Jill an email each morning on what I want to do that day, and another at the end of the day. I’m much less likely to get distracted by unimportant matters when I know I have to report in. And if something truly important comes up that changes my plan, I can report that. Your partner doesn’t even need to be in ministry-Jill is an editor and writer.
- Be clear about purpose. I know my overall purpose is to help leaders grow. If I’m spending too much time reading other people’s writing online and not doing my own writing, I won’t contribute as much to leaders. I’m also thinking about my purpose each three months and every day. It helps me stay on track. I interrupt myself less because I want to achieve my purpose.