I am currently spending "time away" to work and write on a Church Unique follow-up piece.  In pursuit of time filled with intense personal production and high creativity, I have found these four ingredients to be essential:

#1 Create or find your ideal environment. My greatest productivity happens in context. For me it's a place in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Everything from the climate and the landscape to the food and the art, come together to help me be my best. I like Santa Fe because of the latent spirituality that is far from Christ. I love cultivating spiritual conversations as I write about leadership and the mission of Jesus in the world.

#2 Fine tune your "fuel mix." When I produce, I like what I call side-ways inspiration. I like reading stuff that may not directly pertain to what I'm writing, but models thoughtful expression and creativity. I like art and conversation with people as fuel too. On this trip I hand picked about 6 books that I will scan or deep dive into as I feel inspired. I do this concurrently with my own writing. If you have never thought of how to fine-tune your fuel mix, give it a try. Experiment and see what happens! 

#3 Know your rhythms and work them over and over. There are several rhythms that are important to me. One is the macro rhythm of getting away at least 3 times per year. Second, is the rhythm that works in and around intense bursts of productivity. They happen best in a 3-6 day period, with a punctuated intensity. For example, I may enjoy a slow lunch then work for 2 hours, then go on a mountain bike ride and work for 2 hours, and so on. For me, the staggering effect is highly productive. The key is to study yourself and know your rhythm. An important aspect of this is knowing how your physical body works best when you are producing. Think like an athlete in terms of "creative productivity fitness." 

# Ruthlessly eliminate distractions. After you have done the first three things you have to gut everything else. A thousand things will pull you away from the most important thing. Find your laser-focused state of being. Keep in mind that your context, fuel and rhythm may have some built in positive "distractions" based on your personality. And that's fine. Remember that most people don't accomplish great things, not because greatness is not in them, but because they have never learned to focus.
Topics: Date: Jun 25, 2010 Tags: creativity / ministry productivity