Insights from Deep Work

By Jim LaDoux
Every year, I read Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. It's a book that helps me reset my intentions for the year, carve out time for the things that matter most, and let go of the continuous distractions of emails, social media posts, and Zoom meetings that crowd out less urgent yet more important work that has a greater long-term impact on my life and my work settings. Specifically, I need to schedule time every week to address the pressing issues in my life. Some "deep work" projects I'm tending to right now include:

1 | Create new content for ministry initiatives
  • Update coaching school curriculum.
  • Create new content for coaching podcasts and Youtube videos.
  • Develop a MCC-level Coaching program that launches in 2024.
  • Create "plug and play" master slides that can be used for both training and coaching.

2 | Develop new ministry skills
  • Continue to mastering the process of creating Youtube and podcasting content.
  • Increase my mastering of Microsoft Teams, ActiveCampaign, and Wordpress.
  • Participate in writing and storytelling courses.

3 | Address thorny issues in life and ministry
  • Complete the "settling in" process of moving to a new home.
  • Align the curation of content around key ministry products and services.
  • Make decisions related to which teams, task forces, and meetings I'm involved in.

As part of my Annual Leadership Formation Plan, I'm seeking to do less, go deeper. I've discerned what I'm saying "no" to this year, and I'm also setting aside 90 minutes (5:30-7:00am)  on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings to do address "deep work" projects. In addition, I set aside one week a quarter to focus on a single significant project.

If you serve a church, consider how setting aside deep work could benefit your church. How about scheduling a meeting that has just one issue to address such as:
  • Becoming an more inviting church.
  • Deepening intergenerational relationships.
  • Helping families form faith at home.
  • Revamping your nominating and onboarding process.
  • Developing a year-round plan for growing financial generosity.

What if you decided to focus every member's attention on just one main theme for the the year such as:
  • We are called to connect.
  • Growing in gratitude and generosity.
  • Forming faith every day.
  • Befriending our neighbors.

I find the managing too many projects perpetuates mediocrity. Perhaps it's time not only for you, but also your church, to do less so you can do what really matters in life and ministry.


  1. When and where you find time to do deep work
  2.  Which facet of life or work would you like to rethink and reinvent?
  3. How would your schedule need to change to make space for deep work?  
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