Sean McDowell | October 1, 2019

How I Get So Much Done

SeanMcDowell.org

“How do you get so much done?”

This is one of the most common questions people ask me. After all, I teach full time at Biola University, part-time at a Christian school in Orange County, co-host a podcast, blog regularly, have a YouTube channel, write books, have a busy speaking schedule, and am also a husband and father.

To be honest, I have hesitated to write this blog for a long time. There are many people much more productive than I am. I still can’t figure out how people like J. Warner Wallace, Tim Challies, and my father do everything they do!

Nevertheless, here are five things that help me:

First, have a larger vision. I love what I do. I am grateful to get to work in areas that I am passionate about–apologetics, culture, and engaging the next generation. If you want to get a lot done, part of the key is finding a larger vision that provides the right motivation. Some people find this in their profession, while others find it in a ministry outside work. For me, much of my ability to focus and get stuff done is because I believe deeply in what I am doing and don’t have to conjure up artificial motivation. So, what is your larger vision?

Second, stay in your lane. There are a ton of ministry opportunities each one of us could attempt. For me, I know my gifts and my “lane” well. The heart of my ministry is not professional philosophy, as it is for William Lane Craig. My central focus is not developing content for YouTube, as it is for Mike Winger. I am a speaker, teacher, and writer. While I am always looking for new opportunities, and constantly reevaluate the focus of my ministry, I know my “lane” well and stick to it. This helps me say “no” to opportunities that are not the best use of my time. So, what is your lane?

Third, delegate. There are many things I can do well, but there are many more things I don’t do well. For instance, I have minimal artistic skills. To compensate, I hire someone to create my PowerPoint presentations. I don’t have time to answer all the questions that come to my website, but I have a young apologist who helps. I am not tech savvy, so I hire someone to design my website. To have consistent, quality content on my blog, I occasionally have guest bloggers and also do interviews. You may not have the same needs as I do, or the same resources, but if you want to get a lot done, it is vital to delegate. So, what can you delegate today?

Fourth, pace yourself. In terms of travel, my dad keeps a pace that would burn me out. He is simply wired differently. My pace would probably burn other people out. The key is to find a pace that works for you and your family. I also try to eat healthily, work out, and get good sleep. Occasionally I take naps. And sometimes I take an afternoon off to go on a bike ride. In my experience, pacing myself actually helps me to get more done. So, how can you better pace yourself?

Fifth, plan your day. One of the first things I do in the morning is plan my day. I list the things I need to do that day, in terms of priority, and then tackle them one by one. I try to avoid distractions through social media or personal calls (except my wife or kids, which I always answer). Given that I am a “morning person,” I try to focus on the more intellectually draining tasks while I have the most energy. Answering emails can wait. So, how can you better plan your day?

I hope these help!

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, the National Spokesman for Summit Ministries, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.