002 – Reagan Rose
Reagan Rose is the founder and voice behind Redeeming Productivity, a blog, podcast and resource for all things faith-based productivity.
Do yourself a favor, jump over to his blog and sign up, so you start getting the Reagan’s Roundup newsletter, and go subscribe to his podcast to hear about technology, techniques, and theology in the light of Scripture.
Reagan is based out of the LA county in southern California and was kind enough to jump on a quick call with us to discuss everything from productivity apps, drinking two glasses of water first thing in the morning, and why even through hard work and productivity we need to be reminded to be dependent on God and His plan.
I honestly think Reagan and I could sit down and talk for an entire day about faith-based productivity, so I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
What is Redeeming Productivity?
I started redeeming productivity probably about three and a half, maybe four years ago now. I started it while I was in seminary working on my master of divinity and originally called it the Pastor’s Week. I was gearing it towards guys who were like me that were in pastoral ministry or training towards pastoral ministry and trying to be a bit more productive.
I kept running into fellow students at school who would show up and they’d say, oh, was that paper due today?
I was discovering that other folks who were in the ministry weren’t thinking about some of the basic things of how to be productive or how to manage your time.
And so that’s what inspired me to do it.
About a year and half later a friend of mine said, hey, you know most everything you’re talking about applies to just about any Christian, so why don’t you rebrand it not just for pastors?
I changed the brand and the name to Redeeming Productivity and then in August of 2019 I started the podcast.
With the podcast it’s been exciting to see how engaged people have been with it. A lot of people in the productivity space have podcasts and people that are wanting to be efficient with their time would rather listen to something while they’re working out or driving to work, etc.
”At the beginning of the Covid lockdown I was like, this is awesome. I was working out every day, doing all this stuff that I always wanted to do, but then the days started to bleed into each other. You don't know the day of the week anymore. And the productivity fades with it.Reagan Rose
When do you find yourself to be most productive; mornings or evenings?
I am definitely a morning person. It’s just how I’m wired. I usually wake up around 4:30am or 5am and do the quiet time thing, pray, and just spend sometime with the Lord and preparing for the day.
Ideally the first thing I’ll do is get up, go to the kitchen, and drink two full glasses of water. I read a few years ago that you lose a lot of water when you’re sleeping and that your brain needs a lot of water to function best.
Then I put the coffee on, and let that start brewing.
While the coffee is brewing I’ll open up the Bible and read whatever’s on my reading plan for the day, usually three or four chapters. Then I will spend time in prayer or go through a prayer list. At that point I will open up my computer and either start journaling or I’ll work on the Redeeming Productivity stuff. Usually by then, it’s around seven, and my son is stirring in the other room and wants me to get him up. So the morning routine ends itself.
At the beginning of the Covid lockdown I was like, this is awesome. I was working out every day, doing all this stuff that I always wanted to do, but then the days started to bleed into each other. You don’t know the day of the week anymore. And the productivity fades with it.
What spiritual disciplines come naturally and which ones are more of a struggle to get into?
I think it’s been different in different seasons of life for me. When going into a trial or when things are difficult, prayer comes very naturally cause I’m desperate, but I think it’s the opposite when things are going really well.
Like right now things are going well for my family. There’s not much to complain about. So in this season, this is bad, this is wrong, but I forget to pray unless I plan for it.
The Bible reading thing comes pretty naturally just because it’s been a habit since my youth. And so I’m always going through some type of Bible reading plan.
There are some days I get more out of it than others, but I at least am continuing down the checklist and working my way through books of the Bible.
”What's funny is it's technically a theology book, not meant to be about productivity, but as I read it and start thinking more on the greatness of God and who He is and His attributes I find myself more excited to serve Him and wanting to be more productive.Reagan Rose
Do you have tools, books or resources you’ve used in the past 90 days that have helped with faith-based productivity?
I’ve been using an app called notion, which I really like, I’ve done some videos and blogs about it and I use it for a lot of stuff. It’s kinda like Evernote and several other things combined into one.
I’ve been trying to make a prayer calendar and a prayer list database in it. That’s been my attempt to overcome that the spiritual discipline of prayer doesn’t always come naturally to me. You can make tables almost like in Microsoft Excel, so I can put all the different prayer requests in one place and associate them with people in another database, put categories on them, and then assign them to a day of the week.
If you’ve ever used the app PrayerMate, this is doing the same thing, but maybe a bit more deliberately. So now when people ask me to pray for something, I can put it on my list and I know what I am praying for Monday, Tuesday, etc.
I can mark when the Lord answers the prayer and I be thanking him and praising him for that.
Another app I’ve been using everyday for the past two weeks is called NotePlan 2.
If you’ve ever done bullet journaling or read about that, it’s sort of like a digital version of that. I’ve been doing bullet journaling for over the last 12 months and I found this app that combines your calendar with notes, tasks, and events.
As far as books go, I’ve been reading a book by Matthew Barrett, called None Greater; the Undomesticated Attributes of God.
What’s funny is it’s technically a theology book, not meant to be about productivity, but as I read it and start thinking more on the greatness of God and who He is and His attributes I find myself more excited to serve Him, wanting to be more productive, and a better steward of my time in my life because that’s a God who’s worthy of glory, and worthy of service.
Is there anything that God is speaking or pressing into you at the moment?
Lately I’ve just been reminded about my dependence on God and my helplessness. Sometimes in the productivity space, even as Christians, you can start to think that if you just set up all your systems exactly right, fine tune all the details, and you’re super productive every day that it guarantees that everything’s gonna work out, like your plans or dreams are going to come true.
I’m probably like a lot of people, I had a lot of big plans for 2020, what I was going to do with Redeeming Productivity and different things like that.
It makes me think of Proverbs 16:9.
Hard work and planning are good. I don’t think that the Lord would have us just sit on our butts and wait for him to do something. Work and productivity are presented to us as good things in scripture. But unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers work in vain.
He is the one who makes things happen.
The big thing is just being reminded that I’m totally dependent on God and not make an idol out of my own productivity, or lean on my own abilities or plans.
I have to lean fully on God, even while working hard and being productive.