The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Jason's Productivity Tip #3: Firewalling...

Okay, again this isn't a new idea. I think I first learned the term and explanation from Merlin Mann. But firewalling has become a regular part of my approach to getting projects finished. So what is firewalling?

Essentially, firewalling is when you clear your space and work from all distraction and knock things out. Essentially, you unplug from the world, remove all the outside influences and get to work. Here is how it works for me:

I have found that the best time for me to firewall is early in the morning. I beat everyone to the office, look at or make a to-do list and get to work. I make sure the wifi is off on my computer, make sure my door is shut and set aside a certain amount of time to be firewalled. For me, I find an hour usually gives me the most productivity. And then I get to work taking on tasks and getting things done. So what do I tend to do in my firewall time?
- Plot calendar stuff for the next stretch. What is important that I need to be at and what things can I remove?
- Brainstorm lessons and series. I am in a venture where I write stuff not only for my youth ministry but for others as well. So I am constantly draining the brain-juice working up ideas for my youth group, the curriculum company or speaking engagements that I have coming up.
- Write cards and letters. I owe lots of people thank-yous and I use firewall time to get caught up.
- Clean and organize. As hard as I try to keep my work areas clutter free, I always need to revisit, clean and throw away.
- Busy work, like calendars, newsletter articles and more...
- Pray. Especially during firewall time in the mornings, I pray about what is coming up on that day and that God will give me wisdom in knowing how to deal with each situation.

And of course I have some advantages over others in regards to firewalling. I have my own office, I control my own hours and I have the ability to un-plug from things for short periods. I imagine if I shared space or worked in a cube farm, it could be a lot more difficult. But it is one of the ways I get things done.


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