DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The way of the Porsche

Written by: on March 22, 2019

Cal Newport’s first book we read, Deep Work, was a MAJOR game changer for me.  I mean like a serious life change. Because of this, I wanted to take this book very seriously. And so I did. I committed to taking this book as seriously as I could and incorporating as much of it into my life as I can.

To preface, I don’t feel like my digital uses are out of control. But I do know I want to develop as much as deep work into my life as possible. And this is what Digital Minimalism is all about. Taking your digital life out of things that distracts you from things important and into something’s that sends you into o true meaning of satisfaction. It’s not about living like a hermit as much as possible. It’s about what task or vision you are trying to accomplish, and what’s the least technologically invasive way to go about it. And that’s a beautiful question. It’s actually similar to how Porsche goes about designing its cars, as Jerry Seinfeld explains to Jay Leno. See video (1:24 mark) in footnotes![1] And here he talks about more Porsches and minimalism.[2]

So, in light of all of this, and because a few people seemed interested on my thoughts on this book, here is a brief response to the some of the most crucial ideas written about by Newport.

Digital declutter.

Well I can’t do that. I need to be on facebook to schmooze my products and ministries. I need to berate people’s feeds so they might partner or subscribe. But maybe I could just stop my own personal life posts and keep social media for minsitry/business? But if I don’t post personally, people will feel all my professional posts are all just gimmicks. But Newport gave the point that if you need it for work, you could set up rules around it.

New Economics

Love this. Whenever I read about this and Thoreau it blows me away that he was writing in the mid-1800s. His essential argument is to also consider life costs. A car may be only $5,000 dollars but what is the time stress and money to secure and maintain the car? What is the cost, but also what is the costs?

Ask 3 questions about technology, before you implement it.

  • Does this technology support something I deeply value?
  • Is it the best way to support this value?
  • How can I use this tool that maximizes benefit and minimizes harm?

Considering this list of technologies I employ at least weekly for my work (Slack, Evernote, Teachable, VoiceThread, Zoom, Calendly, Gemlius, Google Drive, Drop Box, Spark, Mevo) I really appreciate these questions and am committing them to memory. I wonder if these, or future ideas, are just good ideas but the life cost might make it not worth it. Newport’s example of the Amish was particularly interesting in this regard. The Amish are actually not anti-technology. If it’s useful they use it, test it, and consider it, and they ask those three questions listed above.

Social Media is not Social.

What a great line. There were a lot of suggestions when it came to social media. One of them being, “stop clicking like.” At first I thought that would be awesome. But then I realized (this may sound silly) but some of the pastoral care that comes from clicking like. Obviously this is not even 1% of what pastoral care should be, but still, my engagement in people’s lives by clicking “like” is meaningful. But his advice to us to not leave non-valuable comments. I can get on board with that.

Schedule your texting and calling times.

Done. Need to get better scheduling my others times (batching my email etc.).

Master leisure

Newport pointed out, “The more effort you put into leisure activities the more you will be rewarded with satisfaction and leave feeling energized.” I have felt this before but never thought to articulate it like this. I’ve known for a while that those who work with their minds should really have hobbies with their hands. Taking after Rick Warren, who I’ve seen his videos of him gardening, I began to try gardening as well. When I lived in Modesto and we bought our first home there, I bought 10 different fruit trees and planted them all throughout my back front and back yards. Asian Pear, Pomegranate, Apple, Cherry, Mandarin, Plum, Avocado, and a row of blueberry bushes, I planted and maintained the two years we lived there. We barely got any fruit from these tree’s, since we ended up moving after two years, but the hobby itself was very life-giving to me. Being in an apartment now it was much more difficult and sadder to be without this hobby.

Additionally, my plans are, (after graduation) to pick back up a much more physical hobby. Right now, I enjoy working out but I am considering something with a little bit more commitment and discipline, like picking back up Jui Jit Su. How cool would it be to have a D.Min. and a black belt?

Lastly, Newport’s idea of scheduling low quality activies was a little confusing. To me, this means something like doing a puzzle or some sort of non-extravagent but satisfying accomplishment. Candy Crush doesn’t count for this. When my wife and I have been in confusing seasons together or frustrating circumstances, doing Puzzles together has actually been a really great level of activity to do together, as boring as it may sound.

New Technology Rules

When you first wake up, how long until you check your email and facebook posts. This is something I used to do within seconds of waking up.  Lately Ive been waiting a bit longer, maybe a couple minutes. I think my rule should be more like 30 minutes, or after breakfast.

Solitude is vital

Time alone with your thoughts. I schedule a fair amount of work solitude. Whether that’s my door is closed, or im wearing my noise canceling head phones in my office. Newport’s point that solitude brings new ideas, builds appreciation, and helps human flourishing.

Use single purpose devices.

Done. Changing my kindle now. Downgrading device… ummmm not gonna happen. I disagree here. When I first started youth ministry, if I went on a trip I would need a laptop, camera, video camera… now I can do it all on my phone. That is much more minimalist marie kondo style I think.

Marie Kondo’s digital habits…

Speaking of Marie Kondo, for a fun mash-up I wanted to share with you Marie Kondo’s guide for decluttering repurposed for digital content. Marie Kondo writes that, “”The biggest mistake with digital tidying is focusing too much on what to discard”[3] and she shares that she does a digital purge once a week from my iPhone. Here are a few other key questions that may be helpful in dealing with our digital clutter.

  • What are you thankful for that your technology gives you?
  • What are you thankful for that your technology takes away from you?
  • What kind of mindset do you want to achieve?
  • What do you want to spend more time doing?
  • How specifically is your technology taking that time away from you?

Sounds amazing.

To end, here is a picture of my desktop. I think that gives me an F for this week.

 

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/video/2016/11/17/jerry-seinfeld-explains-why-a-porsche-is-the-essence-of-sports-car-perfection.html

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5JbEVaoNgQ

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/31/tech/marie-kondo-digital-clutter/index.html

About the Author

mm

Kyle Chalko

11 responses to “The way of the Porsche”

  1. mm Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Kyle,

    I was most looking forward to your post this week and you did not disappoint. So much helpful info in there, especially your talk on solitude! Thank you for all this.

    Do you get a Sabbath rest each week? 70% of my Pastors do not, and I think it is negatively affecting us. I am seeing more pastor burn out now than ever…

  2. Great post Kyle, I loved how you incorporated Porsche and Kondo into your post. (Ironically, Trisha used Kondo as well 🙂 ) I’m disappointed Deep Work got nixed from our reading list last semester because I have heard it is an amazing book, and I’m so glad it was such a game changer for you to be able to get so much more productive work done. I know I will benefit from it like I have this book. I have to admit, my desktop often looks like yours but I recently decluttered it and it feels much better to turn my computer on. Blessings to you on your digital minimalist journey.

  3. mm Jean Ollis says:

    Hi Kyle,
    You have indeed been intentional about deep work :). BTW, you need to clean up that desktop and put that stuff into files lol. Not only are you using technology to further your work/kingdom, your family are also heavily engaged. How do you plan to take all these “warnings” and apply them to parenting your two sweet boys?

  4. Great post, Kyle! I know exactly what you mean. I don’t dare show a picture of my desktop screen. I have multiple folders and open documents. It’s truly a nightmare. However, I did apply Newport’s ideas about Apps and deleted a lot of my social media applications, including my safari browser. It’s been a full month since I deleted the browser and I’ve never been more at peace. It’s a gift to have all the answers at your fingertips and a major stressor.

    You mention, “I need to be on facebook to schmooze my products and ministries.” Yes! I’m with you on this point. Facebook and Instagram are essential for LOUD. Honestly, if I didn’t have to use social media for business, I’d probably barely be on the platform; however, regardless of my comfortability or need for social media, I’m driven by the needs of my customers. Do you use Buffer, Hootsuite or another platform that enables you to cut down on your time online? I started using Later.com two years ago and it made a huge impact on my time management. I only create and schedule posts twice a week because all of my posts are automated. What software have you tried that helps you in similar ways?

  5. Shawn Hart says:

    Kyle, I actually appreciate you sharing your reflections on this reading; others do not realize what they are missing. I appreciate the quality time alone whenever I can get it; people basically frustrate and annoy me most days. Is that a bad confession to make as a minister. My life is so loud and busy…quiet is a blessing.

    Great post.

  6. Chris Pritchett says:

    You went all out on this one brother. Nice work. I can see how it resonated so well with you. It did for me as well. I am not sure if in one year from now much of my relationship with the digital world will have changed, but maybe. It takes intentionality and discipline and boundaries, I guess. I think this is especially important for young people who are still developing. I don’t want my kids’ neuropathways all messed up leaving them suffering from loneliness and depression because they’re addicted to SM.

  7. Kyle,

    I loved your post. And my jaw is still on the ground after seeing a photo of your desktop. 🙂

    Thanks for mentioning new economics where Newport skirts around the idea of using a different measuring stick for our lives. I think this is a very healthy way to approach life – in a way it is approaching it with a Kondo attitude: selecting which digital resource has access to our mind and time based on the value it brings to our lives.

    • mm Kyle Chalko says:

      haha hey Mark. Well the problem is that my macbook added a new feature which automatically groups like things into a kind-of folder. So normally it will just show a few folders, “pdf documents” “images” “movies” etc. so my desktop still looks clean mostly. but the problem is now I just plop a ton of stuff on the desktop and don’t clean it up. The view you saw was the expanded view. normally I only have 2 or 3 rows of icons on there.

  8. mm Dan Kreiss says:

    Kyle,

    It is a balancing act for sure. It is important to be able to utilize technology for ministry, particularly with emerging generations, but not to permit it to consume our personal lives.

    I agree that your desktop gives you a failing grade for this week. How do you even find anything on there? I think your folders need folders?

    • mm Kyle Chalko says:

      haha hey dan. Well the problem is that my macbook added a new feature which automatically groups like things into a kind-of folder. So normally it will just show a few folders, “pdf documents” “images” “movies” etc. so my desktop still looks clean mostly. but the problem is now I just plop a ton of stuff on the desktop and dont clean it up. The view you saw was the expanded view. normally I only have 2 or 3 rows of icons on there.

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