Jordan Raynor on How To Redeem Your Time for Peaceful Productivity
Do you struggle with time management and work-life balance? Jordan Raynor, a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and executive chairman of the tech startup Threshold 360, knows firsthand what it means to be busy yet peacefully productive. Raynor reveals how we can be the most productive versions of ourselves by embracing seven timeless time management principles drawn from the example of how Jesus lived. Some of the principles he discusses are how we can find meaningful connection with God by starting each day with the Word, how we can dissent from the kingdom of noise by creating room for silence, and embracing productive rest by observing a Sabbath. If you are ready to embrace a more purposeful and productive Christlike version of yourself, join us today.
Jordan Raynor on How To Redeem Your Time for Peaceful Productivity
Hey, my friend, welcome to the influencers podcast. And I think all of us would like to come to the end of our day, lay our head on the pillow and say, that was a good day. We all have this gift of 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week, 1,440 minutes a day. And we’d like to make the most of them. So as we share today with some interesting perspectives on making the most of our time, redeeming our time, we are joined with a wonderful, wonderful guest. Jordan Rainer is a entrepreneur over and over and over again that makes him a serial entrepreneur. He squeezes a lot out of his life. So it’s going to be interesting to talk to him. He is a bestselling author. He is authored the master of one he’s authored called to create in the book that is just emerging and just coming out redeeming your time. He has signed seven book deals. He has built two businesses. He is currently the executive chairman of a tech startup threshold 360, which has raised millions of dollars in venture capital to create 360 degree immersive experiences in every public location on the earth. Prior to that, he is the co-founder of citizen Bester, which is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform with government agencies. He is a highly sought after public speaker. He speaks on the topics of faith and work. He’s spoken at Harvard university, done 10 X talks. He has served in the white house under president George Bush, and he’s wise enough to be a native of Florida, the Tampa bay area. He has a wonderful wife Kara and three beautiful daughters, seven five, and one, and Jordan, we are glad to welcome you to the influencers podcast. Thanks for joining us.
It’s a joy to be with you, Scott. Thanks for having me
while you’re taking some of your time to invest in us and all of those that are interested in increasing the influence of their life. And you have a lot on your plate. You’re a father of young children. You are a husband and you want to be successful as a husband. You run a company, you write best-selling books. How do you squeeze it all in? And how do you make the most of your time? And what was the inspirational moment to write this new book coming out, redeeming your time?
Why it’s Important
Yeah, I think answering that inspiration question will get us to how I do it. So, you know, I, I’ve always been obsessed with good time management. You know, I believe that good time management is part of our response to the gospel. Paul makes is pretty clear in Ephesians 5:16, where this phrase “redeeming your time” comes from in over the course of my career. I’ve read, I don’t know, 40 to 50 books on the topic of time management. And I’ve always had two big problems with those titles. You know, first, most time management books are centered on what I would call works based productivity, right? The idea is, Hey, you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’re feeling swamped. Follow the authors system, do exercises X, Y, and Z. And then you will find peace was a Christ follower. I believe we could start with the opposite premise, what I call grace based productivity, which says that through Jesus Christ, we already have ultimate peace with God.
So yeah, I do time management exercises to help me redeem my time, but I don’t do them to get peace. I do them in response to the peace that’s already been given to me and the second problem I have with most time management books. Scott is I have never read a time management book, that accounts for how the author of time managed His time when He came to Earth in the Person of Jesus Christ, Christian or not. I think it’s pretty hard to dispute that Jesus was the most productive person who has ever lived. Right? We might not think that the gospels have a lot to say about how he stood at his time, but they do. We just got to read the gospels for what they are biographies of the life of Jesus Christ. And he didn’t walk around with a to-do list or a calendar, but you do see Jesus and Matthew, mark, Luke, and John, dealing with distractions at work and fighting for solitude and seeking to be busy without being hurried. Right? So this book redeem your time is really all about the seven timeless time management principles for how Jesus did it, how he was the most productive person who ever lived. And I’ve mapped those seven principles to more than 30 hyper practical practices to help us all live. Like Jesus did walk like Jesus walked today in the 21st century,
You have 31 practices. Yep. Do you have some favorites? Do you have to do them all? Do you pick some of them?
Purpose of Intentionality
That’s such a good question. I hate it. When you approach a book and the author is like, Hey, you gotta do the whole system or it won’t work. That’s not my approach here. I basically said, Hey, listen, here’s these 30-ish practices. If you just implement one, it can be life-changing. I’ve been really excited. We, we, we just surveyed early readers of the book and 97% of them said they found at least two game-changing practices for redeeming their time. So one of my personal favorites I’ll just share right off the bat probably. One of the most life-changing for me is just allowing myself to be comfortable in the silent crevices of my day. Let me, let me explain what I mean, Scott.
When you look at the gospel biographies, Jesus spent a phenomenal amount of time in quiet solitude. The gospel is the lonely places or solitary places. And we’ve got to do the same in order to hear ourselves think in order to help hear ourselves, be creative, to prioritize our to-do list effectively the listen to God’s voice. But we can’t do that if every single second of our day is filled with noise, be it this podcast, be it checking the news on our phone or checking notifications. So one of the simplest practices in the book is just stop filling the crevices of your day with noise. The next time you’re in line at Starbucks for three minutes, be the one person in line, not looking at their device. The next time you have a 10 minute errand to run, don’t start a podcast or listen to the news, just sit there and be quiet and allow the Holy Spirit in a time of solitude to prioritize the things that you’re spending time on. So that’s just one of the 32 practices, probably the easiest for listeners to start practicing today.
So you practice that catching a few moments in line. Do you have a time in your day or that you found that I want to carve that time out, especially for that principle?
Totally. Yeah. So first hour my morning, I’ll wake up at five. I’m at my dining room table from five to 6:00 AM before my kids get up. And that is a, that is a time of quiet. More specifically time to hear my own thoughts, but also listen to the word of God. That’s the time I’m studying the word, praying and response to the word. So that’s one. The other time of my day, I go for a 45 minute run every morning after my first two hour block of deep work. And when I’m running, I’ve got these, you know, AirPods in my ears, but I’m actually not listening to anything. I just have them there. So I don’t look like a weirdo running around my neighborhood without listening to anything. But that times crucial for me, Scott. And when I find the days at which I don’t do my run, I’ll find myself doing the creative connection between ideas at the least opportune times when I’m having dinner with my kids, trying to make creative connections between ideas I had throughout the day, because I did not make the space to be quiet and just think on my run that morning.
So you talk about and combined faith, scripture, Jesus, and time all together, and you believe there’s a real synergy between all of those topics. Does someone have to be a person of faith to enjoy redeeming the time to get content out of it? Explain that?
Yeah, not at all. So, and here’s why, again, going back to what I said a few minutes ago Christian or not, I think it’s pretty hard to dispute the Jesus Christ as the most productive person who ever walked the earth. We literally measure time before after, right. It’s crazy. And so you know, I, I think we’re all always looking for inspiration as to how to make the most of this vapor of a life. And I think the best inspiration of the world, the best model in the world is Jesus himself. And listen, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, they were four biographies of the life of this person that I believe was God. So Christian or not, you can look at those biographies expounded one in this book expounded upon in scripture itself and see how the most productive person ever lived. And that’s what this book is. That’s really the heart of this book.
So one of the theological words or biblical words that you talk about is something called Sabbath and someone may or may not be acquainted with that word.
Can you unpack it a little bit and then talk about how this relates with your daily life and what you recommend others to do?
The Power of Rest
There’s this concept of Sabbath and it comes right from Genesis one and two. We see God himself working for six days and then he rests on the seventh. If you believe that God is omnipotent, he’s all powerful. He certainly didn’t need to rest, but he did it, I believe as a way of modeling for us the best way to do life. And here’s this great science is catching up to what scripture has said for millennia. Scientists are starting to understand that the most productive people in the world, the people who even live longer are people who observed this weekly rhythm of rest Sabbath a day full of things, good things, but also a day of ceasing. And for me, Scott, yeah, I grew up in a Christian home. I never knew anybody who was serious about observing the Sabbath. And frankly, I viewed it as a legalistic chore – this day filled with things that you couldn’t do rather than as this day filled with good things you could do. And what I’ve come to learn is that Sabbath is this beautiful island of “get to” in a sea of “have to” all week long. I’m doing the things I have to do in my work. And at home Sabbath is a day where I suspend all productive things and just enjoy the good gifts that God has given me, given my family through my work, through our church family. It’s a beautiful, beautiful picture of what God intended for us and just enjoying being his child and being okay, not being productive for 1 24 hour time period each and every week.
So does that mean that you do nothing on that day? Or what does that day look like for you?
We do lots of things – but we do only great things. It’s why my kids love it so much. So a Sabbath for us starts on Saturday evening. We finished all of our productive stuff for the weekend. We get takeout from one of our favorite restaurants in town and we just feast. We get some sort of epic dessert go to bed, wake up the next morning. For my kids it’s the only day of the week where they watch a full length movie, which they just love. I make them lattes, which they love is the only day of the week. They get coffee, right? My wife feasts on sleep. And then we all wake up, go to our favorite donut shop in town. Talk about what we’re thankful for for the week, come back home, plenty of time to get ready for church, go feast on God’s word with our church family, and then come back. And usually Sunday afternoons are pretty lazy. We just hang around the house and have fun. We play board games, we swim in the pool, my wife and I might go on a date, but again, Sabbath for us is so much less about what we don’t do. It’s about the good things that we feast on and enjoy, and just enjoy being a child of God and focus on the good gifts he’s given us.
Dissenting from the Kingdom Noise
So you use a, here’s another term that you use that is very spiritual “Dissenting from the Kingdom noise and how Jesus made it a habit to do that”. Is that what the Sabbath is? Or what does that phrase mean?
Yeah, it’s a little bit of a different construct. So I, I borrowed this phrase from one of my favorite writers, CS Lewis in his book, the Screwtape letters, which is follows this fictional demon named Screwtape, who says that he’s gonna make the world a kingdom of noise for human beings in order to stop God’s people from living their most effective, most influential lives. And man, Lewis wrote those were 75 years ago, right? How much more adequately does it describe our current world? We live in a time of unprecedented noise caused by nonstop news entertainment, the buzzing of the devices in our pockets and purses, but more significant than that external noise, I think is what all that was creates, right? This, this internal noise that blocks our ability to be quiet and still, and just think and be creative. And as you pointed out, Scott, this stands in stark contrast to the life of the most productive person who’s ever lived. Jesus Christ in the gospel biographies, the number of times, Jesus, it says that Jesus withdrew to lonely or solitary place is staggering, right? So if we want to be productive the way Jesus was, and we want to manage our time, the way he did, we’ve got to cultivate this habit of dissenting from the kingdom of noise, in all of its many many formats. I mentioned there’s 30 ish practices in the book. Nine of them are in this chapter about descending from the Kingdom noise, because I feel so strongly that we’ve got to be intentional about cultivating boredom, cultivating solitude, cultivating quiet space to just hear our own selves think and listen to the voice of God.
So you talk about consuming zero noise personally, and that you get your news from your friends. What does that mean? And what does that look like?
Oh my gosh, this is one of my favorite practices of all time. I so wish somebody had told me this 10 years ago. So about five years ago, I just decided that news was making me anxious which is well-documented – lots of data that shows that news makes us anxious. And it was also just like really meaningless to my work into my life. The majority of news, not all news, but the vast majority of it. And so I just stopped cold Turkey. I stopped reading news websites. I stopped listening to news podcasts. I stopped all of it completely. And what I found, this is what I wished somebody had told me before was that my friends unknowingly in very naturally started curating the news for me. They told me about everything that was relevant to my life and my work. I’ll give you a great example.
One of my favorite authors, this guy named Tim Keller tweeted last year that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, right? Eight of my friends texted me that news within 10 minutes of it being posted to Twitter. I hear about pandemics. I live in Florida. Scott. It’s very important that I know about hurricanes, right? I hear about every hurricane that’s coming. I hear about race riots. And I hear about all of these things without having to spend a single moment waiting through the 99% of content on new services and social media that is anxiety-inducing and meaningless to my life. And so one of the things I’m asking readers to do in this book is just give it a shot, take a week off from news and see if you really miss anything important. If you don’t, what you’re going to get is a lot more solitude, a lot more time. Did you think about your work, think strategically about your working life and do the most influential work? You can for the glory of God and the good of others, If you practice that, you may also find out the quality of friends you have.
That’s exactly right, because you’re relying, they are, you’re relying on how tapped in. They are to the world to inform your world. That’s exactly right.
You, you talk about “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” I think all of us to like figure life out in the few moments we have, we have to learn to say no to things, but what does it mean to say no. What is the yes? What did that mean when you wrote that?
“Yes” or “No”?
Yeah. So listen, I think everybody wants help saying no to requests for their time, but I think a lot of conventional wisdom on this topic is just out of line with Jesus’ example in the gospels. Right? Sometimes he said no to request first time, see mark chapter one other times, he said, yes. Right. So where does that leave us? It’s not as clear cut as a lot of people want to believe it. So in the book, I outlined eight questions that I love to ask any time. I’m trying to say yes or no to request one more time. I’ll just share a couple of them with your listeners right now. The first one, maybe my favorite is, am I trying to do good or make myself look good with this request for my time? Because a lot of times when we’re saying, yes, it’s not because we think we could serve that person really well. Or because we think that’s the work that we’re called to do in this life. We’re saying yes, because we want to look good. And in my opinion, that’s a lame reason to say, yes, there’s something we want to do. Good. Works for others, not make ourselves look good. Another one I love. This is a great opportunity for what? Cause a lot of times we’re trying to say yes or no or time it’s usually those once in a lifetime opportunities, quote unquote. Right. And I force myself to answer that question. I can’t just let myself up. I can say this is a great opportunity. So I’m going to spend time doing it. It’s a great opportunity to what end. And if I can’t answer that question, I say, now I’ll give you one more. I love asking what I say yes to 100 similar requests for my time.
Right? So if somebody asks me to grab coffee for an hour, right? I know that I’m not just saying yes or no to that one request. I am as small as it may seem contributing to the building of a habit of whether or not, I will say yes, or no to 100 similar requests for my time in the future. So I’m always cognizant of that. Just asking myself, Hey, if another meeting, if another request came by, my plate came across my table, right? With the exact same profile, would I say yes, would I say no? And a lot of times that question is very helpful and usually leads me to say no to that request for my time.
So people are listening and people want to make the most of their life. People do want to redeem the time. I think that’s a beautiful expression from a scripture. Since you’ve been practicing these practices, life has become better, more productive, better for you.
Busy > Hurried
Yeah. Oh my gosh. So I’ll, I’ll say this. I have become far more and what I share in the book, these are not things I started experimenting with six months ago. These are the practices I’ve been doing for, you know, let’s say at least five years. Yeah. Listen, over the last five years by the grace of God alone. Nothing but based on what I’ve done. Yeah. I’ve had a pretty productive five-year run. I’ve created more than a hundred jobs in two businesses, sold seven books, signed seven book deals, raise some kids have a healthy, thriving marriage. And it’s a Testament to me. It’s a Testament to what God’s doing at work in me. But here’s the thing. I’m not just productive. I’m productive in a very peaceful, very unhurried way, 45 Hours a week. Right. I’m busy, but I’m not hurried. And that difference to me, Scott is everything right? Cause it’s easy to be productive if you’re hurried frantic, but that’s just not the way of Jesus. He was busy, but never in a way that made him angry or frantic or anxious or hurried. That’s what I want from my life. And that’s why I built this book around his example because that’s the way I want to be productive. I don’t want to just be productive. I want to be productive the way Jesus was productive,
Restful productivity. That’s good. You write, you write this phrase. You write that the gospel is our ultimate source of rest. I’d like you to unpack what the gospel is and I’d like you to unpack what rest is. Okay.
Yeah. Be happy to. So the gospel is the good news. The God came to earth and the person Jesus Christ died on a cross rose again, three days later. So that death would be defeated and everything sad in this world would eventually come on. True when he brings his kingdom in full to earth. And so this sounds impractical, but over time, I’ve come to realize it’s one of the most practical things in the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the thing that enables me to find soul level rest. Here’s why, if I believe that the God of the universe died for me when I was his enemy, that’s what the Bible says. I was his enemy. I was a sinner. I was doing things against what God commanded. I was his enemy. Then man, I can certainly believe that he loves me when I don’t finish everything on my to-do list today. Or when less productive than I want to be in a particular season of life. That’s what enables me to rest. I can lay my head on the pillow at night, knowing that the father loves me, regardless of what I did that day.
I’ll make this really practical Scott every single night without fail. When I put my three girls to bed, last thing I tell them, before I leave the room, I look them in the eyes say, Hey girls, you know, daddy loves you. No matter how many bad things you do. And they say, yes, I was like, you know what? I also love you. No matter how many good things you do. And they say, yes, I say, who else loves you like that? And they say, Jesus, yeah, that’s a picture of the gospel. The God of the universe loves you listener regardless of what you’ve done your past, regardless of what you will do in your future, no matter how many bad things you do, no matter how many good things you do, if you believe that, oh man, you can rest and not just rest in terms of getting a good night’s sleep.
There’s a deep soul level rest there. Then I think is what everybody in the world is craving for.
Connecting with Jordan Raynor
So good. So good. Now people, this book is coming out redeeming. The time is coming out in October. How can people find it, connect to it? Find you connect to you. And I’m sure they’ll put stuff in the, in the program notes. But go ahead and tell us how to connect with Jordan.
Yeah, Really easy. So everything is at jordanraynor.com, And here’s the deal. A book comes out October 19th. If you order a copy before October 23rd you can also enter to win this trip or giving away to the holy land. I’m giving away a trip for two people to go walk where Jesus walked in conjunction with this book about walking like he walks. So step one, go get redeeming your time, wherever you get your books. Step two, fill out the form at jordanraynor.com and you can be entered to win a endless. And I know a lot of us, myself included are not traveling internationally right now. So you get three years to book your trip or I’ll just write you a $5,000 check whenever you want. If you win the sweepstakes and a yeah, maybe it would be amazing. Scott, if somebody from this audience got to go on that trip, maybe they’ll take you as their guest Scott.
Listen, let’s just think about that for a moment. Let’s write that in our planner right now, invite Scott to go with me to the holy land. It really is a light chain. You got been there. I’m sure you’ve been there. Light changing for people to walk where Jesus walked pretty grand. I’ve got some significant things that have happened in my life, in the holy land. I want to thank you though, Jordan, for taking time. Time’s very valuable. There’s only so much of it. You’ve spent these moments with us. Thank you very much for helping our influencers to grow in their influence and really learning how to redeem our time in a biblical spiritual way. Thank you so much.