Productivity Interview with Editor Nick Wagner

I've had the privilege of writing for several publications from 23rd Publications over the past two years.  Editor Nick Wagner is a devotee of Web 2.0, a published author in his own right and incredibly skilled at keeping multiple projects moving forward- all at the same time!

Here is my interview with Nick Wagner:

1. With the many projects on your plate, what do you do on a weekly basis to stay organized and manage deadlines?

I’m a big fan of the Getting Things Done system, and I use a lot those techniques. I try to do an end-of-the-week review each week. Some weeks, it slips by without getting done, but I rely on that a lot to keep me sane. I also practice the two-minute rule for e-mail. If I can’t answer it in two minutes, it goes on a project list. I use Outlook for my e-mail client, and it’s easy to save e-mail as a “task.” I’m told it’s also easy to do with Gmail, but I haven’t tried it with that service.

2. What productivity skills have you improved on in the past two years?  Any advice for those struggling with the same issue?

I got really good this year at time-blocking. This is especially helpful with editing articles. I set a timer on my desktop for 18 minutes, and I work on editing an article, without interruption, for 18 minutes. When the timer goes off, I either reset it for another 18 minutes, or I move on to a different project.

Another skill that’s been helpful is learning how to break down a large project into smaller, timed deadlines. I edit five periodicals, and they all have a complicated set of deadlines. I keep a list of the deadlines for each issue of each periodical on Zoho sheets, and I check the deadlines off as they are completed.

If I had any advice, it would be to spend a lot of time at the beginning of a project listing all the tasks involved and putting those tasks on a calendar. If some of the tasks depend upon other people, make sure they know their deadlines well in advance.

3. How do you see traditional print media (magazines, etc.) being challenged by digital media and how have you responded as an editor?

In Catholic publishing, I don’t think print media is challenged so much by digital media as it is by shrinking budgets and the merging or closing of parishes. Each merged or closed parish represents one less subscription or potential subscription. Still, I’ve tried upgrading the Web sites for the periodicals and making myself present and active on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I’m not sure when the Catholic ministry market will make a substantial shift into digital media, and I want to be there when they do.

4. To what degree is it "easy" to integrate your faith with your work, given the genre of your publications?

In a lot of ways, it’s easy. I get to write about or get other people to write about things I believe deeply in. I’m engaged in some kind of catechesis or evangelization every day. And I get to help others who are seeking to improve their ability to catechize and evangelize. How cool is that?

On the other hand, sometimes the work can become more of a job than a mission. There are days when I have to force myself to sit at the computer and churn out the pages. That’s when I really have to remember that “discipline” and “disciple” share the same root word.

For information about Nick's latest project, TEAM RCIA, visit this link.