Changes to Maximize Your Productivity

Serving as an XP at my church and serving as one of our Central Region Open Bible coaches, coaching for Kidology as well, provides me a unique look into several working environments. One common thread that is desired by all in the working environments that I get to look into is Productivity. Everyone wants to squeeze more out fo the time they have!!

I want to offer some quick recommendations.

Use the Eisenhower matrix to rank tasks.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a master of organization and prioritization. During World War II he was the supreme commander of allied forces, overseeing the European theater of operations. From 1953 to 1961 he served as the 34th president of the United States.

During his long career, Eisenhower developed a prioritization framework that is used by many. The Eisenhower Matrix uses a four-box matrix to help anyone prioritize his or her day. On the X axis are the columns “urgent” and “not urgent” and on the Y-axis are the rows “not important” and “important.”

Anything that is urgent and important should be done. If the project is not urgent but important it should be planned for a later date. If work is urgent but not important it should be delegated to someone else. And if it is neither important nor urgent, it should be eliminated.

Start your day with the hardest tasks, complete the easiest tasks at the end of the day.

In his book The McKinsey Edge former McKinsey analyst, Hattori, discusses a time management strategy that he learned while working on demanding projects for Fortune 100 clients.
He suggests that most people are sharpest in the early morning hours. Therefore, Hattori learned to stack his days at the start of his day with the most mentally demanding tasks.
As the day progresses, Hattori organized tasks to becoming increasingly easy. It was only late at night that Hattori would check his email inbox to answer questions that required relatively little thought. I have gone to check my email only 2x a day where each one falls in one of my 4 routine times I have set up on my daily schedule (I have 4 routines every day, Morning routine, the start of the workday routine, workday shut down, and lastly evening routine. More on these in a later post).
In my view, I have given you the top 2 ways to start maximizing your productivity. My best advice is to get to work early and then tackle the most challenging items first.
More Productivity ideas coming soon on living on a calendar.

Impact a father’s investment has in the lives of others

I ran across this video (from TD Ameritrade) that shares a healthy twist to the classic Harry Chapin song “Cats In The Cradle.” 

It provides a vivid picture of the impact a father’s investment has in the lives of others. I also want to send this out to some friends as a reminder to them being new dads, that there is no greater investment outside of your personal investment into your relationship with Christ or with your spouse that you will make that is more important than that in which you make into your kids.

“My child arrived just the other day.  He came to the world in a usual way but they’re were planes to catch and bills to pay so I moved my meeting (and) saw him walk that day.

He was talking before I knew it and as he grew he said, “I going to be like you dad.  You know I’m going be like you.”

My son turned 10 just the other day.  He said, “Thanks for the ball dad.  C’mon let’s play.  Can you teach me to throw?”  I said, “Right away.  I’ve got stuff to do but that can wait today.”  And he ran outside and smiled ear-to-ear and said, “I’m going to be like you dad.  You know I’m going to be like you.”

Well he came home from college just the other day, He said, “I can’t thank you enough for paying my way.  What I’d really like dad is to borrow the car keys (and) take you to dinner and discuss my dreams.”

I’m soon retired (and) my son’s well on his way.  He came by with a question just the day, “I need your advice dad with what to do when I become a father just like you.  Become a father just like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon.  “When you coming home dad?”  “I’ll be home at 10:00 and we’ll get together then.  You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Giving Effective Feedback

Giving good feedback

Most feedback I have received has never worked the way I hoped for or the way the person who gave me feedback thought it would work. 

Why? Because the feedback usually was only a personal preference of the person giving it. The feedback stays pretty generic. Feedback has nothing to do with the goals of the person getting the feedback. Share specific feedback. Share feedback that’s focused on the person you’re giving feedback to. 

Feedback is a leadership tool. 

Instead of starting with preferences, start with the idea of effectiveness. Instead of starting with you, start with them. 

Example: (Bad) I thought that task could have had better advertising. (This is personal preference and built around you not the one who is needing feedback).

(Good) If you and your team could have set aside more time to think through your advertisement plan. Do you think you would have experienced better results? (This keeps the focus on effectiveness not preference). 

Keeping feedback about the other person and their effectiveness, helps them to feel respected. Keeping feedback about your preference etc makes the other person feel they don’t measure up. 

Great feedback is about the other person not about your preference.

Am I being specific enough to give great feedback?

How self evaluations help predict the future

At the end of each day, plus at the end of each week, I have learned the value of running self-evaluations.

“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” Marianne Williamson

“Without proper self-evaluation, failure is inevitable.” John Wooden

Self-evaluation is important at any stage in your life. In the ministries I am over we use self-evaluations for any project and services we have in place. Furthermore, teachers are now actively encouraging their pupils to self-evaluate. Self-evaluation is an important part of being committed to lifelong learning. Understanding that we will never complete our learning journey and to grab every opportunity to learn new skills is important to me. This is why I use these questions at the end of the day to journal as I evaluate my day.

My daily questions:
How well did I support my pastor in prayer today? How well did I cover the board of elders in prayer today? Cover my top 20% of leaders in ministry today?
Continuing in a spirit of prayer for some of my daily relationships keeps my focus on others. Helps me to always check my relationships.

Do I need to ask anyone’s forgiveness?
If you’ve offended someone this week, seek to get right with him or her before you gather to worship God.

Do I need to forgive someone?
Don’t let your anger become a stronghold for Satan.

Do I have any lingering sins in my life?
Each day there could come little, brief snags to tarnish my witness, I wish I hadn’t done—but I did. Confess it now.

In what ways have I wasted time and money today?
Both are a gift from God, and you’re called to be a good steward of what He provides. Wasting time but claiming to be busy isn’t stewarding this trust well.

Are there any relationships I need to build or invest more into?
Relationships in life are so important.

End of the week questions I use:

What do I know about God and His Word that I didn’t know last week?
If the answer is “nothing,” you may not be spending enough time with Him.

Will anything in my life hinder the work of God in my church this weekend?
Unconfessed, hidden sin will. So will bitterness toward others. Pride and lust won’t help, either.

Have I prayed well for my team members this week?
Each member has more going on in their lives than what I see at work. They need someone standing in their corner lifting them to God.

Have I loved my family as I should have this week?
Your first responsibility for being a witness to the gospel is in your home. How would your family answer this question?

Who knows more about God today because of my witness this past week?
Your answer to this question will tell whether you’ve sought to do evangelism this week. For me the stronger my relationship is with God the more I truly want to find ways to share how He is the answer. Lack of sharing for me shows how close I am feeling to my Savior.

The idea behind self-evaluation is that our judgment of what we think we are doing and what we actually are doing is not always the same. This is why it is so important to do regular self-evaluations. Your future impact depends on it.

What questions would you add and why do you view they are important?

I’m too busy. A true death sentence.

I am way to busy. This is a death sentence.

I get the opportunity to coach many people into their next level of effectiveness. One common expression I hear too often is how busy they feel. This busyness is temporary and usually, comes right before their next level.

Here is the place I enjoy starting, in their daily routines. To take on this busyness we need to see what their habits are. To get to the next level we need to produce new habits and routines. Each level requires new tools, don’t stunt your growth by using this excuse: “This is the way that I am”. Yes, this “is the way you are now” at this level, but, you are attempting to go to a new level for yourself. You need to develop new ways and discover new tools.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. JOHN C MAXWELL ~”

Michael Hyatt over on his blog
“The problem is that most of us have used the same strategies for too long. They worked at some point, but we forget that we are seeing the world through our own unique lens—and that perspective can sometimes be limited. These adaptive strategies become a kind of “programming” we repeat over and over, even when it doesn’t fit the situation we are in”.

As you hear yourself begin to say that death sentence, “I am just too busy”, stop and think. Start asking yourself what new tools do I need to discover or new ways to develop so I can keep on developing?

Suggestions:
1. Read Michael Hyatt’s Magazine
2. Rescue Time. Keep a time journal of how you spend your time and theme your days
3. Get a coach
4. Listen to podcast

I’ll list some specifics if you just ask and let me know what area you want specifics in.

Is it really worth being a great leader in your ministry?

Being great isn’t always so great.

Have you ever excelled at a job or position to then be ignored? As you learn your place and excel at it, there comes a time where the nice things said about you come to a stop. The resources poured into you to help you improve stop. The incremental pay raises or small bonuses stop.

Why?

You have become great at what you do. But that is not it. Your place of ministry does not recognize the value of high-capacity, well-trained, top 20% type of leaders. Don’t hold this against your leader, or your church, or the church board when it comes time for any of the above to be shown. Unfortunately, many fall into this category. Sadly, many have never learned or experienced the value of this type of impactful leader.

So what now?

Be that great leader that you are and help your church, ministry, the board, and your leader see the value in having someone like you. You can do this in many ways, I am only going to walk one to two examples out. Be creative in what you can do in your situation.

Start with the same challenge that God gave Moses, “What is in your hand?” Start with what you have. Model how to reward, recognize and love on your top performers. Yes, play favorites in a way. The ministry is for everyone, but why devalue the time and effort of your top performers? Love on everyone, but because you are spending more time with the top performers, you will love on them more.

Here are some quick ideas on how to spread the love with little to no budget.

* Pay more for the same conferences they go to as opposed to the amount helped with when others go.
* Invite them more into your house for meals with you and your family.
* Recognize them by name in the largest group setting of their peers that you have control over. Share why you are mentioning them by name.
* Buy them a coffee more often.
* Hang out with them in their office, the hallways, etc.

There you have it. These ideas will not break the bank. But, if you have the influence and ability to do more, then do it. Resources invested in your top 20% doesn’t return void, or they would not be the 20%.

Create a culture where going the

Perfectly designed for the results you are getting

You’re designed for the results you are getting.

The title of this post has always loomed in the back of my head as I continue to try to grow as a leader. Serving as the XP of my church it is an active part of my weekly duties to look for anything that may hinder our mission.

Here is one common one that I find in many churches. No Implementation Strategy.

Let me explain. Churches are finally beginning to understand the value of reading, conferences, networking and more. Churches set up regular book reviews with their teams. Many have found ways to get their leaders to conferences. Several have taken the next step with designing networks to grow with one another. The main fail I see in this plan as it currently stands, it’s all info consuming and no plan to use the knowledge.

Same if we stand behind the pulpit every week and only share facts and no challenges of how to use what we are sharing? All the info consumption is worthless if we do not create ways to live what we are learning.

This is why, if you look at your life, spiritual or through your leadership, you have designed your life for the results you are getting.

What if you took less different types of info in and implemented more of what you took in?

What if you blocked off time (and I mean to actually add it to your calendar) to invest in living the info?

What if you changed the metrics of what success looks like? Instead of the amount of conferences you go to, or the fullness of your bookshelves, it was the results of what is contained on your bookshelf. What’s preached on Sunday.

4 tools we use for better team communication.

We value communication with our teams. Ever since moving into more of an Executive Pastor role at my church, one thing I have noticed is how well all of my 25+ years as a children’s pastor, youth pastor, and even family pastor have really equipped me for success in this ministry role. Through all of these roles mentioned and now in my newer role communicating with a diverse group of people who want different types of info at different times is still one thing in common.

Here are 4 tools I have come to love because they aid in great communication.

1. Trello.
Here is a tool that I use to track projects of individuals to teams. We use it to keep their wish list ideas in, to tracking their top 2 projects they are working on for the week that keeps the ball moving down the field to accomplish the bigger mission and vision of our church. We will use it at budget times as well to go back and see exactly how we did spend money and look for patterns. One last way that I will mention here, even though we have an abundant amount more we could list would be, we use it for weekly review.

2. Slack.
Instead of texting, we have moved to using slack. This has a much more collaborate feel and function that fits our church. Easier to track documents being shared, I can monitor usage to see how we are using this tool, you can shut off notices when you don’t want to be disturbed, and again many other ways.

3. Dropbox.
All finished projects go here. Every year we do an Easter event of some type. So as planning comes up for Easter we will go into our shared Easter folder and there we will see all collected files, resources, budgets, vendors used along with their contact info, forms etc there for convenient use in guiding us toward creating the new Easter event.

4. Evernote.
The bottom line on this tool, as it can be used in so many ways but the bottom line way we use it as a team is for our electronic brains. A file cabinet that can snatch things from the web with a web clipper for your browser extension, to an email given to you from Evernote that you can send things to through email. With everyone using this tool sharing a folder is easy as well.

Jumpstart3 was just here

We just held our yearly Central Region KidsMin Conference and had Jumpstart3 and Joshua Denhart come and share with us.

Jeff from Jumpstart3 shared a ton but some of the reports I am getting back already is how those in attendance walked away with understanding:

  • Don’t overlook opportunity to share Christ with others
  • The importance of teaching scripture to the kids
  • Remember your identity in Christ not in what others may say
  • The importance of staying faithful and consistent in the lives of kids and families

Joshua had 2 sessions here as well and just a few items that he brought were:

  • His great talk over volunteerism. We actually asked if he would bring this back again as he first taught it in a prior year but so many asked for him to bring it back.
  • Then with his wife, he brought the importance of family time.

Bottom line, those who came walked away talking how blessed they were. The practical items they are taking back to their churches. We even had one church here from Texas that is only 15 people total in attendance and a new lead pastor as well. This church recognizes the importance of kids so much that they held 2 fundraisers to help pay for their person overseeing the kids be able to come and attend this conference.

 

Stop with the busyness

What is it with being busy that so many people wear the title as a badge of honor? Out of all the 10 commandments why is it that staying busy, not taking the rest, is the one we brag over not living out. Never hear someone say,

  • I am “Stealing” so much stuff. No way you don’t hear that.
  • I sure love being “Envious” over things that others have. It makes me feel so good.
  • I enjoy not “Honoring my mom and dad”. It makes me feel so good to trash them publicly.

You get the idea. You could keep this up with all the commandments. But when it comes to busyness, keeping the Sabbath, taking some time to refresh, reflect on the greatness of God and all that He has gone through with you. This one sounds more like:

“I am so busy and have no time for…”

Here is a great article that was posted on Church Leaders website that Carey Nieuwhof wrote. It says everything that I would want to post as well and keeps with the theme of this blog as well. Enjoy the post and maybe pick up Carey’s High Impact Leaders Course while you are there. I picked it up not because it was new for me but to support someone who is out there with a bigger platform than myself saying what I am saying all the time. “Busyness not does equal productivity”.

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