We are now down to 5 days left in 2015. To keep with the way I’m ending my blogging year for 2015 here is the 5th most popular post.
We are now down to 5 days left in 2015. To keep with the way I’m ending my blogging year for 2015 here is the 5th most popular post.
The year of 2015 is winding down. This is the time that every year I look it over and look at my successes and failures.
Here is one of my successes according to you coming in as the 6th most popular post in 2015.
I have 3 tools that I just completely love using and they fit so well into my productivity system when it comes to absorbing information. Here they are:
1. Pocket. Pocket is my first app that use to snag content and save for later reading. If I’m reading a website or an article online and don’t have time to finish it, then I’ll throw it into Pocket. Save articles, videos, recipes, and web pages you find online or from your favorite apps.
Pocket also has a chrome extension.
2. Next would be my Feedly account. Feedly is blog catcher. I enjoy reading blogs of all kinds of topics. Doing this I have just one tool and that is Feedly. It catches all my subscribed to blogs and holds them until my blog reading day and then I will read and act on, delete, or file.
3. Evernote is where I will file them too. Evernote is my electronic file cabinet. I scan stuff to it, take pictures and send to it, forward emails and subscribe to newsletters while giving them my Evernote email address. Giving this email address out saves my real email from getting cluttered. I will mention one more tool here that I use to keep my email uncluttered and that is called unroll.me. You can record audio with Evernote, do geographic stuff and just a ton of other options as well.
Basically, there is not much that can come my way as far as information and not be able to be handled with one of these 3 tools. Hope they help you if you are not already using them.
Planning, determination, strategizing, disciplined, and a slew of other words like these may scare some people. Add in the word “Daily” and the fear factor goes up. But it is just that, “daily” you need to make decisions that will chip away obstacles and help you to reach what you are going after.
It is a firm belief of mine that the secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. If you make a few key decisions and then manage them well in your daily agenda, you will succeed. You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You see, success, doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is preparation for the next. What you are becoming is the result of what you do daily. In other words… You are preparing for something. Look at how you invest your days and you can tell what you are preparing for, knowingly or un-knowingly.
My question for you would be:
1. What are you preparing for?
2. Grooming yourself for success or failure?
I have heard it said several times, “You can pay now, and play later, or you can play now and pay later. But either way, you are going to pay.” The idea was that you can play and take it easy and do what you want today, but if you do, your life will be harder later. However, if you work hard now, on the front end, then you will reap rewards in the future.
Let me Challenge you to think: Does your daily agenda show that you make a habit of paying before you play? If not, it is not too late to change your daily habits or agenda. To start allow me to suggest a couple daily decisions to make sure you do.
1. Spend time in the God’s Word
2. Spend time worshiping and talking to God
3. Spend time with your spouse. Your spouse and God will be the ones to have your back when all else seems to be against you.
4. Make everything an appointment on your calendar. If it doesn’t make it to your calendar, then you don’t do it.
There is a quick start. Now add to it.
I cringed at the title of this book, The 4 hour work week, but still went ahead and leafed through it. I actually found myself seeing how some pieces of this book could be applied to my life, and so I decided to go ahead and read it.
Step 1: D is for Definition
In this section Ferriss tells us to do an important task: define what you want. And I agree that most of us live through life not knowing what we want; just following the crowd like a herd of sheep. This section was the motivational, make you feel good section. This wasn’t the how, it was the why.
Step 2: E is for Elimination
Okay, so he basically says to eliminate all the junk in your life. For example: watch less TV, don’t check your e-mail so often, don’t look at your phone a bazillion times a day, don’t surf the web for hours a day, etc. It focuses on some very straightforward techniques for eliminating most of the regular mundane activities that fill our professional lives. Here are seven examples that I liked:
I. Make your to-do list for tomorrow before you finish today.
II. Stop all multitasking immediately.
III. Force yourself to end your day at 4 PM or end your week on Thursday.
IV. Go on a one-week media fast.
V. Check email only twice a day
VI. Never, ever have a meeting without a clear agenda.
VII. Don’t be afraid to hang up a “do not disturb” sign.
Step 3: A is for automation
This is where I began to disconnect with Tim’s method of creating a “4-hour workweek”. He spends a good deal of time talking about having a VA (Virtual Assistant). In my profession of pastoral ministry, this would be a hard sell, so I didn’t spend much time on this.
Step 4: L is for Liberation
Here Tim combines all the parts to show you how to move more of your life to remote type living. I actually believe this is valuable as I have been able to carry out a lot of this myself already.
Here are some last closing key insights I took away:
• “Don’t ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities. You’ll just read unassociated e-mail and scramble your brain for the day.” (This alone has saved me about 35 hours since I finished the book 2 weeks ago.)
• “Being busy is a form of laziness and lazy thinking”
• How to end a meeting on time
My last thought with this book was it does a great job of teaching a person how to self-promote, but it comes at a high cost of teamwork. I hope that one day Tim Ferriss can take a break from perfecting his self to experience the pleasure of cultivating community. And those who pursue all the things in this book will be able to learn the value of as well.
Time to get busy and get down to knocking out your to-do list. So you run around and collect all the sticky notes on your mirror, your desk, your computer screen and all the other misc. areas. Then you turn to the most recent incredible life changing tool – Evernote. You begin to search through Evernote, or as you call it, your brain online to find all of your to-do list in there as well.
Now you are just plain tired and mentally worn out not to mention you have spent 1 1/2 hours just getting prepped to become productive for the day. Have I got a great solution for you that I started using a few weeks back and it has kept me very fluid and able to stay on the go but keeping my to-do list getting done at the right time.
This tool is called…”Swipes“.
Here is how Swipes works with Evernote. Evernote, by its nature, is a workspace for the way we work today, collecting information from multiple devices and from just about anywhere in the world. Swipes, however, is the task management app that not only stores your tasks, but helps you prioritize them and break-down the important things into doable steps. The blend of Swipes with Evernote gives you the possibility to not only collect the things that matter to you, but act on them. This is a combination of pure productivity joy!!
Stop wasting time looking for ways to be productive and get Swipes and get conquering your to-do list.
Now that I have made a move after years at a 5-6000 member ministry to one that is only 400-ish (isn’t God funny with the paths that He will take us) I am needing to learn some new skills. One of those is seeking out some tech goodies that will help me still get the results of having a large paid team.
Today, we will hit on a couple of tech goodies that I am finding to be helpful in getting the results I need while not having the paid admin team around me. In a medium size church we are still at the point where the children’s pastor can fall under the one who is expected to do it all and seeing that usually there are not as many formal ways of communication or the systems are not set up for great follow-up things fall through the cracks.
Asana provides the accountability your team needs to move forward and do your best work without having to be tied to email. Asana offers a great way to collect your task that only you need to work on or it can assign a task to a team member or members that you choose. You can assign due dates and as people work on it if there is any correspondence it will keep all of it in that area so everyone on that project can see the conversation taking place or it can made private. You can set up a daily email to be sent to you for updates on every project and so much more. Watch some more about Asana.
Trello is a different feel than Asana. Trello is simple on the surface, but cards have everything you need to get stuff done. Post comments for instant feedback. Upload files from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive. Add checklists, labels, due dates, and more. Notifications make sure you always know when important stuff happens.
Here are 2 more tools I urge you to check out that I’m not going into detail with but use as part of this process for myself.
With any of these tools it should help you have that feel of having a full-time team while you are at a small to mid size church. Don’t allow the size of your church now to effect your productivity for the Kingdom.
The critical issue of what to delegate is often times one of the hardest starting points for many children’s pastors that I get the opportunity to coach, mentor and just network with.
I will start with a thought that many do not take into consideration and then I will do my best to explain why when it comes to delegation it’s wise to start with this thought.
You should only delegate projects that have a benefit for both you and the person being delegated to. People resent dumping of low-level tasks that offer no learning opportunity. When volunteers feel this is happening they will begin to discharge themselves from your ministry. Do remember though, what may be a low-level task to one may not be that same thing to another. This is why its important to know your team.
How do you know what to delegate and to who?
List your projects or tasks. Never delegate part of a project or piece of work. This avoids the accusation of dumping the dull parts of a project while keeping the best bits for yourself.
Estimate time required. Calculate the number of hours you would expect each project or task to take.
Estimate the cost. Work out the hourly cost of yourself and your team members. This cost is not always financial. Cost comes in many forms. Sometimes it can be the cost of what is it keeping the person from doing if they are working on a certain project. Is it within a certain skill set of the person being delegated to or is there going to be a learning curve and skill set curve.
Map into a table. It should now be possible to work out the cost of each project or task depending on who is delivering it. This should show you clearly the difference in cost if you complete a project or if a member of your team does. Three groups should emerge: high, medium and low cost.
Estimate Return On Investment (ROI). Once you understand the cost groups, then you need to know the value of that project to your organization. For each project and task set a high, medium and low ROI.
Select projects for delegation. You can now put together your cost group with your ROI group. Low cost and low ROI go together, medium cost and medium ROI go together and so on.
This technique allows you to delegate the right projects to the right team member based on simple cost and ROI analysis. This is not a magical formula and should only serve as a broad process but at least in this way there is some logic to what you choose to delegate. Remember delegation is also about developing the team member so giving them a project which is in the group above (for example a high ROI project to a medium cost member of staff) is good practice.
With a good process in place it is easier to show your confidence in the great team that God is working with you in getting established. Now go and make your map, challenge your team, empower them to be all they can be, all the while your ministry is accomplishing what God wants it to accomplish.
When I was younger I would always hear from my parents, “Todd you better get the lead out!” I always wondered what that really meant.
According to the Free Dictionary it means: “get the lead out and shake the lead out
Inf. to hurry; to move faster. (This originally refers to getting lead weights (used in exercise) off so you can move faster.)”
Here is a quick formula to “Get the lead out” with your execution plan.
L=Leverage. Do you have the right people in the driver seats to carry out your strategic priorities?
E-Enviroment. Have you created the right atmosphere and culture that will allow your people the ability to support your priorities?
A=Alignement. Do each of your team members agendas move them toward your ministries final goals?
D-Drive. Does your team have the ability to quickly move once the first 3 pieces of this formula are in place?
In closing, maybe you answered no to some of the above formula, what then?
Well, if you said no to the Leverage piece then you will need to work on your Talent/Resource side.
If you said no to Environment, then you have a Cultural/Engagement issue.
If no to Alignment, then work on your Communication/Productivity.
Lastly if no to Drive, then your Speed/Agility.
So, want to succeed, Then Get the lead out.
When life gets busy I need systems and structure to keep on track. In fact putting boundaries in place around different activities allows me to be quite impulsive and creative in those times and not getting stressed because of all the ‘urgent’ things that I need to do.
This is where “Chunking” comes in for me!
Life seems to always be adjusting the definition of busy to include more and more into that definition. What was busy for me last year doesn’t seem to be so busy for me this year. The tasks that were required last year in children’s ministry are not as many that are required later in ministry. This is the way it should be because we should always be growing and taking more territory for God. So here is a quick run down of how I chunk my time.
Chunking is not a new concept by any means and I’m probably not using the terminology correctly – but it’s what I call it. I believe that what gets measured gets done efficiently and effectively. This includes time as well. I started by doing a time journal, as I spend my time I log it down. I keep track of my time over a couple of weeks to be able to see patterns and it helps to end odd items that seem to happen in life. After the couple of weeks of time journaling I then will look to see the natural flows that take place in my life. Here are just a couple of examples: Mondays for example seem to be a day that I naturally spent more time evaluating, doing admin stuff and vision casting. Tuesdays seem to hold more meetings than other days, and more networking took place.
After examining the natural flow of my week it took a little adjusting and discipline to make sure I kept all meetings on Tuesday (there are exceptions but I limit them as much as possible). My Mondays became my evaluation, vision, admin day. I would tuck myself away some where with very little distractions, that means not my office.
All of sudden, instead of multi-tasking my week, it became very focused and was accomplished in large “Chunks” of time. Now that more was able to get accomplished, more focused time was the result of what I could pour into what God called me to do, be a children’s pastor.
Hope this brief overview of Chunking will aid you in being more productive like it has for me over the years.