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.

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