Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
So you’re busy, I get it. You’re the busiest person in your world. Everyone in your circle regards you as that guy or girl who is always hustling. Being busy can be a great thing if you’re as productive as you seem. But busy-ness can be an equally bad thing. We have a finite amount of time on the planet, so it’s critical to make the most of what we do have. If you have doubts about your productivity, It might be time to ask these questions:
Does my busy-ness drive me to greatness and reveal my purpose?
Do you feel like you’re “in the zone” when you’re busy (your sweet spot) and no one else can offer what you offer? Is there a sense of satisfaction and meaning left behind when you finish a task or project? Or...
Does my busy-ness drain me and hide my passion?
Do you feel stressed, overworked, unsure, and sick of dealing with things? Do you wish someone else was tasked with your duties instead of you? Do you find yourself rushing through every task and not doing your best work?
If you identify as belonging to the first group, I encourage you to thank God for blessing and protecting you. If you identify as belonging to the second group, you’re normal and it’s okay, but immediately you need to initiate a conversation with God and confess how you feel. He already knows but it’s critical that you state it out loud to him for your own sake. Secondly, you must get in the Word of God. Do a Bible reading plan or join a study. Church ministry is incredibly draining of the soul. It’s critical to constantly refill what you’re pouring out. You might be surprised how your daily outlook changes with more of the Word in you. Next, take a mental step back and examine why you’re in this role. Remember that there IS a reason. Try and remember what attributes God has given you which enable you to be the RIGHT person for this role. Finally, tell God that you trust Him regularly. Remember, what we confess today we experience tomorrow.
Regardless of which group you belong to, I promise you that you can do better. You should do better, right? The problem is you have a lot to do, and you don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day or week.
How will I get it all done?
There has to be a way, right? Surely God has not given us more to do than we have time to do. Here are 3 things that you must accomplish before you can improve.
Listen to Jordan’s talk from our November 2018 Gathering
You must accept that your productivity is your responsibility. If you’re unproductive it’s your own fault, and it’s not the responsibility of the person who gave you the tasks.
DON’T BECOME A VICTIM
Choose now to never become a victim. Choose to not allow yourself to be seen as a victim by others. Don’t embrace a victim mentality/image. If you find yourself placing blame for your misery on someone else’s shoulders, stop immediately or you’ll find yourself growing bitterness within you.
Remember these phrases: manage like a Hoss, and say no like a boss, because what you don’t attack will attack you.
Managing like a Hoss
In order to manage like a Hoss, you must first understand the value of Monday. How you begin your week sets the tone for the entire week. Commit to make Monday a happy time, not a sad time. Make a “Monday List” every week where you take the contents of your brain and spew it onto paper or in digital form. This is the process of organizing tasks, things to remember, and things to prepare for in the future. Then work through your Monday List in a sacred manner. Perhaps the single most important time management technique I have to share with you is one that revolutionized my work week… meet the Pomodoro Method.
The Pomodoro method is a time management technique where you decide which tasks are relevant to get done immediately, set a timer for 25 minutes, and focus on one task exclusively for 25 minutes. No email, no phone calls, no texting, no Facebook, no talking to others, no distractions, period. At the end of 25 minutes you take a 5 minute recess and get up, stretch, walk around, grab a drink, use the restroom, etc. Then you continue where you left off or move to the next task for another 25 minute round. After completing 4 25 minute sessions, you break for 30 to an hour minutes and do something fun. Watch videos on youtube, take lunch, whatever. This method revolutionized my work week because I was surprised to find how much time I was wasting before being interrupted by phone calls, texts, emails, etc. and I would find myself drifting away from my work.
(The method was created by a guy who used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato for his 25-minute clock, and Pomodoro is italian for tomato.)
I challenge you to try the Pom Method for one week. I want to hear your feedback on it -- I guarantee you will share it with others because it changes your work. Our whole staff team does it now, including our senior pastor.
Say No Like A Boss
Another key to getting and maintaining control of your productivity is the ability to say no. The only way to go from your schedule running you to you running your schedule is to learn how to deny people. Realize the consequences of chronic yes-syndrome:
You are allowing someone else’s lack of responsibility to become your issue.
You are prioritizing other people above your health and your family.
You are not honoring God by stewarding your time effectively.
I found that embracing the Pomodoro Method helped me learn to say no, because I simply wasn’t available as often. Now, if you’re asking yourself how to tell your leadership no, I understand your struggle. It can be scary and awkward to approach leadership about the burdens they’re giving you.
How to Talk to Leadership About Your Schedule
Engage in a conversation with your leader in a private, casual setting. Don’t approach them on the fly -- make sure to schedule a meeting time. Start the conversation by thanking them for allowing you to serve the church. Tell them that you want to share something that is difficult to talk about, but you know it’s important for your ministry. Share that you’ve been improving in the area of time management and that you’ve been more productive, but let them know that you need to set a healthy boundary for work and personal life.
If you have any questions about issues related to time management, I’d love to talk with you. You can contact me on Twitter or Instagram @Jordan_Farris.