30 Nov Getting It All Done
Dear Christian Radio,
I have sat here and stared at this page for a while. How could I possibly give you advice on getting it all done, when the reality is…so often, I don’t get it all done?
But then it hit me…that’s why I was picked to write this particular piece. For the record, I am not a slacker; I am a selective completer. Yep, I just made that term up, but it’s true. Like many of you, I work for a ministry with a lean team, which means we don’t have tons of people to complete all of our dreams. Therefore, we are constantly rearranging priorities and digging deep until projects are completed. That is the reality of Christian ministry. So then, how do we prioritize and get the right things done? Here are three things that have helped me get it done.
Plan – In order to get things done, there must be a plan. Done doesn’t just happen. You say, “But I’m not an organized person!” That’s fine, learn to use Google Calendar or adopt a project management system like Asana—both of which are heavily utilized by PAR. However, even if you implement both successfully, you still have to plan. Study any great leader and you will find that prior to anything else, they had a plan. As a leader, this is your starting point.
Be Flexible – Our friends at i58:10 have a memorable—and flexible—mascot; it’s Gumby. They often give miniature versions of their mascot to friends and clients. My little Gumby sits on my desk. He reminds me every day that my plans are great, but sometimes I have to bend in order to achieve them…and that’s okay, too. Every project and initiative runs into roadblocks. In those moments you have to be flexible and innovate around them. Being stubborn and sticking to the original plan when it’s clear it won’t work, only stalls the project and frustrates everyone involved. With that in mind, go ahead and bend a little…flex it out…and see what can happen.
Prioritizing with Purpose –This one can be really hard, but it is so important. We have to plan ahead, keep things on schedule and be flexible—all while juggling everyday tasks and keeping our ministries running. In such an environment, we must prioritize with purpose if we want to win. We have to prioritize our time and our resources every day. This must become a non-negotiable priority, because not a day goes by where something or someone doesn’t try to take advantage of both.
It could be a team member that comes to you to make every decision, it could be the “next big thing” someone wants you to do or it could be as ordinary as another meeting request. Every second you spend on these things means time spent away from your other priorities. That makes choosing how you and your team spend your time vital. Learn to say, ‘no’ to things that aren’t going to help further your organization’s mission and vision. Remember, as a leader, it’s your job to set the course, prioritize the steps, and use your time wisely as you go—even if your staff likes the current course they’re on.
Before we move on, let’s look at one more example…a snowflake. Yep, I said, snowflake. Let’s assume you and your staff are currently working on an end-of-year promotional postcard. Let’s also assume that you’ve been involved with this project for awhile. Something just isn’t right; even after 19 revisions, that little snowflake—the one thing you all agree on—could move just a little to the left. STOP…just stop for one minute. As a leader, is this the best use of your time? Will that little nudge to the left further the mission of your organization? If the answer is ‘no’, leave it be—or delegate the final decision to someone else—then, move on to those things that really matter and demand your attention.
Let’s be honest, we all have our snowflakes…those things that we nitpick or camp on for way to long. Those decisions or lack thereof, kill our productivity and drive our poor teams crazy. If you are prone to this, talk to your team about it. They already know you do it, so give them permission to kindly help you not move the snowflake 19 times, when you start to hyperfocus on a task.
Friends, here’s the bottomline; we have been called by God to lead ministries. We are to be good stewards of the resources He gives us. This includes our time, so it should be spent wisely.
Dear Christian Radio…
1. Plan wisely. A good plan is the first step toward a great outcome.
2. Be flexible. Bending doesn’t mean breaking; however, it very well could mean winning.
3. Prioritize with purpose. Know what’s important to your mission and focus on them.
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