I work in what one would call an “open office.” For some it would be a “good” thing not having walls around their desks, giving them the ability to be highly relational and creatively collaborative all of the time. When I come to the “office,” I am there to get the administrative “stuff” out of the way. I have tasks I need to get out of the way. This would be fine, except I work with others who see “office time” as “connection time.” What this means is that I rarely feel like I can be productive in getting my “check list” accomplished.
Fortunately, I figured out how to remedy this atmosphere that is a “productivity vacuum” for me. It involved communicating with my staff about our different office time needs. I also need to take the time at least once a week with my team, to meet that relational need. It got me thinking about those universal ways we can be unproductive:
Plan Your Work & Work the Plan
A mentor of mine taught me this awesome saying, “Plan your work and work your plan.” The “plan” is not the accomplishment. We have to take steps to FINISH the plan. Follow through brings momentum. I actually believe that getting the admin stuff under control gives more time for relational building.
Tyranny of The Urgent:
We are working our plan when BLAM something blows up. All attention is diverted to put out the fire. This is fine in times of crisis. However, it’s easy to never work our plan and ONLY be a firefighter. Learn the difference between a real and perceived emergency.
This can be the hardest part of all we need to get done. There are times when we people need us and it’s true that they are more important than the “stuff” that needs to get done. HOWEVER, we also need to learn what should be at the top of the list and order what needs to be done well.
Jack Of All Trades and Master of None:
It’s my job to do it all! An inability to delegate is one of the worst blows to productivity. No one person can accomplish everything. Nothing is getting done with excellence while everything is a little bit mediocre. Make a list of all of your responsibilities. What MUST you do yourself? What does your leadership say HAS to be in your hands? Then what is left? This is what you delegate. You’re right no one will ever do it as well as you do. However, the more you give away, the more others become invested.
There are so many other ways productivity is lost. I can think of times when my vision for ministry wasn’t clear or when I failed to communicate that vision.
The point is to identify what gets you “stuck” and then to work on that ONE thing first…
What is your productivity vacuum?