Sunday, January 15, 2017

Seminary PL33: Time Management

This is the second post on church administration in my "Seminary in a Nutshell" series. In this series, I first did a section on the Person and Calling of a Minister. Now this is the thirty-third post in a section on the Pastor as a Leader (see at the bottom).

The previous post gave one perspective on kinds of habits that a good administrators and managers have. This post gives some more tips.
1. Another classic in management and administration is Ken Blanchard's One Minute Manager. Here is a collection of tips from the book:
  • Take at least a minute a day to look into the faces of the people who work with you.
  • Something is wrong if the people above you in the organization think you are great but the people below you think you are horrible.
  • It's not either results or people. It's both.
  • "People who feel good about themselves produce results" (13)
  • Productivity is both quality and quantity.
  • Meet with the team, perhaps once a week.
  • A good manager makes it clear what those under her supervision are supposed to do, and that is what they are held accountable for.
  • A goal should be able to fit in 250 words.
  • 80% of the really important results of an organization will come from 20% of your goals (which should be in a person's key area of responsibility).
  • Identify problems in behavioral terms that are observable and measurable.
  • Agree with those under your supervision on what the goals are.
  • When you have a goal, revisit it regularly to see if you are making progress. Blanchard suggests writing it down but there are now electronic means.
  • Always praise others when they do something well. "Help people reach their full potential. Catch them doing something right" (23).
  • Supervisees should know that you are going to tell them how they are doing. And tell them. Give them a moment to feel approval or redirection.
  • Good managers give clear reprimands when someone under their supervision does something wrong. It is a brief reprimand that you feel and then it's over. The moment ends with reaffirmation.
  • The most effective minutes a supervisor has is the one he or she invests in people.
  • "We are not just our behavior. We are the person managing our behavior" (51).
  • "Goals begin behavior. Consequences maintain behaviors" (54).
2. Blanchard's book is not exactly on time management, although we would no doubt free up a lot of time if we followed its basic ideas. Because he emphasizes trust of your employees, clear goals with clear praise and correction, a lot of time would be freed up in supervision. A lot of time wasted in lack of clarity would be freed up.

For more conventional time management, I close out this post with notes from 15 Secrets Productive People Know about Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs. Here are some of the main points of the book, put in my words with my expansions:
  • Make every minute count. I should add that some purely "always be doing stuff" approach will not be as productive for most people as a day that includes social interaction, breaks, and so forth.
  • Time is your most important asset. There are 1440 minutes in a day. Know your every minute and where it is going.
  • Before you take on a new project, know how many minutes of your time it's going to take and whether you have them to give.
  • Have an MIT every day, a "most important task." Prioritize. 
  • Within each day, what are the tasks that will lead to achieve the MIT? Which one do I need to be doing right now?
  • Work on your number 1 priority in the first part of your day. Don't allow for interruptions (email, etc).
  • Work from a calendar, not a to-do list. Schedule tasks on your calendar ("time blocking"). Treat them like appointments. Schedule important things early in day. Don't cancel; reschedule.
  • Procrastination is a battle with yourself in five minutes. How can you sabotage your future self? How can you beat yourself when you know that in ten minutes you are going to procrastinate something you ultimately want or need to do?
  • Learn to accept that there will always be more to do. Don't feel like a failure because you go home from work without everything done.
  • Always carry a notebook. I'm laughing to myself because I have been doing a lot of the things in this book now for a few years. I'm not there yet, but this list is cracking me up.
  • Process email three times a day. Give 21 minutes to each session (321 method). 
  • Use "4Ds" with email: do it, delegate it, defer it, delete it (or archive). You might also file it.
  • Think twice before forwarding, blind copying, etc. Keep emails short. Deal with all email in 48 hours.
  • Put the action in the subject line (FYI, ACTION REQUIRED, No response needed, EOM--end of message, when the subject line is all there is to the email).
  • Treat meetings as a last resort. Start them on time. Make sure the right people are there and not the wrong people. Don't let the trivial take over. Don't let the wrong people dominate the meeting. Make sure they are scheduled at good times. Alternatively, I have also found that regular meetings can also serve as dedicated time to advance long term, quadrant II goals.
  • Say no, especially to things that do not advance your immediate goals. Every yes is a no to something else. "Beware of distant elephants." They may look small now... :-)
  • Eighty percent of the results will come from twenty percent of the action. This was also in Blanchard above. As you approach your life, your time, your work, where should your twenty percent focus be. Start there, focus there, and then branch into the other eighty percent.
  • Drop, delegate, or redesign. What activities can I drop entirely. What items can I delegate? What activities do I need to do but can redesign to do in a more time-efficient way? Play to your strengths and passions, not your weaknesses.
  •  Theme your days. Dedicate certain days to certain types of tasks. 
  • "Highly successful people take immediate action on almost every item they encounter." If a task can be completed in less than five minutes, do it immediately.
  • Invest the first 60 minutes of your day in activities that invigorate your mind, body, and spirit. Getting right to work isn't always the most efficient use of your time in the long run. Set your alarm accordingly. Sounds like devotions, a run, blogging. :-)
  • Productivity is about energy and focus, not time. That means good health. That means breaks. That means enough sleep.
  • The author gives some more tips even after he has reached fifteen. Capture, calendar, concentrate.
  • "Done is better than perfect." :-)
Next Week: Pastor as Leader 34: Project Management

Leadership in General
Strategic Planning
Church Management
Conflict Management
Church Administration

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