Ed. note: If we could only do what this article suggests it would add hundreds of hours of productivity to all our churches! As we mature in the faith, it is often the seemingly "little" things that can be the most destructive, but we must deal with them if we want to be all the Lord wants us to be. Gayle gives us fantastic advice in this article on how to conquer the distractions that threaten to do us all in.
Five o’clock, the end of your day. You were busy; you achieved some good things. Still, too much of the day was unproductive. Tasks that should have been done were not. Low priority tasks somehow edged out those of more value.
What could have been done differently? What actions would have produced better results?
Time management is a complex subject. Good sleep is important as it directly affects work productivity. Losing focus can be slightly aided with coffee or smart wakefulness pills you can get on https://buy-modafinil-online.org/vilafinil. Fortunately, understanding and acting on even small pieces of the puzzle makes a tangible difference. In most church offices, interruptions and distractions are routine. These techniques can help you handle them with ease.
• Get rid of clutter
Unnecessary stuff is a distraction in itself. Keeping the office neat is one of the best and easiest ways to increase productivity. Resolve today to stop accumulating and start discarding. Get rid of whatever you don’t need: outdated files, old catalogs, keys for you-can’t-imagine-what of course—but, if plants, photos, memorabilia, and bric-a-brac are time wasting distractions (and they certainly can be), remove them from your space as well. Stuff, even nice stuff, can slow you down if you have too much of it.
• Weed out unnecessary tasks
No one can do all the things that might be done—not even all the good things. Don’t try. Really. Too many things on your to-do list simply muddy the water and distract you from focusing on tasks that give the best return on time invested. Putting jobs in priority order is not nearly as important as choosing the necessary jobs out of the huge number of daily possibilities. Not everything that could be done should be done.
• Control the noise level
If you are reading this in your office, stop and make a quick list of the sounds you hear: perhaps office equipment whirring, lights buzzing, voices in the hall, computer, phone, coworkers, background music, construction going on outside, a custodian running a vacuum, daycare kids on the playground, traffic …
Even if you are a focused person, distractions will take a toll on productivity. What noises in your office could be controlled or eliminated? One ministry assistant was surprised to discover that all tube lighting fixtures didn’t buzz; hers had for years.
• Do an interruption inventory
Starting a project, stopping to answer the phone, starting again, stopping to check email, getting back to the project, stopping to discuss an issue with a coworker—so it goes. At this pace, more time may be spent on interruptions than on the project. Interruptions are one of our most troublesome distractions.
An effective way to get a handle on interruptions is to do a quick self-check:
1) As soon as you arrive at the office, list and number the things you intend to do today. If you are in the good habit of listing your next day’s goals before you leave the office each afternoon, use that list for this purpose.
2) At the bottom of your list, leave room for a list of interruptions and distractions.
3) As you begin work on each item on your to-do list, note the time.
4) Each time you are interrupted, mark the reason on your interruption list as well as the amount of time you were diverted from the task in progress.
Follow this drill for three or four days to give yourself a realistic picture of the kinds of interruptions you are dealing with and the amount of time they consume.
Some “interruptions” (phones, visitors, input from staff) are really our job. These distractions will never be eliminated. But most of us discover that many of our interruptions are self-imposed. We interrupt ourselves! Armed with your lists you can pinpoint these time wasters and you can control them.
Learning from your list, you can make it a practice to gather everything you need for a task before you begin, you can learn a computer shortcut before it is needed, you can ignore email until times you designate to check it. You may actually cut your interruptions in half just by eliminating the self-generated ones.
• Know what not to care about.
Think about some of the main topics of discussion in your office the past few weeks. Is anything there that really just doesn’t matter? Has time and energy been spent on things that have nothing to do with ministry, that are neither enlightening nor beneficial, that contribute in no meaningful way to the harmony of the office? Who needs it? Not you!
You care more about productivity than chatter. You know how to deal with distractions.