The pastor is supposed to be an exegete, an encourager, a counselor, a public speaker, a mediator, an accountant, a graphic designer, a hospital visitor, an entrepreneur, a janitor, a computer technician, an organizer, a fundraiser, and a whole lot more. And to all of this, I suggest that the pastor should be a productivity guru. Why do I add yet another? Unless the pastor knows a thing or two about productivity, he is going to be in deep trouble. Read on for three productivity tips, two productivity books, and one productivity reminder.
The Pastor As A Productivity Guru
Three Productivity Tips for the Pastor
Want to be more productive with your time? Here are three simple suggestions that may very well revolutionize your life.
- Check email less often. Email can become a wasted time vortex. Assuming you have email, it can be so easy to check it all the time. To save scads of time, check your email only two or three times a day at a set time. Schedule it in to your day, and don’t stray. If you receive phone notifications for incoming emails, turn it off. Don’t let email swallow up your day. It doesn’t need to.
- Plan first. Before the day really gets going, spend at least five minutes planning out your day. I have often rushed into a day in panic mode thinking “AAAH! I DON’T HAVE TIME TO PLAN!” What a mistake. The day becomes One Massive Panic, rushing heedlessly from one unfinished task to the next before I crumble in a whimpering heap of wasted time and frazzled nerves. Set an agenda in which you write down three things (and only three things) that must get done that day. Anything else is bonus. Stop. Plan. Don’t let panic rob your day. Instead, let planning pave the way for a productive day.
- Organize loose ends. Stressful days set in because we have messy offices, cluttered computer desks, ominous email inboxes, unfinished to-do lists and whatever else. Our brain maladjusts to the mess, creating a sense of confusion that wrecks real productivity. What is needed is a massive cleanup operation, in which you align priorities, responsibilities, schedules, and even your physical space to allow for maximum productivity. The organization process itself can take several days, which is one of the reasons why so many people put if off. In essence, however, an organization overhaul enhances productivity for the long term. It’s not something that can be done on a weekend or in the evenings. It takes real chunks of time. It would be in your best interest as soon as possible to take several days to organize everything.
Two Productivity Books for the Pastor
A single blog post isn’t going to explain how to be ultimately productive. Here are two book recommendations that may help.
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen. The cult of GTD has evolved around this handy little manual. While you may not be a slave to Allen’s streamlined process, you can certainly gain some helpful productivity tips from this book.
- Getting Organized: Improving Focus, Organization and Productivity, Chris Crouch. Crouch, a personal productivy trainer has compiled his process into an easy-to-read little book (176 pages). The book itself is an organized way to achieve organization and productivity.
One Productivity Reminder for the Pastor
Productivity is a great goal to pursue. But remember, being productive isn’t the main goal. You are called to love God and people, serving others, teaching God’s Word, and preaching the gospel. Productivity should help you in the pursuit of these main goals. Your system of productivity is never paramount. My own pastor, having spent a lot of time studying productivity, stated it well, “You can be so focused on productivity that you fail to be productive.”
To be productive is to be more effective at managing time, tasks, and responsibilities, thus relieving the constant urgency of life’s demands. God is the ultimate Plan-Maker, Schedule-Setter, and Life Changer. Submit to Him, pray for Help, and pursue productivity—for His glory.