I hate it when people say that they are busy. We have all heard that person say, “sorry I am just too busy to…” You can fill in the blank. The reason that it bugs me so much is because we are all busy. I’m busy, you are busy, the person making excuses is busy.
Being busy is not the problem, being efficient is the problem.
We all have the exact amount of time in the day (24 hours last time I checked). If you want to get the most out of this life and be the best possible leader to your students, then you must be more efficient.
Anyone can maximize their efficiency by just making some simple adjustments.
1. Do the Most Important Things First
I don’t care how much you hate the mornings, we do our best work before lunch. Our brain is rested, we have energy, and we are at our creative best. Those tasks that are important and require mental energy do first.
Block off a few mornings to prep and write that sermon. The annual review you have to write for the church, schedule it for Wednesday morning.
The two requirements are importance and mental energy. Spending time with students is important but mentally easy. These types of things should fill your afternoon when your mind and body are starting to get tired.
2. Find the Right Space for the Right Tasks
We associate different spaces for different tasks. We tell our boys all the time, “The living room is not where you play soccer.”
Where do you do your best creative thinking? Where do you get the most administration done? Where is the best place for you to meet with people?
When you have the answers to these questions start doing the tasks there. Oh and here is a hint, your office is not the answer to all of them.
I have created a very social atmosphere in my office. I got rid of my big desk and replaced it with a tiny one and moved in a couch and chairs. My office is where I answer emails and meet with students and coworkers.
When I want to write, prep a class, or create a sermon it is useless trying to accomplish it in my office. There are too many people coming by to talk. So I leave the office and head to the public library by my house. This is where my creative work gets done.
3. Have a System to Get Things Off Your Mind
We all get distracted. If you have made it this far in reading this blog you have probably thought of 6 things you need to do. This isn’t the biggest deal when reading a blog. However, it can kill your efficiency when you are writing that sermon.
When the idea comes, get it off your mind. Don’t ignore it or forget it. Actually, I am suggesting the opposite. Write it down so you don’t have to think about it anymore.
This is one of the most important lessons I learned when I read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. I don’t care where you write down your ideas. It could be a journal, evernote, notes on your iPhone. The key is that it is a place that you will go back to and look at what you wrote down.
What this little trick does, is allow you to capture all of your ideas that pop in your head but at the same time, being able to focus deeply on the task at hand. This is key to efficiency.
What do you do to be efficient?