I Thought I Was Focused but I wasn’t
I was in my quiet time and I couldn’t believe it. My mind was straying all over the place. I seemed to lack the ability to concentrate for more than two minutes without my mind straying. No wonder I’ve been distracted lately! In my busyness I let things slip and realized I needed to get back to these 3 laser-like focusing practices…
First The Challenge
This fall I started a new job. I am the head online studies at Vanguard College. I am responsible for offering all of our campus programs, Youth Ministry, Pastoral Ministry etc online. This involves directing 12 professors, 70 courses, 74 students in many different programs and numbers of support staff… Lots to think about above my teaching, volunteering, and my family! The thing is, I have been buried this deep before and been more focused. That’s because back then I was more organized, clear on my daily tasks, and never took my eyes off my goals. Here’s what I am doing now
1. Getting Organized
Its more work than it sounds when you’ve been letting things accumulate for a season! I like to start with my desk. I know that some people say that a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind but I waste a lot of time looking for things if I let it get out of control.
Beyond my desk I need to sort out my office and my computer. If files are out of place in my computer or my office the projects that they are attached to are not getting the right amount or kind of attention.
Next I focus on my schedule. Is each week planned for maximum effectiveness or have I been letting my to do list call the shots. I have to be certain that I am making things happen rather than just responding to things as they come my way.
I’ve found getting back to my master schedule planned out in 1/2 hour increments works best. It’s not enough for me to just have it in my head I need to take at least half an hour at the start of the week to plan out my week. An hour or two in the week to devote to long term planning really keeps me on track.
2. Getting Help
When I get unorganized or I fall behind in my work it is difficult to ask for help. I don’t feel right doing it because it turns out being a last minute request from someone who doesn’t really have the time to help. When I have a better idea of what I am doing I can ask people to get involved weeks in advance. There are some things I need to do myself. There are some things that others should be doing. There is also another group of tasks that aren’t important or necessary. I end up doing these kinds of things when I don’t have a clear plan.
3. Plan out Short and Long Term Goals
Normally when I’m running from one thing to the next I’m not prioritizing as I should. I may be procrastinating a task that I’m not good at so I end up doing things that are easy or enjoyable. When I take the time to focus on the big picture, then I can map out each of the incremental steps along the way. My days take on more meaningful as I know that I’m completing priority tasks to reach my weekly goals. At the same time I don’t let the day to day stuff accumulate.
If things are in focus I suggest drop what you are doing and regroup. Take some time to refocus on what really matters over the next few month. Break down big goals into manageable weekly bite sized projects. Don’t be like the people who speed up when they get lost. Pull over from your busy life to get organized, do some planning, and delegating. You will feel so much better about your life and ministry when you get a sense of purpose and meaning to each day of your week.\
If you are looking for some help in this area you may find Youth Ministry Management 2.0 pretty useful. Here’s a link.