5 Secrets to Combat Wasting Time

5 Secrets to Combat Wasting Time

Last week we discussed time, our most valuable, non-replenishable resource. Specifically, we looked at five ways we waste time - most of the time, without even knowing it. 

Today, I want to offer five responses to combat the five ways we waste time. I’ll remind you of the five points from last week's post, and then I'll offer a practical response you can use today to stop wasting time and start stewarding this valuable resource well.

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5 Hidden Ways We Waste Time

5 Hidden Ways We Waste Time

Time. It’s our most valuable, non-replenishable resource and yet so easy to waste. Here’s my favorite quote about time: 

"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back." – Harvey MacKay

No one means to waste time, but we do. Here are 5 ways this happens that you may not have even been aware of. 

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How To Eliminate Pointless Meetings and Reclaim Your Time

If there's one thing we don't need more of, it's meetings. So many of us – in the whirlwind of managing the life of our church – find ourselves in so many meetings. And some of them are flat out pointless.

This is due to some myths we have about meetings:

  • All meetings have to be at least 1 hour
  • Everyone has to be in every meeting so they don't feel left out
  • I have to be in every meeting so I know what is going on
  • We must fill the agenda with the most urgent items
  • And many more...

When we believe these myths, we waste so many meetings. And on a regular basis. 

This is a very fear-based way to lead.

Fear that the urgent will overwhelm you if you don't manage it. Fear that decisions can't be made without you. Fear of the discomfort of moving things forward and settling for the safety of talking around a table.

What if you begin to lead and manage with this theory: @@Urgent will always make time for itself. We must make time for the important.@@

What frustrations do you have about meetings? What myths do you need to kick to the curb?

If you’re sick of pointless meetings too, I have a solution for you.

I created a template for a weekly 2-hour maintenance meeting that we use every week here at Mission Church. It has eliminated the need for many other meetings, while aligning our team around our most important goals so we can move things forward faster.

I want to share this valuable resource with you. Download my FREE Team Alignment Meeting Template today. Use it weekly to:

  • Optimize your important meetings
  • Eliminate your non-essential meetings
  • Reclaim your time

How to Optimize Your Day in a New Ministry Season

@@Dear Pastor, Your church is back to a routine. Are you?@@

Not sure if you noticed, but this past Sunday was National Back To Church Sunday. It’s the time of year when our country gets back to church because they’re back to a routine. Hopefully the plan for your church in this season was done a couple months ago. But what about for you? What’s the plan for you as you get back to a new ministry season?

For all leaders who are getting back into a routine or anyone who just wants to better their routine, try these:

Define The Day

A lot of us enter a day allowing whatever is on our desk or within our inbox to define our day. 5pm rolls around, and all we’ve done is bad work. Instead, define your day with 1 significant thing you will move forward. Sure, peripheral things will need to get, done but that 1 significant thing is getting done.

TIP: If you want to go the extra mile, start sharing these things with your team. Our team at Mission, gets on Voxer by 8:15am and shares the significant thing we are moving forward that day.

Prioritize The Day

If there are significant things and insignificant things to get done, but they all need to get done - where do you start? I recommend picking a small thing to start with. Get a victory under your belt. Its like making your bed everyday. It’s promotes positivity and accomplishment. Prioritize the things you need to get done, and get them done.

TIP: There are number of methods to accomplish this like David Allen’s 1-3-5 Method and tools like Wunderlist and Nozbe.

Block The Day

We all have 3 main modes we work in: Meeting Mode, Grinder Mode, Creative Mode. Do you know when is the best time to do what? The best time for meetings is the afternoon and it’s not because you’re the sharpest. It’s because you’re fading and a meeting will draw out what you have left for the day. The best time to grind out work is in the morning. And the best time to be creative is, sorry to say, after 8pm for most people. How do you block out your days to do the right work at the right time of day? 

TIP: Create a new calendar in your calendar app called “Calendar Blocking” and set your ideal week. When it’s time to schedule, use this as your template.

Energize The Day

My latest reading has taught me that, at best, we can focus and give energy to something for 90 minutes. Instead, we emerge from our office for lunch and a bathroom break. Start by focusing your energy into 60-90 minute sprints throughout your day. In between, take a 15 minute walk or talk to your teammates about anything other than work. Isn’t that unproductive? It is, but this recovery is necessary for your next focused sprint. And lastly, workout before or in the middle of your day. There are so many benefits to doing this, mainly, the endorphins that are released in your body as motivators.

TIP: I’ve done my workout before and during work. Both are great. I’ve found that getting in the office to grind out tasks when it’s quiet, catching up with the team after they arrive, and leaving to workout sets me up for a productive afternoon.

How do you get back into a routine in a new ministry season? What tips do you use to optimize your day?

The 4 Senses of an Inspiring Workspace

When a person walks into your organization’s workspace, are they inspired or underwhelmed? Are they prompted to think, “Things must get done around here!” or are they prompted to ask, “What goes on in here?"

I’ve learned over time to give more attention to how our workplace feels, looks, sounds and even smells. Sure, you can ignore all of these things and still accomplish your goals - but what if just a little bit goes a long way for your team and your visitors?

@@In your workspace, appeal to the senses to inspire your visitors and motivate your team.@@

1. Feel

You know the saying “You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good.”? It’s true. My father was my boss for 8 years, and every year around review time, he gave me the same coaching: “Tommy, you need to dress for success.” And I still need that coaching. I’m not a slob, but I love to be comfortable. But when I respect my work enough to dress up for it, others will respect my work too. Give your team a dress code. That’s right, a dress code. Don’t make it rigid, stiff and inauthentic. Make it inspiring. 

2. Sight

When you walk into a restaurant, theater, store or coffee shop, your first experience is with what is visible. And what you see sets the tone for your experience. When visitors walk into your office, what impresses them? When your team walks in to start the day, what motivates them? Use your workspace as a canvas for your vision. Oh, and keep it clean. Cleanliness is next to godliness, right? 

3. Hearing

I wrote a post on music in the workplace, and I’ve had people thank me for this little step because it has boosted their own productivity and put a pep in the step of their team. Use music to set the tone for your office environment. When you workout, music matters. When you worship, music matters. When you watch a movie, music matters. Therefore when you work, music matters. 

4. Smell

That’s right smell. There are so many studies on how scent affects our mind and body. This is silly, but a few months ago I placed Eucalyptus Spearmint plug-ins around the office and I cannot believe how many people have commented about it with tremendous pleasure. And here is what I believe they are saying to me beneath the surface: “It smells good in here!”…they are saying “If you care this much about smell of your office, how much more do you care about the even bigger things that affect my life?” 

Maybe I’m totally crazy about the importance of these small things. If so, I’m fine with that. @@How you steward the seemingly insignificant influences how you steward the wildly important.@@

How are you being intentional about your office space? What small changes can you make today that will have a big impact?

3 Playlists to Boost Your Productivity

In the Disney film Snow White, the 7 Dwarfs famously sang, “Whistle While You Work.” That was 1937, and thankfully, today we can enjoy music at work without the effort of whistling.

Numerous studies have shown that listening to music while working can make you more productive. But it’s more complex than that. For instance...

  • Familiar music is best for focus
  • Ambient music is best for creative thinking
  • Classical music is best for long, immersive tasks
  • Jazz music is best for blank slate tasks
  • Lyric music is often distracting

You should consider what you and your team are listening to while you work and while simply at work. @@You can orchestrate the mood, efficiency and culture of your team with music.@@

Here are three Spotify playlists that I use to do just that:

Jazztronica by Spotify

If I have a time in front of me to knock out a few tasks with a blank slate and without an urgent deadline, I go with this jazz/electronic blend.

Perfect Concentration by Spotify

If I have a project or task that requires deeper thinking into a topic over a longer period of time, I’ll go with this classical playlist.

Mission Office Mix by Tommy Bowman

This is the playlist that plays continuously throughout the common area of our office. It’s over 10 hours of ambient music. It provides an inspiring mood boost and very practically covers up semi-private conversations.

What tunes do you crank when you need to get stuff done?