Administration is actually an important element to ministry success and productivity, believe it or not. Youth workers are perceived to be poor administrators, but you can’t be productive long in youth ministry these days without the ability to ‘push the pencil’ or organize Dropbox. In fact, to lead youth ministry well in a local church demands a wide range of skills, and experienced youth ministry leaders are among the most talented leaders I’ve ever met. They’ve proven over time that they can engage the emerging generations, teach well, organize, counsel, administrate, and give of themselves each week with a schedule that seems 24/7.
But, back to my point: Often office work takes more time than it needs to take. You’re shocked, I know. But, office work is a skill that has to be developed. And it’s one that people don’t naturally do well.
Steps toward great productivity with office time
I work with freelance writers who, out of necessity, have (hopefully) learned how to maximize their efficiency. Rebecca Garland recently discussed office time for freelance writers, which prompted me to think how her points would help the productivity of youth workers and not make office work longer than it needs to be (don’t even get me started about how our office work has squeezed out our study time each week). I’ve taken some of her themes and adjusted them (and even added a bit):
- Do you do a bit here and a bit there throughout the day? Try to focus on a particular task and do just that for a set amount of time.
- Recognize the little tasks that eat up your time and be sure to schedule time to accomplish the big tasks (nod to Seth Godin’s post here).
- Are you actually working most of the time in the office? Keep track of your time spent while in the office and you’ll find that you’re doing other things (surfing, Email, putting stuff off) than you realize. Out of 4 hours in the office, how many of them are actually spent on work?
- Touch a paper only once. We still use paper, but I find that I just move a paper around my office from one pile to another… and then back again (it seems that way, at least!). Try to engage and file/put away/deal with a piece of paper once. Once. And done. My version of this one is that I make lists. Lots of lists. That don’t mean much. I’ve not put a time next to each task on my daily list – the amount of focused time I’m giving to getting that done. Not just working on it, but working to get it done. This has actually helped me juggle a variety of responsibilities each week. And be more productive with less time wasted. (oh, and turning off Email has helped too).
- Keep track of the hours you study each week in total. This isn’t your devotional time or reading the newspaper headlines, but your intentional pursuit of developing your mind in your field or discipline.
What tips did I miss? What do you do to maintain a high level of productivity in the office? How do you define ‘productivity’?
What habits do you need to break and change to be more productive? I’ve thought of a few for me and I’m getting better this summer at staying on task so I can not have office work seep over into other areas of my life where it doesn’t need to be.
And as I close this post, I realize that I like writing blog posts. More than I do the 7 items on my To-Do list that must be done today. So, I wrote this when I should’ve been working on one of those… whether I felt like it or not. Ah, back to work.