remindersIncreasing Productivity By Pairing Intention With Priorities

I enjoy conversations with people. I have discovered that relationships and relational interaction with other people are two of my strongest gifts. When people share the chapters from the stories in their lives I see God’s invitation to have His redemption story written into their life.  I can sit and listen–I can sit and talk with people…for hours. However, I have also learned that I will let other areas of work slip by without giving it adequate attention.

On Monday mornings I have a casual meeting with one of my office volunteers and one of the church elders. During this meeting we will discuss wins and challenges we observed during our Sunday morning celebration. This is a valuable time for the three of us and I enjoy the conversation. However, this meeting can often last from 9am to 12noon. By 4pm on Monday afternoon rolls around I have not given proper time or attention to other tasks that require my attention. Sometimes I let things I enjoy be my reason to procrastinate giving time to other things I don’t enjoy so much.

Part of my leadership role includes equipping other people to serve in the organization of our church. Without proper priorities I limit my ability to produce results in equipping people to improve their gifts to serve. Although I enjoy hearing stories and having the conversation on Monday morning I often find that I’m out of time for other tasks that need proper attention. I have allowed the more enjoyable aspects of leadership, having conversation with others, to push other priorities needing my attention out of the way. This happens because I haven’t scheduled my priorities to intentionally spend time focusing on how to equip others to improve areas in the church we serve and lead.

In leadership, people must be a priority but to lead well, I must prioritize my work. To lead well, I must examine my habits to ensure my priorities and my intentions. As a leader I must establish the discipline of focusing upon
what I learn to equip others. Jim Collins shared a discovery in his book Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…An Others Don’t.  “The good-to-great companies did not focus principally on what to do to become great; they focused equally on what not to do and what to stop doing” (Collins, 2011, p. 11).

Productive people pair intention and priorities together. Simon Sinek says,  “Most of us live our lives by accident–we live as it happens. Fulfillment comes when we live our lives on purpose” (Sinek, 2016, p. 6).  If I am going to fulfill my service as a leader in any organization, I must learn to live with purposeful intentions. He also writes, “Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge” (Sinek, 2016, p. 9). If I intend to take care of and equipping “those in my charge,” I must also learn to take care of myself. One aspect of taking care of myself includes intentionally developing my personal priorities so I have adequate time to produce materials and spend time developing others to serve in Jesus’ church. Problem diagnosed, now what is the cure?

In order to pair my intentions and priorities I am developing an additional habit for my morning. After a time of spiritual reflection and prayer I make a list of things I recognize need to be a priority for the day and week. This time of calm allows me to align my intentions with my priorities. I will use Scripture passages like Romans 12:3–8 and Ephesians 4:3–16. This time and focus allows me to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in making intentional priorities.

There are also tools available for helping pair my intentions and priorities into a plan that increases my productivity. The old fashion “to do” list has been enhanced through the world of smart phones. My iPhone has an app on it called “reminders.” I have learned to use this app to establish reminders of other priorities that need my time. You can find a tutorial for this app here, “How to Use Reminders on Your iPhone in iOS 7.” There are also other reminder lists available for the Android phones here, “10 Best Reminder Apps For Android.

So, if you are like me and have a hard time keeping your intentions and priorities aligned, will you accept my challenge? Set up a reminder on your phone to establish the habit of reminding yourself of the intentions in your ministry so you can align your day with priorities that help you produce your goals. Start now by setting your reminder for the reminder starting tomorrow morning. Next, recognize that new habits take some time to establish and you will resist it at first. Then follow this reminder for the next 14 days. Begin reaping the benefits of establishing a habit that productive leaders have learned to follow.

Sinek, S. (2016). Together is better: A little book of inspiration. NY, NY: Portfolio/Penguin.

Collins, Jim (2011-07-19). Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t (p. 11). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.