“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 NLT)
The way I see it, there are two reasons people want to be more productive:
- To get more work done.
- To have more time to do the things that are important.
This past week was the roughest week in youth ministry I’ve encountered so far. Three major crises took place that took my effort and attention away from my regular work and routine. Crisis management is not uncommon for a pastor, but it is common to be unprepared to handle the extra stress and effort that crises create. That’s why it’s so important to be productive because you never know when you’ll need to be ahead on your work! Here’s my top 5 habits that create sustainable, productive habits:
1. Wake up early. This is one of the most important things you can do to increase productivity. It allows you to eat a good breakfast, make a healthy lunch, do your devotions, engage in personal development, exercise and it allows you some extra time to put a little more effort into your appearance. Yes, you can do all that before you get into the office!
2. Exercise. In my experience exercise has been one of the biggest influencers of my productivity. I usually hit the gym or jog prior to work so I hit the ground running when I arrive at the office. Exercise also keeps my energy levels up for the day (no red bull required).
3. Create a schedule for your inbox. I don’t know what your inbox is like but I receive anywhere between 50-100 emails/day. If you keep you inbox open all day your bound to get distracted and look at each email that comes your way (especially if you’re using a notification system like Growl (which I have disabled)). I manage my inbox at 3 times during the day (6am, 12pm & 5pm). It’s a great way to stay on task and not let other people’s inquiries, questions and stupid forwards determine where your time is spent.
4. Take social media breaks. I love social media but hate how much time it steals from my life. Much like managing your inbox you need to manage your Twitter feed or Facebook page. DO NOT LEAVE THEM ON ALL DAY. The reason is because you will be inundated with great posts to read, cool websites to browse, conversations to get involved in, and pictures to ‘like’. All of which you don’t get paid for and aren’t of highest importance. I like taking social media breaks about every 2 hours for about 5 minutes. This allows me stay on task and also keep up with my online communities
5. Go to bed early. Because you have to wake up early to be productive! Also, I don’t find I do much of value past 9pm. It’s usually just lounging, watching tv/movies, browsing the web…etc.
Those are my top 5 habits that boost my productivity. What would you add to the list?