Here’s one of my best tips for getting more done in ministry. I’m wondering if you did it this morning.
Plan your day . . . before you check your email.
If you did that this morning, awesome. And if you didn’t–well, try it tomorrow! I find there is a close correlation between my ability to do this and how productive I am, and I’m hooked on this strategy.
Because this is more than a technical fix.
When you make decisions about your day before checking email, you are saying, I am going to define my day. I am not letting others define it for me. You are setting your priorities for the day. You are blocking out time when you are not going to be available. You are making time for your most important projects.
Now, I know that one of those emails could derail your plan. That’s OK. All good plans are flexible. It’s the practice of deciding, day after day, that you are in charge of your own schedule, that’s important. Then you can assess when you do read those emails what is the relative importance of the requests people are making of you.
The corollary of course, is to plan your day before you look at social media. Personally, I find this easier, although I slip up once in awhile. Social media is designed to get and keep your attention. That may not serve your highest priorities very well. (Tip: I use Social Fixer, a browser add-on for Facebook where you can make choices about what you want to see. It also only allows you to see 50 posts at a time, then you have to make a choice to continue.)
I’ve been learning a little about the brain and the way experiences that provide intermittent rewards are the most addictive. Email provides this. The social media companies are intentional about designing experiences that do it. Likewise, we need intention to take the time alone to do the daily, thoughtful planning that are essential for making progress in ministry.
How do you plan your day? What choices can you make about email and social media that will help you? I’d love to know, just email me back.