Here are the 5 things to do when you are super busy but still need to be productive.
1. Remember the 2 minute rule.
The two minute rule comes from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. It is basically this: if it takes two minutes to do, do it! If it takes more than two minutes, schedule a time. This is a great way to start a busy day. Check your email and your docket, completing everything that you can accomplish in two minutes or less.
This will ensure you don’t forget the little things and give proper attention to the big things.
2. Stop multitasking.
The suggestion to stop multitasking when you are super busy may sound counter intuitive, but big projects need big focus.
Imagine you are in a boat that has a serious leak. The leak could be repaired if you could just get enough water out of the boat, how ridiculous it would be if you were also trimming the sails and doing other boat things instead of just getting water out of the boat? Your progress would be moving so slowly on the repair project that every bucket of water you threw overboard would make no difference—you would sink!
That’s what it’s like to try and multitask when you are super busy. It’s exhausting and prevents you from getting things done the way you should. Your sermons will suffer, your events will suffer, and your relationships will suffer. You’ll be sunk.
3. Only check email and social media at scheduled times, even on your phone.
This is a no brainer—responding to emails as soon as you get them is a waste of time. You could spend all day only checking email and social media. In ministry, if it’s important, they will call or text you. The internet is a powerful tool when you are disciplined about using it. If you’re not disciplined, it’s a trap.
When you’re super busy, checking your email in the morning, again before or after lunch, and a third time before you go home is more than enough. I promise.
4. Stick to the plan.
It’s important once you have created a plan, and put things on your schedule, that you stick to it.
Tell your admins you are unavailable during the time you have scheduled to work on your sermon. Lock your door, go off campus, or whatever you have to do in order to focus on the task you have scheduled. Your time is the only real commodity you have. Be stingy with it. If you aren’t, you will never be a productive minister.
5. Slow down.
I call it the “wedding effect.” Have you ever noticed at a wedding that everyone gets worked up about all the stuff left to do? You have women running around straightening things, groomsmen who can’t find ties, and everybody’s mind is buzzing. People are running around very quickly, but nothing is getting done any faster. Even the simplest tasks seem to be taking forever.
When your mind is buzzing and you’re moving really quickly it’s like you enter into a feedback loop. You have to break the cycle. The best way to do this is to step away from your desk. Grab a pen and write down everything that is going through your mind: Every task; Every event. Everything.
When the list is complete. Set it aside. Read something, go get a coffee, pray, or whatever, for 10 minutes. Breathe. Come back to the list, and start the 2 minute rule.
A calm mind is a productive mind. A chaotic mind can only ever create chaos.