Priorities and “To Do” Lists

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As I work with leaders – particularly those with less experience – one pattern appears quite often: reactivity. By that I mean that instead of causing things to happen, things happen TO these individuals (or at least that is their impression). They come into work and are overwhelmed by a constant stream of tasks and (sometimes minor) details, all of which have to be handled IMMEDIATELY, or the Earth will spin off its axis and fly into the Sun…or so it seems…

Obviously, this is not true.

So tone down the drama and set your priorities, or they will be set for you – by others or by random events. And – if not – you’ll just spin your wheels in ineffectiveness. Decide what you want to accomplish each day – don’t let your e-mail decide it for you. List everything out, and share – and potentially reorder – the list with whoever oversees your area to make sure that you’re on the same page.

For those of you who struggle with your work ethic, welcome to being a functional part of society. I say that tongue-in-cheek, but the point is serious – for thousands of years, people have gotten things done without having to recover 45 minutes for every 15 they worked. Put your tasks in order of importance, finish them, check them off and move to the next. You will be amazed at what you have the capability to do.

For those of you who are on the other end of the spectrum (ie workaholics), focus. Focus your time on YOUR work and hand off the rest to appropriate team members whenever possible. Give your time and attention to areas where they are really needed – don’t just jump in and micromanage because it gives you the (illusionary) feeling of being in control. 

When a leader gets their priorities in order and starts knocking them out, their life (and the lives of the people around them) can change. When groups of leaders get focused behind the shared priorities, entire churches and communities can change. More in the days to come…

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