Project Management

John Guy

Posted On: 

May 18, 2017

pastor, to your church family, or to
your boss, it is essential to learn the
disciplines of getting things done. We all
enjoy the success of an accomplished
project, but we also know there’s always
more to get done than we seem to have
time to do. Proverbs 12:24 says, “The hand
of the diligent shall bear rule: but the
slothful shall be under tribute.” Here are
some keys to diligently getting things done.

Self-leadership is not as much about making good
decisions every day as it is about making a few
critical decisions in the major areas and then
managing those decisions day to day. The classic
example is the New Year’s resolution. The decision
at the beginning of a new year to exercise, read more
books, or finally tackle that project is easy. What
is sometimes difficult is following through and
managing that decision until it’s complete. Focus on
setting the right priorities and then managing those
priorities daily. Write out your priorities, review
these priorities regularly, prioritize your week and
your day according to these priorities. Make sure the
top of your to-do list reflects your highest priorities.
Remember, when you say yes to the right priority,
you are at the same time saying no to a thousand
other potential priorities.

In a word, I’d call this alignment. You
will never manage projects well if you
are not properly aligned with your
pastor, manager, or boss. Being out of
alignment always causes resistance
to forward momentum. Alignment
must also be frequently assessed
and adjusted because the tendency
of alignment is that it deteriorates.
Alignment also means that I am
championing a vision that is not my
own. This can be a challenge, because
the vision we are championing didn’t
originate with us. You can champion a
vision that is not your own by making
that vision your priority by asking,
“How would my pastor/boss want
this done?”, and by looking for ways
to add to and increase that vision.
What’s amazing is that as you do
these things, you will soon find that
the vision that once belonged to
someone else will become your own!

Once you are managing the right
priorities, and have aligned your
vision with your leader’s, now
you’re ready to get to work! So
what’s the plan? This plan must be
comprehensive—it must capture
everything you are needing to accomplish.
This plan must also be workable—happy
talk doesn’t get things done, but due dates
do. I would break it down into three steps.
First, write out every project on your todo list.
I take time every November to do
this for the coming year. If you are not
capturing every project, then it is likely
to either be forgotten or pester you every
day robbing your focus until it’s complete.
Second, write down detailed tasks that will
lead to the completion of each project. It’s
important here to note there is a difference
between a project and a task. Think of
a task in terms of being a single step to
complete. Think of a project as requiring
multiple steps (or tasks). Conducting VBS
would be a project. Ordering water
balloons for the 5th grade activity is
a task. Third, assign due dates to each
task. Due dates hold me accountable
to make sure I actually complete the
task. If you will put a plan like this
together and then act on it, you will be
miles ahead on your journey to getting
things done.

The plan outlined above needs to be put
into an electronic system that will help
you keep track of your projects, tasks,
and due dates. This is critical! Find a
productivity program or app that will
remind you daily of the “tasks” that are
due that day. Not tomorrow’s tasks or next
month’s tasks, but today’s. Then each day, be
sure to complete or time-activate forward
those tasks. So on a given day, you will be
working on any number of tasks related to a
couple dozen projects. You are not responsible
to finish each of those projects, but every
day you will be making progress toward the
completion of them. You will be amazed to find
how much more you can accomplish and how
much clearer you can think because you’re not
bogged down with a thousand details you’re
hoping you won’t forget. It’s all in your system,
and the system will remind you what needs to
be done each day.

Here are just a few final thoughts with respect
to getting things done. Be efficient, not just
busy. Good can be the enemy of best. Make
sure that you are reviewing your priorities and
that your work flow is reflecting your highest
priorities. Know when you are most productive.
Some people work best in the morning, others
feel more creative in the evenings. It’s not
that one way is right and the other wrong, but
make sure you know yourself and that you are
using your sharpest hours of the day to tackle
your important projects. Follow through on
tasks, reply to emails and texts, and keep a
clean in-box. If you’re working your project
management system correctly, quickly get
dates assigned to projects and tasks that have
been given to you and put them into your
system. Continue to manage yourself well.
Whenever you sense your system is breaking
down, you’re getting overburdened, or you’re
missing deadlines, you may need to pull over
and make some adjustments.

Finally, and maybe this is not what you
wanted to hear, as you start finding yourself
being more productive, reliable, and efficient,
just be ready, because you will most likely be
given more to do.

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