It’s all too common. For some reason, we humans tend to take on more and more tasks and responsibilities until we reach overload. Especially in the church world – I think we really do want to do more, and make a bigger difference in peoples lives, but we have to be careful. When we take more on, the quality and effectiveness of our work starts to decline.
It’s definitely a great quality to be a “high-capacity” person, and able to handle a lot of responsibility. The trick is knowing HOW to handle it all well!
One of the main problems of having multiple areas of responsibility is that you can feel like everything is coming at you at the same time. You might be handling details in one area, while something else comes in and steals your attention, and then something else, and so on… It can feel like it’s non-stop, and you keep getting interrupted every few minutes with demands from everywhere. It may even just be distracting thoughts that breaks your flow and slows you down.
The problem with all of this multi-tasking is that it takes time to switch between tasks. You may think it only takes a second, but when you break your concentration, you lose all the thoughts and concepts you built up in your head. You lose your flow, and when you switch back, you’re like “now, what was I doing???”
It’s like balancing spinning plates – any distraction, and they all come crashing down. Then when you come back, you have to build them all back up again!
So what’s the answer?
Time blocking is a method to efficiently accomplish more work, especially when you have many responsibilities. The idea is to dedicate certain blocks of time for specific areas of responsibility. This may be certain hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the month, etc.. The idea is to maintain your focus, and keep all of your momentum in that area. When something else comes up from another area, you can quickly put it aside into it’s designated time block, and then keep moving forward in your area. You’ll keep your flow, because you don’t have to waste any mental energy on any distractions – you know they get handled at the right time.
For example, you may dedicate Mondays to handling all accounting related tasks – entering contributions, paying bills, running reports, etc… And maybe Tuesday is for focusing on follow up with visitors and members. So if it’s Monday and someone gives you a stack of sign-up cards and wants you to verify who’s coming, you simply put them in your Tuesday tray/folder, and continue on without a hiccup.
It sounds simple, but it can be really effective.
Take some time, and think through some of your major responsibilities, and try to come up with just a few time blocks – don’t try to block everything. Try them out for a week or two. If things aren’t quite fitting neatly into your time blocks, make some adjustments.
Let me know how it works out for you!