Time Organizer Techniques
When you think about effective time management...time organizer
techniques help you to be very concrete defining different blocks of
What do we mean when we talk about effective time management?
We can only mean the use of organization techniques with tasks that
have to be done in a certain time period.
A recipe is a good example of time organized tasks leading to a a
chosen and preditable result...a luscious chocolate cake! You set a
goal...organize the ingredients you need (which may be scattered
about)...and follow a sequence.
So what are the techniques for time organization.
Easier said than done you say.
- You must know what it is that you want to
cake or making a million dollars this year...or increasing the size of
your congregation. This gives meaning and direction to your actions.
This becomes a goal.
- You assemble the techniques...the things you
need to carry out your
goal. For example...you will send an email...make a phone call...write
a check...mail a bill...etc.
- You act.
Actually it's as easy to do as to describe.
keep everything they
need to do in their heads. They mean well but they have no time
organizer techniques and never get around to
- paying those bills on time...
- balancing the checkbook...
- checking out a new job...
- calling that old friend who they heard was
- cleaning out those gutters...
- taking down the screens...etc.
There is a very important reason for this...
When you keep all your goals (things you need to do or want to
do)inside your head...in spite of your good intentions...
Your feeling of the moment will change the order of
importance of everything.
And your feelings can change by the moment or
Effective time management
becomes impossible when you
discover you feel hungry...so that call to the old
friend must wait until after lunch...
After lunch you discover that you feel sleepy...so
the call does not get made.
Then other people start putting demands on your time by calling
you...by stopping by to tell you to go to some interesting
website...then the internet takes up the rest of the day and you make a
"I'll make that call to my friend Pete tomorrow."
When you make the call the next day Pete's wife tells you Pete had a
stroke yesterday (while you were on the internet after lunch)and the
funeral will be on Friday.
Keeping everything in your head is the main
time organizer technique of
highly disorganized people who work hard and accomplish relatively
little because...your feelings of the moment constantly rearrange
priorities so that nothing is important enough to do...except what you feel
like doing right now.
And that may be nothing!
Another major characteristic of highly successfull people is they write
down their long term goals and post them where they can see them
This helps to ensure that their short term daily goals and actions are
relevant to the "big picture"...the place where they want to wind up in
the long term.
The first effective time organization technique
then is to get everything you want to do or must do out of
your head!! But not into the bin of forgotten
Where to I put these things? you ask.
You put them on a list...which we'll
talk about in a moment...so that you separate them from your
feelings...just like the chef separates the yolks from the whites of
eggs so that they can be recombined in a different way to achieve a
specific kind of cake.
You may have heard that highly sucessful people make lists...to
keep their actions on track toward their goals and manage their time
Highly successful people do not get burned out. They find they are
continually energized...by their focused actions toward important
What is it specifically about a list that gives it such importance in
getting things done?
thing...as noted above...is that it gets things separated
from your feelings of the moment.
The second thing making a list does is
that...by writing things down
you are imitating all of the other important things you do in your
life...which you accomplish by writing them down.
For example, your write out the terms of any contract...you sign your
marriage license...your driver's licence...your mortgage check...your
letters...both personal and business...your write out the terms and
then sign your Will.
For some of the most important things we do in
life...we put pen to paper.
That is one reason why lists are so
important...because we write down all of the important things in our
So your brain...not your feelings...gets the message about importance
and responds...Uh oh she's writing this down it must be important.
And...of course...it is and it will get done.
The third reason why making a list is an
important time management
technique is that a list organizes things vertically.
Why is that important? you ask.
Because putting things vertically makes them into a hierarchy.
By definition a hierarchy arranges things from the most important at
the top to the least important at the bottom.
Putting things in a hierarchy is a procrastination buster.
But...if things remain only in your head the hierarchy keeps changing
according to your feelings until nothing happens.
When you put things in a hierarchy...your list must engage your values.
You discover immediately what is important and what is less so.
Here's how to do it.
For most people who have not trained themselves to manage time with
effective time management strategies...like what I'm about to show
you...have their tasks organized in their heads in a way that is
typical for them.
Some may have them organized horizontally so that
everything is equally important.
You can hear the horizontal organization in the way they
talk... "I have so much to do...I
to get a birthday card for Janet...I have to call my mother...I should
call my sister-in-law who called me last week...etc."
It's like a long ticker tape of things to do that are all equal in
Then there is the person who thinks about things in a circular
You can hear it when they talk...they go through a variety of
things to do and wind up back where they started...
definitely have to get my
oil changed...but I'm taking the car in for service in two weeks...then
I have to look at the newsletter for our parish...then I have to think
about whether to take the kids to Disney next summer...but the
newsletter is sitting right here so I can't think about Disney
now...but I don't think I should wait two weeks for that oil change
that stuff looked pretty dirty last time they checked it."
Then there is the person who keeps their tasks in their head...in
random bits... just the way data are stored on a hard
"I don't know
to see my son in Phoenix for Thanksgiving or go to my vegetarian
daughter in California...at least my son would have a turkey...but my
mother isn't well so I may have to stay here for the holidays...if I go
to California the main course will be pineapple stuffed with pignolis
or some such thing...the thought of a good sausage stuffing in a
beautifully roasted turkey sounds great...but I'll start a family feud
if I go to Phoenix and not to California...thank God mom isn't feeling
up to par and she likes turkey...I'll probably just stay
Unless things are put
outside of your head there
is no way to get them
into a hierarchy...determined by your real values...so that you make a
decision and do them. >
Want to test this out?
Use post it notes...index
cards...envelopes...anything you can move about and sort.
Think about ten things
you need to get done by the weekend.
Can't think of ten things? Then
make it five or three. But don't make it less than three.
If you only have two things to put into a
hierarchy you can get caught on the horns of a dilemma...I'll do
this...no I'll do that...back and
forth. It's a rule...solving any task you always want no less
than three options.
But back to our
Next write each
task down on a card or whatever you are using. Put the cards next to
each other horizontally and decide which task is most important without
moving the card...decide which is next in
probably notice that you keep wanting to change your
Do the same thing by
arranging the cards in a circle and then scatter them randomly. Just
don't move them while you are deciding which is most to least
important. Just the array of cards...horizontal...circular...or random
will provide enough confusion while you are deciding on
cards...in any order...to a vertical
Look at the one on
top...is it the most important thing to do now? If not move it
somewhere else in the lineup. And look again at the top card. How about
it? Is this the most important thing to do now? If not keep moving the
cards until you say "bingo, this must be done this morning".
Then keep arranging
the cards until all are in the
proper order of
importance. Then put the cards in a pile with the most important task
on top and the least important on the bottom.
Then take action.
When the task is
done...and this is
important...strike a line
the card and move it to the bottom of the pile.
As important as it is
to put something on a
list...it is just as
important to strike it off when you have done the task.
Because when you see
all those tasks crossed out
you will experience
sense of accomplishment...
a sense of how easy
a sense of
meaning in your life this morning...
and a sense of
eagerness to get
your next list up and going.
When you get a sense
of how important a hierarchy
is for you to take
effective action in managing time you can try a simpler
Keep a steno notepad
handy all day and all
evening. Keep it open to
your current list page.
It is amazing how many
things you want to get
done or have to get done will pop into your head while you are cooking
or watching television.
By the time you go to
bed you may have 25 or 30
things on your list.
Now that they are out
of your head and not
smothered by your
feelings...and your previous success with lists has reinforced your
eagerness to accomplish things...you will have cleared you list by the
end of the next day.
things out as you clear the
list. This simple action
has powerful benefits...the most important is that it keeps your brain
from being cluttered with tasks that are already done.
After one week
you will be amazed at how effective your time management has become and
how much time you have to do really interesting things. And even those
pleasurable things you should probably write down on a list...like take
a bubble bath...so that you do not procrastinate in doing the
pleasurable things of life now that the administrative details are
You will not suffer
- you will have time
to think of new
programs for your church...
- write more meaningful sermons...
- spend more
time with your friends and family...
- shake more hands to get donations
for the new church roof.
Getting the adminstrative details out of the way effectively...with
very simple time management strategies...allows you more time for the
things that increase the quality of your life.
Make lists...cross out...then enjoy!
Protect God's work.
Protect yourself...your ministry...
and those to whom
God sent you to minister.
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