Seed of Excellence
A Column By:
Title: A Time for Everything
“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
I read a recent interview where the subject being interviewed lamented about allowing the demands of ministry overtake him to the point where he’d lost focus of the things in life that truly matter most—namely his family.
Can any of us relate with that? Sure. I know I can. There have been times in my own life and career that I’ve become so immersed in accomplishing what I’d purposed to do that the really important things were not-so-subtly moved to the proverbial “back-burner.” I recall with a certain amount of personal pain, the times where I had agreed to travel to places my job needed me at the expense of working on Scouting projects or missing milestone events in my son’s life, all for the sake of “getting it done.” Now, my son in a grown man and I can never get back the time of his youth.
My guess is many of us have unwittingly found ourselves in that boat at some time, or other. What I personally found is that it’s a very difficult boat to get out of. It seems that there’s always “one more thing to do” that causes that boat to drift further from the shore of “what matters most.” Even when we recognize that we’re losing control, we paddle harder but the shoreline continues to grow smaller on the horizon.
How do we regain control of our time so we can get everything done we need to in our lives and still fulfill our family and personal needs and desires? To begin, ask yourself a few pointed questions. When you answer them, apply them to each area of your life: spiritual and ethical, family and home, financial and career, mental and educational, physical and health, and social and cultural. Here are the questions to consider:
1. What am I passionate about in this area of my life?
2. What keeps me awake at night (what concerns me most)?
3. What potential excites me in this area of my life?
4. Three years from now, what will I look back on and say, “Making that change in 2004 was the biggest thing to improve my life”?
The answers should prompt you to plan where you want to steer your life--beginning right now.
Early in 2003, I read in a business journal, a survey of American CEOs and what their biggest concerns were, or what kept them awake at night. The surprising number one response was that they spent too much time working and not enough time at home with their families or on pleasurable activities. They wanted a work-week closer to 40 hours than 80.
From what I know of working with people, I’d venture to guess that if you were to take the same survey, you’d answer similarly to the CEOs. Too much time spent "working the plan" and not enough time at home. How many of us get up in the morning and say to ourselves, “If I could only spend more time at the office?” No! What we all want is more time to do the things that matter most to us, right?
Before you respond, what if I were to tell you that it is possible for YOU to dramatically increase your productivity without putting in more hours? Yep, it is certainly possible and in one of my most popular development programs, Effective Personal Productivity, you’re introduced and worked through simple principles and ideas to launch your productivity to unheard of levels!
Make no mistake, I am NOT referring to yet another time management seminar. Seems like everyone has one. Most of them are good, but if you’ve been a reader of mine for very long, you’ll know they are only effective for a very short time. There is no reinforcement. The seminar is an event. What I’m introducing is a process. Apples and oranges. One is a waste of money and one is a high-payoff investment.
If I were to ask you if you’d like to increase your productivity by 15 to 20 percent while REDUCING your work time by 20 to 30 percent, you’d jump at it, right? Most of us would. What if I were to tell you that those numbers are a conservative average of program participants and your numbers could be (and most times are) significantly higher? Still interested? What if you applied those numbers to a ministry staff? Could you use a boost in focused, goal and results-driven productivity? I bet you can!
Most of us are aware of the 80/20 Pareto Principle. This operates in most areas of our life and can help you become a high-achieving, operationally excellent, soul-saving outfit! The principle simply put, declares that 80 percent of the RESULTS you produce stem from 20 percent of the ACTIVITIES you spend time on. I call the 20 percent your HIGH PAYOFF ACTIVITES. These are the activities that “put food on the table,” if you will.
When you decide to make this quality change, you’ll immediately ignite a fire of achievement that is not easily extinguished. When is the last time you noticed yourself “on fire” to achieve the impossible and become EVERYTHING God called you to be?
What are you waiting for? Since we know “there is a time for everything,” and God has called on you to fulfill His plan, I humbly submit that NOW is the time to grab ahold of this promise of greater productivity and achievement and get rolling!