Work Smart, Not Just Hard

I sent this e-mail out to my staff, and thought I would post it here.

It’s a lot of hard work to run a church.  But sometimes, we need to work smarter, not just harder.  I wanted to give you guys a couple thoughts I have on working smart.

1.  When something comes in your inbox, usually through e-mail, if it takes less than 3 minutes, do it right away.  Don’t save it for later, because you’ll spend more time thinking about it and planning it than just doing it right then and there.  A lot of things require quick decisions or quick actions, and you can get them off your plate fast.

2.  Don’t collect things to do in your e-mail inbox.  You should never have more and 10 emails in your inbox.  Either do something with it right away, forward it on to whoever needs it, or file it somewhere. 

3.  Do the most important tasks early in the day and early in the week.  Important tasks are the things on your job description.  We can’t save making first time guest calls or writing a message until the end of the week.  Do that stuff early, early in the day and early in the week.

4.  Delegate things that can be done just as well by other people, but you can’t delegate the things that only you can do, or that you do best, or that are most helpful coming from you.  I can’t delegate message preparation.  Anthony can’t delegate writing bylaws.  But we probably can delegate data entry, or folding letters or things that are not pastor-specific.

5.  Say no to other things, even important things, in order to focus on what you do best.  I really believe that you focusing 80% of your energy on the most important parts of your job description, will free all of us to focus that same energy on our areas.  Just don’t venture into areas where you’ll have to devote a bunch of thought and energy into something that doesn’t effect your bottom line.

All of us are going to have to work harder and smarter to see this church grow to 1,000.  It is not going to let up or get easier.  We’ll have to master the art of working smart in order to not get burned out.  We cannot stuff our faces at the buffet of work and then think that a couple of days off to purge and expect to have healthy lives.  I am learning this lesson right now.  I need to work hard on my work days so I can play hard on my days off.


2 comments so far

  1. kendra on

    I just went and returned a hard-to-write email after reading your first point.

    You are so right! It was consuming my thoughts, but I was so scared that my verbiage wouldn’t be correct or interpreted correctly. So, I’ve let it linger since yesterday morning! Now, it feels good to have sent it.

    Now I’m going to go and read the rest of your post.

    Again, thanks!

  2. Brad on

    Wasn’t it Scrooge McDuck that said “work smarter, not harder”? Looks like it worked for him.

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