Here are the first 6 of the 18 steps I use to keep life simple when things are crazy...
1. Set your priorities! You can’t keep priorities if you don’t have priorities. If you can’t name your priorities by number at gunpoint then they are not how you order your life.
Arrange your events, tasks and duties by your priorities. My first 3 never change. My relationship with Christ, my relationship with my family, and my pastor’s problems. All other priorities in my life can change daily. I must be willing to make their choices on a daily basis. Could you make a list right now of your top 10 priorities?
2. Keep your priorities in order. As I said above this is a daily choice. The order of your priorities may be different at different times; this is where your leadership must become intentional. My favorite scripture in the whole wide world is Proverbs 28:2 “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order. Maintaining order is the missing element in becoming a super leader.
3. Delegate to others those things that they can do for you even if it’s short term.
When you’re out of time use someone else’s. There are times I need to delegate something long term there are times I do it for a season. Make a list of everything you are doing that someone else can do. I hear you saying “but they can do it as well as me.” I know, I’ve been there. This is why you use checklist and job descriptions as well as special assignments to get them to do it your way. If you have not identified where you need help and what you need to stop doing you’ll just keep doing what you’ve always done and have the same results.
4. Use time saving tools. Every job goes smoother when you use the right tools. Here are the tools I rely on to help me keep my life simpler: Cellular phones, (pda phone is the best of both worlds, and yes I want an iphone.) a timer, thank God for Radio Shack! I use it to stay on time and end meetings, phone calls and sermons at the time I have allotted. I also use a service at Jott.com. My most valuable tool is my calendar. You can’t manage time without a day planning system. I use a Smart Phone because I had reached a place where my calendar system was a time waster. How did you know that, Jim? Because I have developed a habit that saves my bacon on a regular basis, I account for my time daily as I spend it. Another wonderful tool is email. It can eliminate some memos and even a meeting. Next is a tool that is where my master calendar is kept is my computer. I use a laptop because it helps me keep life simple everywhere. By having a computer with me everywhere I am it helps me meet deadlines, network and brainstorm with others, do things once rather than constantly redo. I depend on a computer so much I have a spare just in case I need it. Other tools I use include email and text groups and drafts so things I say over and over I can send without retyping and those people I send to a lot I make a group.
The problem with email is knowing when to talk and not type, it’s all about keeping life simple. I’m also a big fan of two other tools blogging and websites. Both can be huge assets in communicating with key leaders, workers and parents.
5. Do more than one thing at a time. I try to always make the most of waiting, commute times, and meals. All 3 of these are great times for study, meetings, and people development, time to return messages and emails and to make assignments as well as plan. Take something to read with you where ever you go. I even use a hands free phone so I can type and check emails while I talk.
6. Decide what can be postponed or eliminated. This step goes back to priorities. You are the only one that can determine what’s urgent and what can wait.
Don’t just look at the task look at the time you have and the time involved.
Learn to say no! This is a key skill required to simplify life. I’ve also learned that a big part of saying yes to urgent and important matters means you MUST say no to less urgent or unimportant things. When time is short I look to managing me first, then others and manage things last.