Twelve reasons we don’t get more done
I heard about a man who visited Uncertain, Texas, population 273. I don’t know whether Uncertain is near Muleshoe and Lazboddie, or closer to North Zulch and Dime Box. This poor man had car trouble and found himself stranded in a small, unfamiliar place. The people were friendly enough, but he became frustrated with them rather quickly. Every time he asked someone where he was, they would answer, “Uncertain.” After several “Uncertain” replies, he threw his arms up in the air and screamed, “Doesn’t anybody in this town know where they are?”
I can somewhat relate. I know where I am, but as the pressures of the week pile up, I don’t always remember where I’m going. There’s more work to do than there is time to do it.
Of course, the nature of the ministry is that ministry never ends. No matter how much you get accomplished, there is always more phone calls to make, more visits I wish I had gotten to, one more task that will have to wait. I usually run out of week before I get everything done I hoped to get done.
And, of course, no matter what else happens during the week, Sunday’s coming and you must be ready to stand before the people and proclaim the Word of God.
That’s ministry, but I’m sure others ask, “Why can’t I get more done?” Let me offer some reasons that people don’t get more done.
First, people have unclear goals. Simply stated, a goal is something at which to aim. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit nothing every time. A person going nowhere will certainly reach his destination.
Second, people have no daily plan. A general routine helps. Things done at the same time each day or each week are done much easier and are much more enjoyable.
Third, people fail to set priorities. What is the most important thing you need to get done today? Plan a daily schedule first thing in the morning. Make a list and cross off the activities as you complete them.
Fourth, people attempt too much, or have a hard time saying “no.” There are many important projects going on and many critical causes to help. Sometimes we have to choose between the good and the best. Don’t spread yourself too thin and learn to say “no.”
Fifth, people attempt perfectionism. Perfectionists are too demanding of themselves and of others. No one is perfect and no day is going to go perfectly. If you expect perfection, you set yourself up for frustration.
Sixth, people are disorganized. Their personal life is disorganized, their business life is disorganized. Keep things in their place so you won’t have to waste time looking for them. Put things back in their place when you finish.
Seventh, indecision causes people not to accomplish as much. Where shall I start? How should I proceed? Where do we go from here? Learn to make decisions quickly and move on with the decision.
Eighth, people do not manage crises very well. Often people fall apart when a crisis invades their project or routine. The work gets bogged down. A crisis can either give you more determination to get the job done or can drain your energy and slow you down.
Ninth, ineffective delegation causes lack of progress. Evangelist D. L. Moody said, “I’d rather put ten men to work than to do the work of ten men.” Learn to involve others in the work. You get more done that way.
Tenth, interruptions halt the work. Some interruptions can be opportunities and deserve your time, but many can impede your work. Learn tactfully to end a phone conversation or diplomatically finish a visit to your office.
Eleventh, too many meetings hinder the work. Meetings cost much in time and produce little results if they aren’t organized and to the point. Have an agenda, stick to the agenda, and don’t chase rabbits. Manage time wisely.
Finally, people procrastinate. People don’t get more done because they wait until the last minute. Procrastination is a thief of time. About the only thing that comes to him that waits is old age. Whatever needs to be done, do it now!
David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. The church family meets at 352 McDonough Road and invites you to join them this week for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.