EP 117 – MANAGING YOUR TIME
Well the boys open up with some fun Christmas banter and then get down to the serious business of talking about Time and Task Management. Wait….don’t bail out, stick with us and we’ll make it fun for you and, we’ll give you some helpful advice for getting your stuff together for the coming year.
Some helpful things to note:
- Everyone is different-there is not one cookie cutter approach that works for everyone
- Let your yes be yes and your no be no – don’t overcommit, over promise and under deliver
- Working on your time management is worth the time it takes
- Know the warning signs that you are not managing time well: dropped commitments, missed responsibilities, forgotten appointments, frustrated coworkers/supervisors, lack of overall success and productivity.
Some Principles from Raynor’s book
- The word before work-start your day in God’s word!
- Let your yes be yes – be a person of integrity.
- Dissent from the Kingdom of noise – turn off the news/distractions and other noise.
- Prioritize your yes – what really matters?
- Eliminate all hurry
What are your time management strategies? We’d love to hear from you.
While you’re at it save time by connecting with our great partners at One Eighty Digital, they can help get your church website up and running or consult on a strategic refresh, contact them today and let them know the bootcamp sent you
Here are some helpful resources:
Redeeming Your Time by Jordan Raynor
Getting Things Done by David Allen
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp, excited as we get even closer to Christmas day. And we know that your waited waiting on bated breath for each episode that comes out on Wednesday morning to make your holiday season complete, to listen to Bob and Jimbo on the bootcamp.
Bob Bickford: It’s like a beautiful Christmas gift each week, each Wednesday, whenever you listen.
JimBo Stewart: You’re welcome.
Bob Bickford: yeah, you’re welcome.
JimBo Stewart: He can have Christmas gifts. how, how is Christmas gift shopping been going for you, Bob? Are you ready? Do you have what you need? are you still thinking through some things.
Bob Bickford: Man Jimbo. we’re doing really good over here. We started, last month and I woke up early one morning, you know, taking a tip from that podcast. We did last week on time management. I get up early in the morning. And so I just thought, you know, what? I can do some Christmas shopping. I’m just going to knock it out.
And so I jumped online and, knocked it out. my responsibility is to buy a gift for [00:01:00] BARR to buy gifts for Barb, and she handles the rest of it. So I’m very fortunate and very thankful, to have almost all of my gift purchasing done. I have one more thing to pick up and, we’ll do that this week, but I’m excited in how about you?
You, you got all your Christmas. Done and have you, do you make something, do you make gifts in your garage for people? Like what do you do? Like, or do you just purchase
JimBo Stewart: Man to be honest, I’m really bad at this. I am not good at it. I’m also not good at completing honeydew list. there’s a meme that I love to send to my wife every once in a while that I saw on the internet that said, you’ve already asked me to do it. You don’t have to remind me every six months. and so. So one of the things my wife said to me about two months, two months ago, is she the hand towel holder in our bathroom, the kids have ripped it out of the. and so she has told me, look, just maybe make it a Christmas gift, [00:02:00] just fix the hand towel holder for me. Right. And so this past Saturday taking note from our last episode of if you work with your mind, rest with your hands.
I decided on Saturday that I would fix the hand towel holder. And I mean, it’s a pretty good hole. It ripped it right out of the wall I’m going to patch the hole and I’m kind of, you know, knocking out the loose sheet rock and, and here’s what frustrated me, whoever placed that hand towel holder, it’s like an inch from a stud one.
Like if now that was exciting for me, because that meant that was easy to re-install, but so I had to patch the whole. you know, paint over it and all that kind of stuff?
And I just moved it over one inch and put it on a stud, but I just thought, I mean, whoever put this up, you couldn’t, you couldn’t go one inch over into a stud and make my life easier.
No, you know, you had to put it right next to the stud so that my kids rip it out of the drywall. so I told my wife, well, Christmas shopping is done. I’ve put the towel holder up. Merry Christmas.
Bob Bickford: There you go. There you go. Well, this is not a [00:03:00] Christmas show. Like you might see on QVC. I think we do have a topic to talk about today. What are we, what are we kicking around today? Here at the bootcamp, Jimbo.
JimBo Stewart: Well, you alluded to it earlier and we kind of talked about it last week. Some and I think this dovetails, well, last week we were talking about family work-life balance and a piece of that is, time and tasks. Management. Ooh, that sounds super exciting and cool. like a fun episode time and task management.
Doesn’t that, then that just gets your blood going.
Bob Bickford: you know, I like to organize things and I must confess that one of my favorite stores to go into is the container store. And, and I love it because it represents organization. And I also like Ikea because everything is kind of organized and you go into these little rooms. And so when you’re talking about organization and structure and those sorts of.
I, I like that topic and I think it’s really helpful that we’re [00:04:00] discussing it right now. Cause guys are getting ready to go into the new year and there might be thinking about, you know, what, there’s a last year was disaster for me in terms of time management and organization. And maybe I need to take some steps to think about how to approach it in 2022.
So timely episode here, right before the new year.
JimBo Stewart: We have different ways of accomplishing what we’re going to talk about today.
And I, and so there’s not a cookie cutter way to do this, but what I will say is you got to figure out a way, I am not a naturally organized person. I thrive in chaos and I thrive in, you know, at the moment adjustments, that’s where I do really well. But what I’ve learned is I actually am much more productive if I put in the work to manage my task and manage what I do and where I really recently got even convicted about this.
Bob is a book that I read, called redeeming your time by [00:05:00] Jordan. And when he talks about this, he really boils it down. Convictionally to the idea of let your yes. Be. Yes. and so when you make commitments, you gotta figure out how to complete those commitments. Right. And if you live life in a chaotic world, like I do.
And you don’t track that, then you’re not going to your yes. Isn’t going to be yes. And you’re going to be, I mean, so let me ask it like this to even my listeners or to you, chances are, if you’ve been in ministry for a while, you’ve met some guy. Or you’ve been the guy that says, yes, I’m going to do that.
Absolutely. And then they completely forget about it. Right. And so you’re working with that guy and you’re like, Hey, can you take care of this thing? Yeah.
absolutely. But they never write it down. They never put it into anything and it just never happens. And they don’t even feel bad about it. Right. They just go, oh man, my bad.
Some other things came up.
Bob Bickford: Yes, I have a hard time with that.
You know, let your yes. Be yes. And your no be no. And so I am doing so many things shifting [00:06:00] gears all the time. and I think as a person who, so this is a good kind of segue before we jump into, you know, how to deal a manager, your tasks and your time a little bit. I think it’s important to understand a couple of things.
One is if. If you’re disorganized and you’re the kind of guy that wants a promise and you never seem to deliver, you really need to dig and understand why and get at the heart of that, right? Because your relationships are going to suffer with that. But if you’re the person on the other end, that seems to know a few of those folks that drive you crazy, you would do well to understand.
The fact that not, not everyone processes information like you or approaches tasks like you. So sometimes it may be, like you’ve alluded to, it could be this, this biological kind of thing about just people processing things, right. And they just look at the world differently than you. And so it’s going to be a struggle for them.
And instead of being a critic, why not be a coach and help someone figure out how to handle. Their responsibilities in a way that would be helpful. And so I think as, as one who’s. Moved into supervisory roles. Later in, in [00:07:00] later years of ministry, I’ve had to determine and ask the question, why does that person seem to struggle in keeping commitments and, and managing time, rather than just being angry, that they don’t keep commitments and they don’t manage their time.
And so go from a critic to a coach. and I think our role right now is kind of coach or counter. today, maybe in the podcast, like if we want to give you some coaching and we also want to give you some counsel as it comes to time management and.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. And so I thought what we do is we’ll, we’ll share some of our own ideas, but I like the principles. We may not go through all the principles, but the kind of subtitle to this book by Jordan Rainer, which I do recommend highly, redeeming your time as the title. and.
the subtitle is seven biblical principles for being purposeful.
Present in wildly productive. And last week we were talking about being present where you are, wherever you are, be there fully. And he talks about that a lot in here. and this book was probably one of the best I’ve read on a biblical perspective to task [00:08:00] management. And the first principle he has is the word before work, start with the word.
Look, there’s a whole discussion on all the time. People will say things like, well I’m just not a morning person. And so I do my quiet time at night what I would say is good. I’m glad you’re doing a quiet time. I still have. This is a personal conviction and you can disagree with me. That’s fine.
You don’t have a microphone listener. I do. just, I’m just convinced, man, that if you’ll start your day with the word, however early, you gotta wake up, whether you’re a morning person or not. Man figure out how to start your day in the word. And maybe you end your day in the bulk of your reading, but figure out a way to start to gear your set.
You’re setting the tone you’re setting. It’s.
like a, an alignment you’re you’re setting yourself. You’re aligning yourself to your purpose when you start with the word. And so I think you have to, you have to start there with time and task management, figure out how to build that into your schedule.
Bob Bickford: Good [00:09:00] word. I think that’s very important because it really does impact your frame of mind. And if you’re exhausted and you come to your new day, And you’re exhausted and you’re frustrated and you don’t have the right mindset, then that’s going to impact the rest of your day and the rest of your week and all of the people and all the tasks that you you have to do.
So I, I think you’ve hit on a really good foundational point. I think the other thing too is you you’ve got to understand what’s priority and what is. Right. So there, there are, we have many things that come into our schedule in our lives every single day that are good things, but they’re not the most important thing, or they’re not the priority type of thing.
And so I think this is one that you’re just going to have to determine what is the priority here. And what’s going to get my time. What moves the mission forward the most in this particular time, what is, what is critical that I get done right now? Towards the accomplishment of the mission. And there’s a difference between something that is, is priority and important and something that’s urgent.
And I think you have to be able to [00:10:00] distinguish the difference between the two.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. And so as part of what he goes into that is, one of the first things you got to do is, is get, figure out what all your commitments are. Right? And so the second principle that Jordan proposes is let your yes. Be yes. And this is in this chapter, in his book. I mean, I would highly recommend you look at it.
Uh, he really goes into this idea of, we need to be people of integrity. We got to figure out what he calls a commitment tracking system, right. and that’s where every open loop I’ve heard you call this a kill list, right? Every everything. And so he talks about, he builds off of an old system by David Allen called getting things done that I’ve heard a lot of people build off of this.
It’s it’s a great system getting things done, and there’s a. Just an insane amount of information on the internet about that. If you just Google getting things done, you could watch YouTube videos, read articles, and learn everything you need to learn about that system. And it’s a good system that I utilize.
but he talks about that. It doesn’t have to be [00:11:00] that whatever your system is, just choose a system, right. And, and work that system. and again, it can’t just be random post-it notes. Like you, you need to have a trackable system that is consistent and can be trusted. And so the getting things done, or even his version of getting things done here in this book, redeeming your time is one, but choose a workflow, figure out how that is.
And part of that is get everything out of your brain. Get everything, all the open. Personal work, family, whatever hobbies, even, I mean, just all the things, get them all down and then you file those into a workflow of what that’s gonna look like. and put that in your tracking system, define what your work is, figure out, What context, right?
So, no, you know, plan out your week, do a, do a weekly review and get your week ready and know these are my priorities for the week. these are the days I’m going to focus on certain priorities. Maybe you have rhythms in your week where Mondays are for certain things. And Tuesdays are for certain things.
far too [00:12:00] often visionary type thinker. Just kind of do this off of intuition, which is my temptation. That’s my natural way to do this. It’s just by intuition. Well, here’s the problem I intuitively on. I want to only want to do things that are fun and exciting. and, so if I just go off my intuition, I’m going to have a blast, but, some very important things are probably not going to happen.
And so it isn’t. For me to make sure that I have a good commitment tracking system to make sure my yes is yes. And I’m getting, I’m getting things done that matter because here’s the reality. greatness is often accomplished in the Monday. and so we gotta, we gotta take care of the mundane stuff too.
And so you gotta have a, you have to have a trusted system. You got to know what your next action is. You got to figure out how to work in different contexts. You got to review that regularly and whatever your system is, it has to be something that’s easy to input and maintain. And so I use a digital [00:13:00] tracking system called Nirvana.
I’m not the nineties grunge ban, but it’s the same name.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, they didn’t look very organized to me, Jimbo. I mean, they’ve made some
JimBo Stewart: No. So it’s not that, but it’s by the same name, Nirvana hq.com and, it’s built to operate off of the getting things done system. The other thing, other reason I like it just my personal preference is I hate subscription fees, for paid services. and. And I wanted, I wanted the full, there is a free version and you could do that.
I wanted the benefits of the pro version. And so I went ahead and sprung for the pro version. And out of all the other systems I reviewed, it was the only one that had a one-time fee for pro instead of a monthly subscription. Cause I hate monthly subscription fees.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, I think, another episode we need to do is, is Jimbo’s. Tricks and tools of the trade, where we focus in on all of those, those tech things. Cause you, you have got, [00:14:00] you found some of the best technological resources that can be applied in the work of replanting, that are, I want to say like the Aldi brand they’re, they’re, they’re off brand, but they’re, they’re just as good as the original brand.
So we need to do an episode like that. So,
I mean, I think the.
JimBo Stewart: don’t underestimate how far I will go to avoid a monthly subscription.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, don’t do that. You know, all of that, that you just said reminds me of, of just this principle, and you’ve alluded to this, you got to, you got to explore and develop a system. So here’s the funny thing you gotta work to, to be better at your work, right? You’ve got to Oregon invest the time to explore.
10 paths of organization or tools of organization that will make you more effective. So it’s not just going to happen. And here’s what I see a lot of people do. They’ll, they’ll hear somebody say, you know, oh, this tool or this resource has been really good. And so then [00:15:00] they’ll try it out and it, it just doesn’t work for them.
Right. It’s it’s not something that kind of, it doesn’t look like. How they would organize their day. It doesn’t have the right colors of the features or this or that. And so I think that you really need to, you’re going to have to invest some time to figure out how to become better, organized and work more efficiently Jimbo one time.
and I started off back in the day before electronic organizers, before the Palm pilots and all that kind of stuff. There was a thing called a day-timer, which was a book. That you could buy subscription refills for. And it had like, it wasn’t a three ring binder. It had this special, like buying, you know, the, it had multiple rings and you had to buy these particular special inserts and all these kinds of things.
And that was what the pastor I served with, train me on. And so in my marriage, Barbara and I process things differently and I can keep a lot of information in my mind. Oh, tasks I can wake up and already have intuitively know, here are the four or five things that I got to do. If I write them down or not, I still have those Barb wasn’t like [00:16:00] that.
And so I thought it’d be helpful Jimbo and help her become more organized. And I bought her a day planner and you’re laughing and you should be laughing. And we could expect all kinds of fun comments and emails and things like that. But just let me say this. I, it did not go well. And
JimBo Stewart: Did you buy, did you buy her a treadmill for the next year?
Bob Bickford: No, she, she didn’t need treadmill. She doesn’t need a treadmill. she did not happily receive the day-timer and she said this, and she’s always, almost right. She, she says this to me on a quite regular basis. Cause I evidently make this mistake in different arenas. She just said, I don’t think like you,
JimBo Stewart: Yup.
Bob Bickford: I don’t process
JimBo Stewart: Yup.
Bob Bickford: I have to have my own.
Right. And so
she like our listeners, some of our listeners, you got to figure out what works for you and you got to do it and, and stay committed to, and I’m just going to say, it’s going to take some investment here. Here’s what I [00:17:00] would say. If you are, if you’re exhausted, if you’re not accomplishing tasks, if you’re dropping commitments, if you’re double booking things, if you, if you generally feel not productive and if you are experiencing criticism, About your, your task management and your productivity.
I’m just going to give you a little tip. You need a different system than the one you’re using. Okay. And what I will say, this is Jimbo. I think there are super, super talented individuals out there that are limiting their own productivity and their own success because they haven’t leaned into this issue.
Right. And, and that may sound really simple. and, may not be a profound insight, but I think it’s true. Like there are some people that just, they’re never going to rise above the level that they are until they solve this productivity man task management issue for themselves.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I would say, you know, using the Vox leadership style quiz that we’ve referenced on here a lot. If you [00:18:00] are low or non-existent as an operator. So if you take that free quiz and you don’t have operator, then chances are, you may struggle with this. and you’re probably dropping the ball a lot. And if you’re high on operator, you probably don’t have a system and you’re probably very productive, but you’re probably over committed and there are probably too many things on your plate and you’re having to figure out how to manage all of those.
And so. Required different approaches to this issue. essentially you, you gotta deal with it and you gotta figure out how to track those systems. If you don’t have a system and you don’t know what to do, I would highly recommend this book, Jordan Rainer’s redeeming your time as a very good biblical.
Theological approach to, and very, very practical approach to this. But if you don’t even have time to do that, man, just Google getting things done and you don’t even have to read the whole book. Just look at that. Use the system. I recommend a digital like Nirvana [00:19:00] or monday.com or, Microsoft to do or. And there there’s so many that you can, you could spend forever figuring out which of those works for you. the reason I recommend that is I’ve got to set up on my phone where it’s really easy for as soon as an idea of something, or I remember something it’s real easy for me to just go drop it in that.
And then it’s and then it’s there. And then later in, at some point in the day, I have time scheduled to go put that where it belongs in my to-do list. So it shows up at the time I needed to show up and remind me. And so my brain is fried in that happens, but whatever your system is, Have a system figure out that maybe, maybe make that your new year’s resolution between now and early January takes some time.
If you end up with some downtime for the holiday of looking into that or even reading this book. But the next principle part of that is that Chris really covers, his descent from the kingdom of noise, which we’re not going to go too deep into that, but it’s a really, really good chapter on, Man just be filter.
[00:20:00] What contents coming into your brain? All of. if you’re constantly consuming the news on whatever platform or constantly consuming social media, man, that’s hard wiring your brain in a way that’s not good. And it’s going to make it harder for you to stay focused. It’s going to make her harder for you to feel hopeful.
It’s I mean, it’s just, there are studies linked to showing that increasing depression and anxiety, suggest. Just be mindful of the amount of noise and where that’s coming from. And there’s a whole chapter that was really good. The next one is prioritize your yeses. Like we were talking about is, and that’s, you’re going to need to dive into that chapter, figuring out what really matters.
what, what are the things, if you could boil it down to the top three things, right? What really matters in your life and make sure that you’re, you’re giving attention to those things. That really mean.
Bob Bickford: Great words. I think something’s been super helpful to me. That I came [00:21:00]across, probably 10, 15 years ago was something called block scheduling. And, it, in my calendar, I’m able to schedule blocks for reading, for task management, for sermon preparation, for appointments for administration. And then what really helped me even more is understanding when am I.
Well, most suited to do what particular task in my day. So if I’m writing content for a sermon, doing research or reading for me, Jimbo, I need to do that now in my schedule, I need to do that early in the day. and so I will block out a couple of hours, on a particular day or days of the week to do that.
And then I’ll do administrative work like returning emails or filling out expense reports or. You know, routine kinds of things that are a little bit more mindless in the sense that it doesn’t require creative energy, but administrative energy. I’ll do those in the late afternoon when I’m tired from my day, I’ll do appointments in the middle of the day.
And one of the things that, that super simple. As you got to [00:22:00] think about when you can set appointments with people and, you need to figure out when, when are you available when you’re not, when does it work in your family rhythms, going back to the last podcast. And one things I would say is if you could do lunch appointments or.
Late afternoon, kind of coffee meeting type appointments and do those it rather than take night time away from family. Because when you’re taking a nighttime appointment, you’re not only taking time away from your family, but everybody that you’re meeting with is taking time away from their family as well.
And, uh, and so you need to be mindful of that. One of the great things, that we’ve all learned to do during COVID is we’ve learned to. quick meetings and agenda meetings. And then we’ve also learned to do virtual meetings by zoom or a RingCentral or whatever app that you have FaceTime, et cetera.
And so some of those meetings. Rather than driving to a place and sitting down, you can do those through electronic conferencing. What I would say is don’t do all of your meetings to electronic conferencing. You’re going to need some face-to-face time at some point in time. And certainly, pastoral kinds of things need to be face-to-face as [00:23:00] much as possible, but make all of the resources available and tie those into your schedule when it works for you at an energy level and at a routine level, in terms of.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. The main thing is man, be intentional. Figure out what works for you. Don’t use the well that doesn’t work for me as an excuse to not do some, have a system, figure out your system, figure out what works for you. One of the things I figured out I built into my schedule as often as I can is when I’ve got a meeting in person.
I try to get there 45 minutes. And I schedule that buffer time for me to get there early, because it’s good for me to go and just kind of.
clear my head a little bit, get centered, think through other tasks that maybe have come up or whatever, or just read or pray, or just take that time to be prepared for that meeting.
And. Part of that for me is part of that. So the final principle in Jordan Rainer’s book is, eliminate all hurry. you can be busy.
In a [00:24:00] biblical way without being in a hurry. but hurry is like this anxiety in this urgency to everything. And, man, it’s just an unsettled spirit when you’re always in a hurry.
So figure out what it looks like for you to eliminate hurry. And man, there’s some great books. Uh, unhurried life is a great book. There are a lot of great resources on that. but. Figure out what your system is, keep tweaking it, keep reviewing it, keep adjusting it. so that you can be as productive as you can at what God’s called you to do, but be present right where you are.
and that’s the key is figuring out how to do that.