08 Jul '08
Connecting the compass with the clock
In my prior blogs, "What spells success for you," and "Your annual roadmap," I talked about the use of Key Result Areas and Annual Ministry Plans as a way to maximize our calling and live with great intentionality.
The world is filled with good intentions. And that is all that Key Result Areas and Annual Ministry Plans are unless they are intentionally connected to how we use our time. If KRAs and AMPs are our compass, our schedule is our clock. Once we have defined success, the most critical element in living intentionally is to actually connect our intentions with our schedules.
Apart from Scripture there is no document more important to us than our schedules. The one asset that we cannot get back is our time. How we spend our time (activity) has a direct impact on the results of our life and work (success). Wise individuals do not live by the seat of their pants, or on the fly. Many people do but wise people do not. They don't settle for accidental living.
It has been said that one can tell a lot about a person's priorities by their checkbook. The same can be said for schedules. I often ask my senior leaders to share their schedule with me. I can tell from looking at their schedule what their true priorities are. My own schedule is available to all my key leaders. They can look any time they choose. It is my way of setting an example of how I connect the compass to the clock and it makes me accountable to those I hold accountable. I cannot ask of others what I do not practice myself.
Schedule your priorities
Our priorities are our Key Result Areas, and the Annual Ministry Plans are the annual roadmapKRAs. Either we schedule time in our month to work on our AMPs or life and others will schedule us instead. Either we control our time or others will control our time.
A simple way to do this is to schedule your week with blocks of time carved out for your priorities. Blocks of time allow you to focus your attention on specific issues which are in line with your Annual Ministry Plan. Once you have scheduled your priorities you can fill in the rest of the schedule with the meetings, administration and other activities that are a part of your life.
Control your interruptions
Focused individuals develop tools to control interruptions to scheduled time. There are blocks of time when the phone should not be answered and when email should not be read, when we are not accessible to others except in case of emergencies. Most of us are good at keeping appointments that we have with other people. My approach is that an appointment on my calendar for focused work is as sacred as an appointment with a person. And I work hard to keep both of them.
Schedule thinking, reading and planning time
Strategic individuals set aside time in their schedule to think, read and plan. They put into their schedule specific days or even weeks during the year when they will be out of the office, away from distractions with time to let their minds connect the dots in ways that they never would have if they had not taken the time.
Don't do what others can do.
There are things that only you can do in your role. There are many things that others can do as well or better than you. Be ruthless in delegating to others those things that you do not need to do.
Identify your top three priorities each month.
None of us can concentrate on everything. On a monthly basis, identify the top three priorities that you are going to concentrate on. These should be directly connected to your KRAs and AMPs.
Foster a culture of execution and results
Execution, the discipline of getting things done, is a focus of strategic individuals. It is not about activity but about results. Many people and ministries do not have a culture of results.
Few things are more satisfying than knowing that we have accomplished the most that we can accomplish with the time, gifts and opportunities God has granted to us. Connecting the compass to the clock is a way to ensure this happens - not perfectly - but intentionally.