Zig Ziglar says that the 2 most productive days of your work life are the day before you go on vacation, and the day after you get back. Your work is most productive those days because you take out a piece of paper, maybe an old envelope and before you jump into the day you write down what you have to get done for the day.
Then he asks why we don’t do that the rest of our work days?
Having heard that talk a couple times from Zig, and realizing he had identified my 2 most productive days. I decided to put into practice his advice on a daily basis at work. I take out a 3×5 card either the day before but usually the start of the day and identify what needs to get done today. Some are big projects that just need to see some progress, others are meetings I don’t want to forget to attend, some face deadlines and must be done today, while others are learning opportunities that provide for growth and better service in the future.
Being the task oriented guy I am, there is great joy in marking things off my list.
Being a grace receiving guy, there is less guilt for what didn’t get done because I know I serve by God’s grace and gave it my best for the day.
And what do I do about those divine interruptions? I take pro golfer Lee Trevino’s advice when he was hit by lightening and was asked by a reporter what lesson that experience taught him? He replied, “I learned when God wants to play through, let him play through.”
Divine interruptions are part of ministry, but seeking divine guidance into leveraging the gift of time each day with a 3×5 card is also part of how I do ministry. Pray and plan, plan and pray.
3×5 cards are part of my daily strategy. I also use a week in review time at the end of the week to get ready for the week ahead, and a monthly planning sheet that lays out learning opportunities to fuel my work, my work projects, and a 6×6 approach Bill Hybels talked about at the Summit that lays out by big 6 projects to give my best energy in the next 6 weeks. End of December I look at the year ahead personally and with staff and leaders and others in the spring, I look towards our fiscal year at Christ Lutheran that starts on July 1.
For myself the result of when I follow these time leveraging moments is a greater level of productivity, more focus to my prayer life, an intentional plan to grow, and a greater joy in service.
How about you, what do you use to leverage your time for greater productivity?