Monthly Archives: June 2013

Productivity, Part 2

Last week we talked about productivity. This week, I came across an article that is related. This article talks specifically about being productive in create tasks, but I think it has applications beyond that.

The basic premise of the article is that when we give our time to small tasks (like sorting through our email inbox), we get the (false) feeling that we are accomplishing a lot, which then makes us less motivated to accomplish significant tasks. So, we can choose to either throw our energy into several hour long tasks, or we can choose to throw our energy into one long-term task.

There’s some other good insights into the article. Read it here:

What about you? How do you manage small tasks along side big tasks?

As leaders, how do we balance getting things done with more long term projects of developing others, etc.?

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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


Productivity, Part 1 (Time Management)

After spending much of my time this morning sifting through my inbox, I realized that it took me way too much time. I’ve got a full week’s worth of “to dos” and to use more than one hour on email seems like poor use of time.

I reminded myself (after the fact) about the Pomordoro Technique. The Pomordoro Technique is a system of time management. There’s a lot to it, but the basic system is this: You choose a task (such as “replying to my emails”) and then you set a timer for an appropriate amount of time (such as 30 minutes). You work on that task until the timer goes off, and then you take a break (about 3-5 minutes).

I tend to use the system a little differently (when I remember to use it). I will set the timer for a slightly shorter amount of time than I think I need (maybe 20 minutes instead of 30) and then work hard at that task to try and finish it by the time my timer goes off (I use a free app on my Mac called “Timey.”). Then, instead of taking a break, I’ll reward myself by reading for 3-5 minutes or doing something else I enjoy, but that keeps me productive. Then, I’m ready to move on to the next task.

I don’t use this technique for all my work tasks (which is why I sometimes forget about it), but it is great for simple tasks like email and other things. It plays into another time management principle (known as Parkinson’s Law) that work will expand to fill the amount of time you give it. So, if you allow over an hour for email, then it will take you that long to finish it. If you set a timer and allow only a limited time to complete simple tasks, then you might be surprised how much you can get done in a shorter amount of time.

What about you? Do you have experience with these techniques?

What works well for you? What doesn’t?

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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


Influence vs. Bureaucracy

I had the privilege of hearing Gary Hamel speak at a Willow Creek Leader Summit a few years ago. He is a brilliant strategic thinker and business professor. So when I came across an article he wrote a few weeks ago, I knew I had to share it with you all.

Many of us have had (or maybe are still finding ourselves in) the position where we are not the top dog. We are not the number one leader. So how can we still create positive influence in our environments? How can we “lead from the second chair?”

Hamels article describes ways that we can still have influence, even if we are not THE leader:

Look through the categories and discuss.

Do you agree with Hamels?

Which category do you find yourself in?

What would you add to the list?

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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized



The Texas Bible

I’m excited to share this post with you, and not just because it has to do with Texas. John Dyer, who is an excellent Bible scholar and technological thinker, has created a web plug-in that solves a problem that has plagued Bible readers for centuries.

In English, there is no difference between “you” (singular, referring to one person, as in “will you marry me?”) and “you” (plural, referring to multiple people, as in “would you like a table for four?”).

Interestingly, Texas (where John Dyer is from), solves this problem with “y’all.” Y’all provides a different word that refers to the plural you. This is quite handy, eliminating confusion.

So what does this have to do with the Bible? Well, quite a bit. In English Bibles, it is often hard to know when a command or a statement refers to just one person (“you”) or multiple people (“you”). Take for example 1 Corinthians 3, which we recently studied in our Under Construction sermon series. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” If this is singular you, then this becomes a statement about individual believers. Yet, as we learned in that series, this is a plural you, referring to the church as God’s temple. That changes the meaning. Yet without knowing Greek, there is no easy way for a Bible reader to know if this is referring to one person or to multiple people. Until now.

John Dyer has created a web plug-in that converts all of the plural “you” in the Bible to “y’all.” It might seem a bit silly at first, but this is a very helpful way to read passages and understand if they are individual commands/directives or if they are communal. You can also modify the word “y’all” to match your own regional dialect (such as “you guys,” “you lot,” or “yinz.”)

Find out more and download the plug in here:

Let me know what you think of it. This is sure to take y’alls Bible study to the next level.

As a side note, for any of you who are interested in technology, I’d highly recommend John’s book From the Garden to the City. It is a thought provoking look at the intersection between technology and theology.

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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Uncategorized