How Efficiency in Your Organization Helps Fulfill the Great Commandment

I just finished Matt Perman‘s book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things DoneThis stands as one of the best, if not the best, book I’ve read on productivity. It’s building on David Allen’s Getting Things Done, but putting a gospel-centered productivity aspect to this. I love how he showed that being productive is not just about doing things for you in a self-centered way, but is an act of loving your neighbor. That chimed with me, and may well be the final catalyst for being productive.  Below is a choice quote from the book (p. 303) about why being effective and productive is not for selfish ambition, but actually is about ‘loving your neighbor.’

How does individual effectiveness lead to the greater effectiveness of the organization? It’s not simply that by doing your work better everyone around you gets more done and thus the organization gets more done (though that is true).

It is also because personal effectiveness has an impact on the spirit and culture of an organization, creating an environment that calls forth the best from everyone. This raises the sights of everybody and creates an environment that calls forth their best. This is good for everyone individually and for the organization. As Drucker puts it, “As executives work toward becoming effective, they raise the performance level of the whole organization. They raise the sights of people —their own as well as others. As a result, the organization not only becomes capable of doing better. It becomes capable of doing different things and of aspiring to different goals” (Drucker, The Effective Executive, p. 170-71).

Thus, “executive effectiveness is our one best hope to make modern society productive economically and viable socially” (Drucker, 170).

This book will stay close by on my desk for the foreseeable future.  It provides concrete measures to help you sort through various actions and projects that will come your way.

I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough.  Blending the purpose of preaching, pastoring, and productivity is what this blog is all about–and will help all leaders lead their organization more joyfully and less stressfully.  Who knows?  We may spend some time going through this book chapter by chapter.

Using Evernote Has Been a Gamechanger

I love using Evernote.  This productivity site syncs between online and apps to keep all of my ideas regarding sermons, strategy, leadership, and any other major actions or projects that are on the burner.  I’ve also started using this to organize tasks and set reminders.

And now, I see that Google Chrome includes an Evernote Web Clipper, which is similar to Pocket in that this is able to clip information from a web page and send it to Evernote for future reference.  You can watch the video.

Evernote has three levels to choose from: basic (free), Evernote Plus ($24.99/year) and Evernote Premium ($49.99/year).  You can read up on what each of these levels offer.

Do you use Evernote?  If so, what do you think of it?  What’s your favorite feature?  If not, what app or program do you use to capture information, provide reminders, or work on projects?

 

Productivity at Your Desk: Exercises, Pomodoro, and Getting Things Done

I’m not at my desk very often, so when I am, I need to be productive.  And because I’m not at my desk very often, when I am, I need to make sure I stay in decent shape.

We have been seeing more studies on the dangers of too much sitting during the day.

For exercise, I came across this article called The Desk Jockey Workout: 8 Ways to Stay in Shape at the Office by Brett & Kate McCay from the Art of Manliness blog.  They make their case in these opening paragraphs:

For most of human history, work has been a physically demanding activity.  Our cavemen ancestors chased down mastodons and hurled spears into their tough, but tasty flesh, American homesteaders tamed the wilderness into productive farms with nothing but grit and sweat, and just 60 years ago, the majority of men in America flexed their muscles on factory floors or construction sites.

Fast-forward to today.

Instead of feeding ourselves by the sweat of our brows, most of us just slouch in a chair all day in a climate-controlled building while we push buttons and send documents through the ether. And the sitting doesn’t end after work. When we get home, we plop down in front of the TV to watch reality shows of men performing the kind of virile, physical, and often dirty work we fantasize about doing while answering emails in our cubicle.

Man’s transition from callused-handed, blue-collared laborer to soft-handed, white-collared desk jockey has done a number on us physically and mentally. Not only have our desk jobs made us weak, flabby, and stiff, sedentary work is sapping the very hormone that makes a man a man: testosterone.

What’s more, all this sitting is slowly eating away at our life meters. One study showed that men who sit for more than six hours of their leisure time each day had a 20% higher death rate than those who sat for three hours or less. For the desk jockey, death comes wrapped in a Successories Poster and waving a USB drive.

“Ah-ha!” you say. “I work out out like a beast in the gym every day and have a physique that rivals Eugen Sandow’s. My hour-long, herculean effort counteracts all the sitting and slouching I do at work!”

Sorry to break it to you Mac, but your visits to the gym aren’t doing much to mitigate the damage that accumulates from all that desk jockeying.

Studies have shown that consistent, vigorous workouts don’t do much to offset the damage we do to our bodies by sitting down all day at our cushy Dilbert-esque jobs.

So what’s a modern man to do?

It makes a difference.  Take time to read on!

In the midst of this article, they referred to the Pomodoro Technique.  I’ve used it for the past week, and it has really helped me be more focused and productive while I’m at my desk.   Created in 1992 by Francesco Cirillo, who based everything around a simple kitchen timer.

Why?

  • A ‘pomodoro’ is indivisible—lasting at the very least 25 minutes.  So for 25 minutes you focus on a task.
  • After one ‘pomodoro,’ you take a short 4-5 minute break.  But make that productive.  Do some situps, crunches, something to keep you active and alert.
  • After that is done and nothing else is pressing, you put on another pomodoro, then take another short break.
  • After four pomodoros, you take a 15 minute break.  Walk around your building, climb some stairs, more pushups/situps, etc.
  • If you have an interruption that takes you away, you’ve lost your pomodoro (remember, they are indivisible).
  • If something else comes across your mind that is urgent, write it down on another sheet of paper, and deal with that (maybe during your break).

You can download the PDF of the Pomodoro Technique, along with PDF’s of other sheets to help you along with a Cheat Sheet, To Do Today Worksheet, and Activity Worksheets.

You can also download free apps from the iTunes Store.  Just search for Pomodoro and you will get a number of options.  Some do cost, but try the free ones out to see if you like it.

What are some other ways you have found to exercise during the day in an office job, and other ways that have improved your time management and productivity?