Close The Open – Ended Tasks

In the ministry — and — I am sure — in almost all areas of life — there are tasks that never seem to be completed. It could be that the reason for this is that they are what Scott Young calls “Open – Ended Tasks” — tasks that have no real specific goals.

Here’s what he writes about open – ended tasks:

Stop working on open-ended tasks. These waste your time, cause procrastination and accomplish little. Open-ended tasks are any tasks that don’t have a clear end point. They are activities like “studying”, “working” or “putting on finishing touches”. They don’t have a stopping point where you can clearly say, “I’m done.”

He suggests you “close” your ‘open – ended” tasks.

1. Define exactly what needs to be done. Know what your end result looks like. If your studying, an end result could be getting an A in your course. If this is blogging, it could be getting a certain traffic volume in six months, or sustaining a certain posting rate.
2. Define exactly what you will commit to. With open-loops there is always more that can be done. Close those ends by defining the amount you are willing to commit to. If it takes four hours a day for you to reach that A, then commit to four hours.
3. Define exactly the tasks that need to be accomplished. What steps do you need to take in order to learn to get an A? If you just set aside four hours without a clear to-do list, you’re wasting time. Make a to-do list for each day and week.

Closing open – ended tasks.

It can help you be more productive — and give you more time to relax!

Read Scott Young’s post here.

The Soil For Growth

Todd Rhoades at Monday Morning Insight had another good post today about what he sees as one of the major jobs for a Church leader — creating a culture of growth and acceptance in a church. Quoting from John Burke he writes:

“As leaders in a post-Christian society, our job is not making people grow or change. God is responsible for the growth, for changed hearts, but the soil is the responsibility of the leaders. Our task is creating the right soil, a rich healthy environment, in which messy people can come as they are and God can cause the growth over time. But have we considered the cultural soil needed for a healthy Christian community in a hard-packed, post-Christian society?”

God indeed supplies the growth — but the soil — or the culture — should be fertile and prepared. I’ve been reading a lot about Church Transformation lately — and one of the major themes that is emphasized is that people have to want to change and be transformed before change will take place. It’s the culture of change — the soil for growth — that pastors and other leaders need to help create.

There are many ways to do this. Read Todd Rhoades’ ideas here and John Burke’s here.

What are some of your thoughts?

Get More Done — Get Top Heavy

Todd Rhoades at Monday Morning Insight has a great post today on how to get more done! Quoting from Scott H. Young he suggests we adopt a “top heavy approach” to projects — getting more done “at the top” — or the beginning — than “at the bottom” — or at the end.

This can work for how we organize our work days also — working on things that require more attention early in the day and things that are less intense later in the day.

Get top heavy — and get more accomplished!

Read Rhoades’ post here– and Young’s here.