Simple Steps to Daily Organization
A recent paper published in the British journal Psychological Medicine, found that women who reported high levels of psychological job demands – such as long hours, pressure or lack of clear direction – were 75 % more likely to suffer from clinical depression or general anxiety disorder than women who reported the lowest levels. Men with high levels of these work stress factors were 80 % more likely to be depressed or anxious than those with the lowest levels.
I know that I have experience many stressful situations in my everyday work activities as I am sure that you have as well. Unfortunately, many of those were of my own making. Let’s call it self-induced stress. In times past I had no systematic approach to structuring my day to day duties, but now that has changed and developed over the years. Some work related stressers we can’t control but some others we can. The ones that we can change for the better we should.
Much of my time as a Christian Leadership Coach is spent trying to uncover factors in ministry leadership teams that are causing the environment to be overly stressful and therefore cut down on productivity and ultimately effectiveness for the Kingdom of Christ. I tend to find that incorporating some very simple organizational habits into the mix can achieve great results in reducing the general stress levels of team members and increasing the total ministry impact. Ministry is a high expectation – high anxiety – high stress environment from the very onset. Here are some small steps that can make your daily life in your ministry easier.
Use a Sensible and Strategic To-Do List
Some folks are natural list makers and others have to learn the habit. But creating a simple to-do list at the very beginning of each new day is an essential component to making the entire day make some form of progressive sense. I personally use a format for daily planning that was inspired by John Maxwell’s book Developing the leader within you. I took his suggestions and tweaked them for my own personal use and needs.
The main components of creating an effective daily planning list are accomplished by dividing your list into the following categories.
- Contacts that need to be reached today.
- Personal tasks that I have to squeeze in.
- Highest Importance / Highest Priority tasks that I gotta get done today.
- High Importance / Lower Priority tasks that need to get done today if at all possible.
- Lower Importance / Lower Priority tasks that need some attention but could wait if need be.
- A notes section to keep up with new information as it pops up.
I took these principles and incorporated them into a boxed and lined layout on a sheet of paper and I print one out and fill it out every morning. The use of this simple tool has transformed my day. It gives me the direction I need as I start the day and it can keep me on track if I start to drift. Also, by reviewing the previous days list prior to making one for the new day, I stay on task over the long haul for bigger projects and tasks.
Do you have a similar system in place? If not, and this sounds like something you would like to try, just follow the links below for a printable copy of the sheet that I created to keep and print for your own personal use.