One of the hardest leadership styles to deal with, yet one of the easiest to correct, is the unorganized leader. This is the leader who is in a hurry but never gets things done. He is the leader who gives you a project to do but doesn’t give you the materials you need to do that project until the last minute. She is the leader who makes her poor planning your emergencies. We all have a little of this in us, but how do we fix it?
The Unorganized Leader
Take time each week to plan. Most people who want to become organized never take the time they need to plan because they think they don’t have time. You don’t have time not to plan. Decide what things you need to get done this week. Then go through and decide which are important and which can be delegated. Remember when you make this list to make time for the important, not only the urgent.
Schedule your time. Plan chunks of time to do certain things. For instance, morning might be your most productive time. Don’t plan meetings or take phone calls in the morning. Use that time to plan your day and tackle your to do list. If emergencies come up, and they will, that take you away from your schedule, get back to it as soon as you can. Remember that if you schedule your time, you’ll get more done, even if your sidetracked at times. If you don’t schedule your time, you’ll waste a lot of it.
Learn to multitask. Multitasking is not doing a bunch of different things at the same time. Multitasking is learning to have different projects to work on in the same time period. For instance, as a children’s pastor, you may be in the beginning stages of planning a Christmas program. At the same time, you’ve just finished up a back to school activity and are in full swing for your Harvest party. Then there’s VBS on the back burning. You’re starting to look at VBS materials for next summer. If you schedule correctly, you can plan times to work on each of these projects throughout the week. Of course, the Harvest party and Christmas program will take most of your time, but by devoting time to upcoming projects, you won’t feel under the gun when that event gets closer.
Project Management 101: The first tool in project management is to make a timeline for each event you have planned. Decide what you need to do or delegate and when. Then move everything back at least three weeks to avoid unexpected surprises. You’ll be amazed how organized you’ll become by doing this.
Work with your pastor. Let him know what you’re working on. If he asks you to do another task and you don’t have time to do it right away, let him know, and ask him when he needs it done. It may be that you were dropping everything to do what your pastor wanted when there are some things he is willing to wait for.
Remember that people are more important than what you have to do. You’ve planned an entire day to work on an important project when a parent comes in concerned about her child. The work can wait. The parent can’t. This is real ministry.