Here’s an interview that I did with Christianity Today’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey after my seminar at the Desiring God National Conference in October. The subject of the interview is how productivity and theology relate.
Archives for 2010
From Patrick Lencioni’s latest newsletter:
It’s a simple but painful problem that has plagued business people since the beginning of time, I’m sure. From shopkeepers in ancient Rome to English factory supervisors during the Industrial Revolution to software engineering managers in modern Silicon Valley, leaders have always struggled with the question of what to do about a difficult employee. And the dilemma is almost always seen the same way: should I continue to tolerate this person or let them go?
The first step toward solving this simple and painful problem is coming to the realization that it is a false dilemma. The decision should not boil down to keeping or firing a difficult employee. In fact, the manager should avoid engaging in this line of thinking in the first place. The real question a manager needs to ask is “have I done everything I can to help the difficult employee?” Based on my work with leaders in all types of organizations and at all levels, the answer to that question is usually a resounding ‘no.’ Here’s what I mean.
From Life Together:
After the first morning hour, the Christian’s day until evening belongs to work. “People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening” (Ps 104:23). . . . Praying and working are two different things. Prayer should not be hindered by work, but neither should work be hindered by prayer. Just as it was God’s will that human beings should work six days and rest and celebrate before the face of God on the seventh, so it is also God’s will that every day should be marked for the Christian both by prayer and work. Prayer also requires its own time. But the longest part of the day belongs to work. The inseparable unity of both will only become clear when work and prayer each receives its undivided due. Without the burden and labor of the day, prayer is not prayer; and without prayer, work is not work. Only the Christian knows that. Thus it is precisely in the clear distinction between them that their oneness becomes apparent. . . .
The unity of prayer and work, the unity of the day, is found because finding [God] behind the day’s work is what Paul means by his admonition to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). The prayer of the Christian reaches, therefore, beyond the time allocated to it and extends into the midst of the work. It surrounds the whole day, and in so doing, it does not hinder the work; it promotes work, affirms work, gives work great significance and joyfulness. Thus every word, every deed, every piece of work of the Christian becomes a prayer. . . . “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col 3:17).
There are two ways to do it.
First, you can go around in one shot and re-set every clock that you have. Second, you can re-set each clock as you come across it, turning the time back immediately when you encounter it.
The one way not to set your clocks back is to do nothing when you come across one of your clocks that is still set to the old time, figuring you’ll do it in a little bit. That creates drag, because you’ll have to think about that clock several times before you actually do something.
OK, so almost everybody probably has their clocks changed already. So what’s the point? The point is that there is a lesson here in how to handle everything. There are some exceptions for sure, but in general, if you don’t put things off that you can easily do right away, you make your life a lot simpler.
Here’s David Allen’s answer, from his latest newsletter:
Q: How much time do I need to get my email inbox to zero?
A: For people who have 50+ emails a day, I’ve noticed that it takes an average of about 30 seconds each to process (decide what it is, delete it, file it, respond to it quickly, or defer it to an “action” folder or list.) For someone with 100 emails a day (more and more common) that’s 50 minutes just to get through a day’s email load. That doesn’t count all of the other input you get as well, including phone calls, voice mails, conversations, and meetings.
A typical professional these days must factor in at least an hour a day and an additional hour at the end of the week (for a Weekly Review.) And not as “It would be nice if I could…”—but as an absolute requirement to manage their life and work with integrity.
His main point is: “Just make it happen. There’s always more to do. Figure out how to get it out the door, and then start improving it.”
The whole post is helpful, and their new sites are also worth checking out.
BusinessWeek has a very interesting interview with Steve Jobs’ last “boss,” John Sculley (who was Apple’s CEO back in the mid-80s and presided over Job’s departure later that decade.
A good point from Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life:
Remember it’s not doing less that makes you feel better or stronger. It’s spending more time in your strengths and following your passions, and less time doing things that make you weak. The more time you spend in your strengths, the more energy you will have. The more energy you have the more you can accomplish with less effort and less churn.