Youth Ministry Productivity: Part One – The Productivity Vacuum

I work in what one would call an “open office.”

Places like “Google,” claim this space filled with no dividers, just desks and those passionate about the same mission is conducive to work. Not so much for me…  Instead it deflects my ability to be productive.  There are a myriad of reasons why.  One is that those of us sharing the space have different perspectives on what “office time” is for.  When I come to said “office,” I am there to get the administrative “stuff” out of the way. My relational time is for when I do not have “tasks” to accomplish. Except I work with others who see “office time” as “connection time.”  That’s right they want to “chat” while I want to figure out my “to do” list.

Youth Ministry Productivity Part One

Fortunately, I figured out how to remedy this atmosphere that is a “productivity vacuum,” for me.   It involved communicating with my staff about our different office time needs.  I also must sit in Panera once a week with my staff, to meet that relational need.  While an “open space” office might actually help YOU work, I believe there are some universal ways that we allow our productivity to be diverted.

1.  Plan Our Work And That’s It.  Planning our work is simply not enough.  A mentor of mine taught me this awesome saying,  “Plan your work and work your plan.”   The “plan” is not the accomplishment.  We have to take steps to FINISH the plan.

Follow through brings momentum.

2. Tyranny of The Urgent: We are working our plan when BAM, something blows up.  All attention is diverted to put out the fire.  This is fine in times of crisis.  However, it’s easy to never work our plan and ONLY be a firefighter.  That’s not what you were hired for.

You are a youth worker.  Learn the difference between a real and perceived emergency.

3.  Jack Of All Trades and Master of None:  It’s my job to do it all!  An inability to delegate is one of the worst blows to productivity.  No one person can accomplish everything themselves. Nothing is getting done with excellence while everything is a little bit mediocre.  Make a list of all of your responsibilities.  What MUST you do yourself?  What does your leadership say HAS to be in your hands?  Then what is left?  This is what you delegate.

No  one will ever do it as well as you do.  However, the more you give away, the more others become invested.

There are so many other ways productivity is lost.   I can think of times when my vision for ministry wasn’t clear or when I failed to communicate that vision.  Oh, I have also procrastinated the “big projects” and tried to accomplish too much at one time . The point is to identify what gets you “stuck” and then to work on that ONE thing first…

What is your productivity vacuum?



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