If God has given you a vision to serve others through a business or ministry, He has already given you everything you need to use your gifts. So if the bible says "your gifts will make room for you," why are you not as productive as you should be to perform the work to uplift the kingdom? Allow me to attempt to answer that question by introducing myself and telling you what I did to stop.
Hello, my name is Jean and I am a multitasker.
When I started working for myself, I thought getting clients to believe in my value and pay for my services would be the toughest part of the gig but that wasn’t the case. It turns out the hardest challenge for me was believing in myself but that's another blog post. On top of that, I am the type of person that will have ten tabs open on my laptop working on multiple projects at a time so another challenge for me was controlling my focus and sticking to a schedule.
Weren't expecting a confession today, were you?
Well, I don't mind being pretty transparent because we are all believers in Christ trying to use the gifts God gave us to uplift His kingdom. We all have our challenges and we can all share information to help each other build stronger families, businesses and ministries and communities.
And speaking of sharing information, I’m sure you’ve probably heard it all before. You know the well-meaning advice that usually begins with understand your why and you will increase your productivity. Well, I understood my why and yes, it is meaningful and big enough but I was still struggling so now what?
I wondered "What in the world is going on with me?" and "What can I do to get over myself and become more productive as a business owner?" I realized there were (at least) five things I was doing to self-sabotage my productivity.
Check out the list below which includes some of the fixes that have worked for me. It’s an ongoing journey and as long as I’m here, I’m trying. Would love to learn some of the methods you use to increase your productivity as well.
I was not a promise keeper.
I had annual targets that I broke down into weekly/daily goals when I was in corporate just as I do in my own business. I have action plans tied to my targets because I know what needs to be done to accomplish my goals.
In corporate, there was someone I was answering to so I applied a sense of urgency and a duty to perform to impress them because of my ego. Yes, you read that right. I fed my ego and gave more effort to grow someone else’s vision to win their awards. When it came to my own business, I slacked off and broke promises I made to myself which came down to issues of integrity and worth. What is that all about?!
I had to reflect on this tendency to sabotage myself by taking a deeper look into my perception of self-worth so I could adjust my actions. Self-worth is a challenge for both men and women who loosely set goals that they never accomplish. Breaking your promise is a sign of inner work that needs to be addressed and as long as you continue this practice you won’t be able to honor and use the gifts God has given you to fully honor the calling on your life.
I wasn’t focused on the big picture.
Manage yourself before everyone and everything else manages you. I had to jump on the no train and start declining opportunities that distracted from my daily agenda.
Use time blocks to plan your week on Sundays and adjust your plan before the next day begins. Just because you have the flexibility to control your schedule doesn’t mean you don’t have a “real job.” What’s four hours of hanging out this afternoon going to hurt, right? You don’t have to be available for every lunch, every round of golf or to run errands for family members whenever you are called.
Be firm but flexible with your calendar. Your relationships with family, friends and your own self-care are extremely important so, of course, give yourself a break and others around you if an emergency comes up and your day doesn't go as planned.
Figure out what the right mix of leisure and work is for you and set healthy boundaries because excessively being available for others will eventually take its toll. Prioritize your self-care because your momentum can be impacted negatively before you even realize it.
Challenge yourself to getting your goals accomplished early in the day, early in the week, early in the month, early in the quarter and early in the year to give yourself some flexibility. Keep in mind how your daily actions are impacting your monthly, quarterly or annual goals.
I had not mastered following thru.
I have so many ideas that I want to share with entrepreneurs and ministry leaders and it’s easy to get caught in a cycle where I have multiple projects going. Did you know closure and productivity are besties? Someone taught me “O-H-i-O” which is an acronym for “only handle it once.” Avoid multitasking and master the follow thru by completing tasks you start before you move on to the next. Your brain loves closure! Use OHIO today!
I had not mastered technology.
I wish I could take credit for this but my son has built in time blocks for his daily routine. He goes outside or works out after homework is done. He has gotten in trouble for playing video games when he should be getting ready for bed so he sets an alarm to make sure he gets ready for bed on time. If kids can time block and use technology to create their ideal day, we can too.
I created playlists on my phone with positive music that I can listen to while working on my laptop or walking. You know you can access playlists already on YouTube but are using any apps to help you meditate? These quiet moments are where the magic happens. God has placed the answers to many of your questions are already within you and they are just waiting for you to be still to hear them. Grab your earphones and your phone and get outside for a quick walk or meditate for 20 minutes.
I was not casting all of my cares upon Him.
Depending on the version you are reading, 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to either cast our care or our anxiety upon Him, but it specifically uses the word "all." It doesn't say unless it relates to your business or ministry but somehow I excluded my work when petitioning God and became self-reliant.
I know I should have known better but I also I know I am not alone. Faith-based bosses like us can sometimes fall victim to putting on that superhero cape and trying to do to much. I had to learn to stay in my lane and allow God to operate in every area of my life and it's still a tug of war at times.
Pray over your business, your clients or customers and your vendors. and pray over your spiritual growth and emotional maturity as it pertains to your growth as a business owner and community leader. Ask Him to help you honor the gifts He gave you, the vision He placed on your heart and the people that trust you to provide a solution to meet their needs and watch Him show out!
BONUS: I didn’t practice gratitude
The title of this article mentions five things but gratitude is such a biggie, I wanted to include this here as well. Your gifts aren't about you. They aren't about showing how awesome you are...they are about helping to win souls to Christ and glorifying the Kingdom. The word states that we should give thanks to God in all things. I interpret all circumstances to include personal and business matters, wins and losses.
Give thanks for every peak and valley along your journey and take this journey one step at a time...with a spirit of gratitude along the way.
Take a moment to think about that one thing you have to get done today and do it! Of course give God praise but sometimes you have to pat your own self on the back so before you go to bed this evening don’t forget to give yourself a round of applause!
Your success creates positive momentum within you and gives you the energy and excitement to keep moving. Your success is also inspirational to other people so share your success stories to encourage others.
What if you don't get that one thing done? Even if you downplay your progress and think all I did today was grocery shop. Congrats! That’s an act of self-care and you can use that success to encourage someone else to take care of themselves. Be grateful for the small and large accomplishments you make each and every day and watch that momentum build and make you unstoppable.