The phrase “optimize your time” sounds impossible. I can’t imagine being able to do more work in the same amount of time without wanting to pull my hair out. I feel like I already accomplish quite a bit, but my to-do list keeps getting longer. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never catch up on all the work that needs to be done!
To help lessen this feeling, I’ve put together a list of the 12 best ways to optimize your time—which, as it turns out, is not an impossible task.
Start an hour earlier
Here’s the idea: If you are motivated to get up early, you’ll be even more motivated to get your work done. Plus, quiet time in the morning can be a great change of pace.
Check off your biggest to-dos first
Don’t let your big projects become so intimidating that you procrastinate until it’s too late. Check off those tasks first, and you’ll be more motivated to accomplish the smaller to-dos.
Don’t be a slave to email
Checking your email every time a new one comes in disrupts your workflow and halts productivity. Check for and respond to urgent emails every so often (every hour, every three hours, etc.), using a schedule that fits your environment. Then set aside a time each day to respond to the not-as-urgent emails.
Make use of peace and quiet
We all know interruptions are inevitable, but are there times when they are few and far between? Try to work on the tasks that require more of your attention then.
Plan for the unexpected
Set a time, such as early afternoon, when you plan to work on things that come up during the day. Knowing you have time to address these unexpected tasks will allow you to focus on the things you already have planned. Plus, if nothing unexpected comes up, you’ll have extra time to work ahead!
Take advantage of summer
Generally, summer is the slowest time of the year for the church office. As you look at your goals for the year, determine how you can best make use of those golden summer days.
Use an online calendar
There are dozens of great calendar tools available online, so if you haven’t moved your church calendar to one of them, consider doing so. Determine who needs to access it (church staff, volunteers, members, etc.) and how they need to access it (on their phones, in print, etc.). Then explore your options and see what works best for your church.
Establish an organized digital filing system
If you have shared storage (either locally on a server or using the cloud), create a standard filing system and train everyone how to use it.
Share your knowledge
If you are the only one who knows how to do something, type out the process in an electronic document and store it in a shared folder. This will not only reduce the number of things you must remember but will also make the information accessible to the next person who needs it.
Create an electronic document for everything handwritten
Look around your church office for handwritten notes. If those notes were lost, would the information be lost with it? During any downtime, start tracking that information in electronic documents and save them in a shared folder.
Stop photocopying and filing everything
Many of our survey participants mentioned spending a lot of time photocopying and filing paperwork. Today, there is really no good reason to physically store any paper that does not have a signature. Scan or save all necessary documents electronically on your shared drive so anyone who needs them can quickly access them.
Convert forms to digital documents
Most churches have a lot of forms: registration forms, sponsorship forms, purchase requisitions, etc. Create and save an electronic version of every form and print only what you need.
This blog post is an excerpt from our ebook “51 Ideas to Make Your Church Office Hum.” To read the full ebook, which includes more ways to increase productivity and efficiency in your church office, download for free by clicking the button below!