by: Justin Brock, CKM Staff
How my to-do lists kept me from something much more important.
There are few things that bring me more joy than a to-do lists that has been fully checked off. I love seeing projects come to fruition and feel most fulfilled when I leave the office with a tangible success story of something I accomplished for the day. But, I’ve realized that in the real world, those days are few and far between. Often times, I find myself adding more to my to-do list instead of getting to do the things that I already have written down. I realize in the middle of a project when I think I’ve gotten close to completion that I’ve really only scratched the surface!
As the Director of Clayton King Ministries, I find myself thinking about and researching leadership principles that could not only help me become a better leader to this team, but a better husband, father, and friend as well. I often ask myself how I can do things better and more efficiently. But, I think I have been missing the point.
In light of my slight addiction to to-do lists, I always try to find more and more ways to become efficient in what I’m doing. However, the more efficient I become, the more tasks and weight I add to my shoulders. Ultimately, my goal for efficiency at work often leads me to be ineffective in at least one other area of my life (unfortunately, it is usually family-time). I believe that culture has set before us a tendency to believe that if we aren’t busy, we aren’t being effective. So, I’ve tried to regear my mindset to ignore this cultural lie!
Make effectiveness more important than efficiency. This is the challenge I recently gave to our staff after reading What’s Best Next, a great book on leadership and time-management, by Matt Perman. I challenged them (ahem, myself primarily!) to find ways to be efficient, but for the greater goal of making space to be effective with people. Perman says “One of the best places for efficiency is being efficient with things so that you can be effective with people. If you become more efficient with things … you will have more time to give to being effective with people without feeling like you are always behind on your tasks.” This is HUGE! I pray that in my ministry position (and if you are a believer - we are all in ministry positions!) I can always value the opportunities to pour into PEOPLE more than I’m pouring into my TASKS!
Make people a priority over projects. When I look at my to-do list today that is sitting on my desk, I recognize a theme. Every task ultimately impacts the people that we serve at CKM. Yeah, I have to balance the budget, edit a promotional packet, and strategize for #crsc15, but there are PEOPLE behind every PROJECT! I’m doing all of these things to ultimately see the lost come to know Jesus and for believers to grow in their relationship with Him. If I want my tasks to have deeper purpose, I should always be engaging with the PEOPLE behind the PROJECT. That has to be my focus. And when I make it a priority to be effective with my time and tasks, I can ultimately make investing in people a bigger focus of my day.
I strive to be a leader, husband, father, and friend that creates the space to be available to those around me. I pray that I value relationships, not the kind that are strictly professional, cold and calculated, and founded on me getting some advantage from it or checking a duty off of my list, but rather a relationship that is authentic, pure, encouraging, challenging, and refreshing. I pray that I can constantly be creative with how I accomplish the goals set before me on that pesky to-do list in order to make space for what matters most, the people behind the projects!
So, today my friends, I challenge you to tuck away that to-do list and make space for the people around you. Take your co-worker out to lunch, leave your work at the office so you can spend uninterrupted time with your family tonight, or call that person that has been on your mind the last couple of days. There will always be more projects to do, but today may be your opportunity to impact someone for eternity.
About the Author:
Justin Brock is the Executive Director of Clayton King Ministries. He and his wife Jess live in Anderson, SC and are the proud parents of Emery and Greyson. You can find out more about Justin by following him on Instagram (@justinbrockcu) and Facebook.