Shawn Bateman, Misionary to Argentina
July 13, 2018
Getting it Done: Organizing for the Battle
Getting it Done: Organizing for the Battle
Organization is vital to any army or war effort. Think about all the logistics that went in to the D-Day invasion. From the very top down to the last man everything had to be orchestrated and executed to the last detail. Organization always helps win the day!
Today we will continue our series on “Getting it done” by talking about how you can organize for the day-to-day battle of life.
The General and the Sergeant:
The General and the Sergeant:
The general and the sergeant each have a vital role in any army. I use these two offices for an extreme comparison. I know there is a long list of officers in between these two posts, but it is only an illustration.
The general organizes and thinks over strategy. He surveys the battlefield and receives information from all fronts formulating the plan of attack. He is responsible for large groups and big efforts.
On the website military.com it says this about sergeants. “Sergeants (SGT) operate in an environment where the sparks fly—where the axe meets the stone.”
When marines step off the buses at Paris Island, they don’t meet the general; they meet the Sergeant. Sergeants are responsible for “the training, appearance, and cleanliness” of the soldiers, and that “while on duty status, they be ready at all times to report to the location and activity of all members of their unit.”
In other words, the Sergeants oversee the day-to-day activities of the soldiers in their units.
Meet My General:
My general is my project list. The project list is for the big things. If I encounter something that needs to be done but will involve more than one step, I add it to this list. I use a spreadsheet, and I place the project on the far left-hand side. In the cells to the right of the project I place the due date and all the steps that I can foresee that will need to be taken in order to accomplish this project. This is my battle plan, and with my Project List I map out the road to achievement.
Allow me to demonstrate with Vacation Bible School. Believe me, you don’t want to go into Vacation Bible School without a well-designed battle plan.
Meet My Sergeant:
My sergeant is my “To Do List”. Every week I go over my list. Sometimes I will prepare it Saturday night or Sunday evening. If my weekend was filled with traveling and I was super busy I might hammer out the list first thing on Monday. My “TDL” governs my day to day activities. I have a template or an example “TDL” that I create each week from, the template has what I call the “Fundamentals” and then cells where I add each activity.
The Fundamentals are things that I endeavor to do each day regardless of what is going on. These are activities that I would consider to be at the core of who I want to be. I want to be a spiritual man always growing in grace, therefore reading my Bible and praying are things I consider part of my fundamentals. I want to be in good health and good shape, so I have a block of time that is used for exercise. I want to be intelligent, working on and growing my mental capacity, so reading is a part of my daily fundamentals. Sunday is the exception; I never plan exercising on Sundays and I don’t normally plan reading on Sundays except for my Bible.
*Note that each cell is colored in green. As I accomplish each task I change the color of the cell to red.
Planing my Day:
There are a few ways of incorporating the TDL into your day. I recently read that, to maximize your work day, you should schedule every minute of your day making adjustments as things come up. I have done that in the past but currently I am just using “block activities” for my scheduling. Sometimes I do put time constraints on activities, for example I might have a block that says “Work on writing an article for one hour.”
I look over my project list to see if there are any activities that need to be added to my TDL for that week or day. There are other daily activities that I don’t consider “fundamentals” that I will add, like clearing all emails, or posting to Facebook and Twitter. Of course there are things that Emily might ask me to do and so I incorporate the “Honey-Do List” into my TDL.
Each month I know that I am going to need to work on my budget. I know that can be a time-consuming effort. Normally I schedule this for two one hour blocks of time. I will work for one hour on my budget on Monday, and will even go so far as to set a timer. At the end of that hour I stop and walk away to work on the next item on my list. I resume my budget on the next day, working on it for up to an hour, and usually I have it completed in less than an hour on the second day. This way I am making progress, working with focus, and I don’t bog one day down with several hours of working on just one project.
*Note* There are timelines and projects that will require all day and night to complete. I am talking here of daily or weekly activities that are the norm, not the exception.
Throughout the day things come up. Sometimes big things that completely throw off my TDL. I add these thing onto the list also, so that at the end of the day I can look back and see how I spent my day. No, I may not have accomplished all the scheduled items on my list but I did spend three-and-a-half hours putting out this fire.
At the end of each day everything that didn’t get accomplished gets moved over to the next day.
This is only an example of the grid I use; it is not an actual copy of my TDL. So here are a few things to note. Notice “Research a theme for VBS” is still green on Monday. It was moved to Tuesday, and accomplished that day. On Tuesday I didn’t get to read or call Verizon, it could be that one of my church members was in an accident and I had to go to the hospital or I had car problems. Whatever the case, that activity would be added to the list as well.
Brining it Home :
Is this system perfect? No, but it is my system, and with it I have been able to accomplish a lot more than previously. It gives me a reference to see what I’m doing, or not doing with my time and what I am accomplishing. The most important thing is for you to find a system that works for you, and to keep adjusting that system for maximum results and usage of your time. These are just a few suggestions that might help you in organizing for your own day-to-day battle in life.
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I recently read this description of Richard Greenham’s ministry in England and it was a great challenge to me.
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