Juggling Sheep
Welcome to Juggling Sheep, Jay Perry's blog about time management and personal productivity for pastors. Learn to balance work, life, family, and personal spirituality.

Share your best practices, tips and tricks, processes, sermon planning ideas, and resources. Feel free to email me: jaylperry[at]gmail[dot]com.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Getting Things Done - Mind Like Water

What I really want to share with other pastors (and lay people) is the higher-level stuff - seeing God's vision for your life, understanding your unique calling, roles and goals, balance, priorities, meaning, and purpose. I tend to preach about these things quite a bit (you can take a look at my 20/20 Vision sermon series as an example). I feel like it is really important to know God's will and to live in it. I think it is the ultimate key to living any kind of satisfying life.

But I think a huge barrier to understanding and implementing the "higher-level" stuff is the clutter we carry around in our heads every day. I was once told that pastors basically get paid to carry the details and needs of the church around in their heads 24/7/365. That made sense to me. It made sense because it resonated with my experience.

David Allen, in his book Getting Things Done, talks about all of the little things we have to do every day as the "runway" things. They are the current reality of things on the ground. Most of us never see things from "10,000 feet," "20,000 feet," or "30,000 feet" because we have so much clutter on the runway that we can never really take off.

That clutter on the runway is the same clutter in your brain that you carry around 24/7/365. You reason, "if I don't think about it all the time, who will?"

The beauty of the Getting Things Done process is that it captures all of those things - duties, expectations, goals, appointments, plans, projects, tasks, hopes and dreams - into a leak-proof organizational system that you can trust completely.

If you know the organizational system will remind you of everything you need to know exactly when you need to know it, you can take it out of your brain and stop worrying about it all the time. Your stress level (and blood pressure) will go down. You'll quit being constantly overwhelmed by all of the "stuff" you have to deal with. And you'll be able to think about the more important, "higher-level" things.

David Allen refers to this sense of peace as a "mind like water." Just like water in a pond, your mind should be at peace most of the time. And it should only react when something is thrown into it. Water reacts exactly in proportion to the object thrown into it - with a big splash for a big rock, or a little ripple for a small pebble. And when the reaction is over, it goes back to a state of peace.

If we all had David Allen's "mind like water," I believe we would be better able to listen for God's voice, discern His leading, do better strategic planning, and ultimately become the pastors God wants us to be. So before I get into the "higher-level" stuff for pastors, I'm going to spend some time talking about managing all of the "runway" stuff.

I would really encourage you to buy the book Getting Things Done. I really believe that your life will never be the same.


Lauralea said...

And the best part is it helps you enjoy Sabbath a lot more because you're not worrying about all the things you didn't finish on Friday.

ralph.mrowietz@minimalwall.com said...

Mind Like Water Minimal Wallpaper

MinimalWall - Your Desktop, simplified.

Jay said...

Thanks for the minimalist wallpaper!