Today is the last day of the Summer season in Australia. And it’s also the last day of a season of more than ten years of my life … so it’s got me thinking about times and seasons.
When God the Son talks to God the Father we get to listen in on how the divine leaders of the universe think and what issues concern them. In John 17:1 we see Jesus beginning the conversation with “Father, the hour has come….”. Timing is so important!
Time is mentioned throughout the Scripture. Indeed, the first thing God communicates is an answer to the question “When?” … In the beginning. If you read Scripture with the question “When?” in mind, you might be surprised just how often the management of time is an issue addressed by the biblical writers.
I’ve been reminded recently of two of the most productive ways of handling your time and tasks so that you’re not squandering your profits – whether you use online profit systems or good old fashioned ones.
1. Avoid To Do Lists
I was recently put on the spot, in front of a group of people, to organise a group outing. Whilst, I would have preferred to be asked in private so I could either accept or decline without embarrassing myself or my leader, I accepted. And completed the task, in front of the group, within just one minute.
This reminded me that if you are tasked with something that isn’t on your To Do List and you can take action straight away, do it now (so it never makes it on to your list). You’re more likely to procrastinate if it is someone else’s idea and you don’t “own” it. People often spend a lot of time managing their To Do List (e.g. transferring a simple item over many days or even weeks), rather than doing their To Do List. You’ll save all of that time, and mental stress, if you avoid putting it on your To Do List and just do it now!
Also, if someone gives you their task (who you think really had the time and resources to do it themselves), doing it while they’re still with you, lets them see how quick and easy it is, too – which might inspire them to do it themselves rather than delegate next time. Hopefully, that will help keep it off your To Do List forever.
2. Make Plans Once
Having organised the event, at their request, with the input and agreement of everyone in the group, within a minute, a week later the leader then changed the plans.
If you’ve made a plan with someone, let alone a whole group of people, rescheduling is a nightmare. Firstly, even if there are no other impacts, you are adding the extra time to communicate the new details. People are often tightly scheduled these days, and moving your agreed time can mean every other thing in their day needs to be adjusted. Whilst changing details of date, time or venue, may possibly be marginally better for you, the ripple effect for multiple other people can waste literally countless hours of time and profits – and create stress for multiple people.
When leaders say “Follow me” and change course midway, it weakens the ability of participants to trust them next time they want followers to agree to their schedule items (especially if leaders don’t clearly communicate what the benefits of the change were). And it shows a lack of respect for the time of others.
Whilst it only took me another minute to call the venue and cancel the booking, I hate doing it. As a small business owner myself, I know that everything from staffing to cashflow planning can change with a cancelled booking. And, frankly, I don’t need the reputation of being someone whose word is fickle and cannot be relied on.
Think very, very carefully before you are tempted to reschedule.
Following these two simple time management tips will help you profit not just today, but they will set you up with personal habits and a reputation for being someone who can deliver, everyday.
Leave a comment and let me know what time management insights you have found in Scripture or in practice.
Robert Redford, Steve Jobs, David Cameron… all the best leaders spend at least some of their time casting vision.
But why? What is it about vision-casting that is so productive for already powerful, global leaders?
Well, firstly, vision effects outcome. And sometimes the stakes can be really high. Consider Britain’s decision this week on whether to remain or leave the European Economic Union.
The future of an entire nation changed in one day. Powerful!
On the other side of the world, Australian shares lost $50 billion of value in shock.
The question of whether to stay or “Brexit” was quintessentially a question of vision. What kind of future did the people of Britain want? A future based on the possibilities of partnership with their powerful neighbours in Europe, or the freedom and control of a self-reliant future.
To cast their competing visions, leaders travelled the length and breadth of the country, several times over, to meet with people personally. Yes, there were brochures, and media appearances and social media campaigns, but the majority of time spent by the leaders was spent in front of a voter’s face.
At first glance, especially from a time-management point of view, this might seem like an incredibly unproductive thing to do. Why shake one person’s hand, when you could tweet to twenty million during that same time? Why address a small community meeting of eighty entrepreneurs in a tiny village when you could instead be interviewed on BBC broadcasting to eight million viewers?
Even Donald Trump, who doesn’t like shaking hands with anyone, and will (*probably) tell you himself “I’ve made a lot of money in media, I’m very good on television. I translate very well on Twitter”, has spent months out on the road criss-crossing America with personal appearances.
It’s all about the Proximity of Presence. There’s something about being in the presence of the vision-holder that doesn’t quite transcend into traditional and social media. Blogs and those other channels are great supplements, reminders and reinforcements, but for truly productive vision-casting think Michelle Pfeifer and Robert Redford – try and get all Up Close and Personal. (Yes, I realise the irony of quoting a non-personal appearance to encourage personal appearances 😉
Okay, so we’ve answered why vision-casting is necessary (the stakes are high), we’ve answered how to do it (up close and personal). But why does it work so effectively?
Here’s how Steve Jobs answered that question:
Ephron W. Taylor said it this way. “Define the vision (this is the seed of self-leadership)”.
Leaders multiply into more leaders through vision-casting. Leaders help you lead yourself, and ultimately lead others, by planting and nourishing vision.
If a leader can plant the seed of vision in you, she doesn’t have to spend mountains of energy or time to motivate you towards success, that seed will grow generations of motivation in you, from the inside out. You’ll probably even start dropping seeds in your own network of contacts.
Vision is the ultimate leverage. You’ll achieve much more, with much less, if you cast vision seeds that grow into their own orchards of vision in others. And it’s massively scaleable – vision can multiply rapidly.
So next time you are talking with someone you want to work with, think of the weird old Christmas Carol lyric:
“Do you see what I see?” (it also talks about lambs, talking wind, and stars with tails who have apparently gone out for a disco – probably best NOT to think about those things if you want your vision to sound credible 😉
Said the night wind to the little lamb,
do you see what I see
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
do you see what I see
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite
The vision locomotive just pulled an entire nation into massive change in one day – such massive and quantifiable change it had billions of dollars of economic impacts in the hip pockets of investors on the other side of the world. And that’s just day one of the changes.
If you want your work to produce such powerful and productive effects, lead with your hand. Get off the computer for a change and go and shake someone’s hand. Because if we can learn anything from sexy Robert Redford, it’s that even the most visionary leaders look better up close and personal.
On Snapchat the MOST time you can spend on any one post is 10 seconds. Yes, even a video is limited to ten seconds. If you only want to take a photo, well you can do that in a “snap” 😉
More than 60% of 15-34 year olds use Snapchat. And,yes, there are over five billion video views EVERY single day on Snapchat.
S-oooo if you haven’t got a lot of time to spare and you still want to get your message out there, Snapchat is the place to share.
If you want to connect on snapchat like all the cool kids are doing, use your mobile phone’s camera to scan my snap code. Just press and hold on the screen and you’ll be able to see my snapchat stories. Magic!
Or if your magic powers fail, just search for “shazjones” and you can follow my story 🙂
“The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity.”
I can’t remember where I first saw or heard this quote, but it made me look at a few things quite differently.
Time is my “love language”. So I tend to take it personally, and badly, when someone “steals” my time. On the other hand, when a random stranger, who has nothing better to do, spends a few minutes to chat with me, I read way too much into it.
Since I was eighteen, I’ve always valued my time in monetary terms, too. At my first job, I didn’t just learn about time management, I had to write down what I did every 15 minutes and charge that time out to a client. At the end of the week, I had to submit those time records to my boss and he would record my productivity. When you do this for months on end, valuing your time becomes a habit.
But this quote made me value my time a bit differently – not just by what I had done, but by what I could do. Not just the cost of my time, but the opportunity cost of my time.
I recently offered an opportunity to everyone I knew. Most didn’t take advantage of it at all. And some took advantage of it at the start. Some took a little longer to sign up but then stumbled somewhere before the finishing line. Not one single person seized the full opportunity within the lifetime of the opportunity (it ended today). If only they knew what they missed out on (it would be kind of cruel to tell them, now).
It made me think about the Promised Land opportunity. I watched the recent movie Exodus: Gods and Kings, on a big screen with 3D and surround sound – it was spectacular! It made the brutal conditions of slavery and the plague and the harshness of racism towards the Jews so horrifically real.
So the opportunity of their own land, a land flowing with milk and honey, was an excellent opportunity. It was not just a good opportunity – it was a God-ordained opportunity. And God provided direction, protection, food and leadership to help them seize this amazing opportunity. And yet, out of the millions it was available to, only two (yes, 2) of them actually managed to seize that opportunity in their lifetime. Most squandered the rest of their lives complaining, criticising and literally walking around in circles.
Which made me realise, you not only have to seize the opportunity within the lifetime of the opportunity, but also within your own lifetime!
Every opportunity, like every life on earth, has an expiration date.
Every person and organisation can either choose to possess the promised opportunities, or they can squander their God opportunities.
One of the things that I’ve discovered is that opportunities often co-locate with integrity. Those who follow through on commitments, find opportunities. The promised land is accessed by those who keep their promises. If you’ve agreed to meet with someone, or do something, but it’s now a bit inconvenient, breaking your word and cancelling your commitment might relieve some of the time pressure you are feeling – but it could also mean disqualifying yourself from your God-ordained opportunities.
The good news is, keeping your commitments could mean you find the resources you need to seize your opportunities. I find most people who cancel the commitments don’t think at all about what it is costing the other person to keep. When Jesus had said He was going to the other side of the lake, but there was no boat to carry Him, He didn’t text them a couple of hours before and say he couldn’t make it. He knew that people would be making enormous sacrifices to meet with Him. So, He walked on water. He. Walked. On. Water. Sometimes miracles hide inside of the determination to keep your commitments. Sometimes, like Philip discovered, you’ll find the agility to move at the speed of God.
A lot of people I know are more fearful of making a wrong move than making no move at all. Not me. I’ve been alive long enough to know that if I just sit at the intersection after God has given a green light, He’ll only honk a few times before He passes me by in the other lane. Doesn’t mean He’ll stop loving me or stop using me. It just means that that opportunity is gone. Forever.
If you are currently considering an great, godly, risky opportunity, consider this:
The cost of missing out can be greater than the cost of messing up.
Even if we mess up, let’s not miss out. Let’s make 2015 the year we seize our opportunities!