The Internet's Best Practices for Ministry

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Welcoming Guests and First Impressions

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Technology and The Church

Leveraging technology for ministry can be an incredible blessing. But it can also be fraught with problems and pitfalls. Learn how to use technology well.

Vision and Leadership

Our God longs for leaders to request of Him to do that which they cannot. Faith filled vision, leadership and risk are key ingredients for ministry.

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You know and understand how challenging it is to communicate. It is hard to get and capture people's attention. Learn how to communicate effectively.

Creativity and Innovation

Being creative means asking the right questions and making new associations. Discover new and creative ideas for your ministry.

Showing posts with label Productivity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Productivity. Show all posts

How To Make Meetings Stink Less

Recently Harvard Business School professor Nancy Koehn talked to NPR's Marketplace about ineffective meetings. The estimates she cited include:

- 11 million meetings every day in the U.S.
- That means 4 billion a year.
- Over 50% of people surveyed said that half the meetings they attend are unproductive.
- That’s 2 billion ineffective meetings.

Want more depressing stats? How would you like to throw away $37 billion right in the trash. That's how much unnecessary meetings costs businesses every year according the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. And most meetings, two-thirds of them to be precise, end before decisions are reached.

So how do we make meetings more productive? We are probably never going to eagerly LOVE going to meetings - but there are some things, best practices, we can do to make them stink less. Here are a few:

  • Cancel meetings that you shouldn't have. There are probably a lot of meeting you have scheduled, that don't need to take place. Audit your meetings. Which ones can you stop doing?
  • Start with an agenda. People should never come unprepared or face any surprises when they show up. If there is any preparation that needs to be done, everyone needs to do their homework.
  • Make sure only the people that need to be at the meeting are there. Don't fill the room and meeting with people that have no stake in the issue. Too many meetings are called to just inform people..those are often a waste of time. If people need to be informed, they don't need to be at the meeting, just email them an overview of what was discussed and decided.
  • Start on time/end on time
  • Focus on the topic at hand. Keep the conversations on track. Avoid distractions and diversions.
  • Clear follow-up and action steps are necessary. Everyone must walk out of the room with a clear understanding of who is responsible for what and when does it need to be accomplished. Without clear accountability, any momentum or forward motion from the meeting will be lost. 

How To Get Out From Under The Information Crush

Our lives and ministries are constantly inundated with tons of information, emails, and communication - all finding it's way into multiple, digital inboxes. Communication is coming at us from dozens of different directions. Email inbox. Twitter DMs. LinkedIn Messages. SMS. And the list goes on and on.

Because as ministry leaders we have to face the daily onslaught of information, it is important to remember and apply several key best practices in handling all that information and communication. Here are a couple of thoughts....

First. Try to have all your inboxes flow into to the same place. It is too difficult to keep on top of and always be checking multiple inboxes. Now although I don't always like the idea of having even more email come into my inbox every day, I like the idea, even worse, of having to be on top of multiple inboxes increasing the risk of missing important communication. Therefore, it is nevertheless a good idea to have all your inboxes forward and flow their communication into a single email inbox that you'll be dedicated to checking consistently.

Second. Because you are going to be getting more email, you need to have in place a strict rule and practice to only handle each email once! This is key. You must process and deal with your email instead of letting it loiter and hang around in your inbox. The purpose of your inbox is to be a place to process and deal with email. Email must be acted upon. Here are 6 possible key ACTIONS that each email will fall into.

  • Deter. If the email is unimportant but it keeps finding its way into your inbox, unsubscribe, mark it as spam, or add it to a block list. 
  • Discard. If the email is unimportant and needs no action, go ahead and delete it, just get it out of your inbox. Since most email clients have almost limitless email storage and fantastic search capabilities, it is unlikely you need to discard, but rather the next option will suffice.
  • Drawer. If it’s important information but needs no action, archive it or file it. 
  • Delegate. If it’s important but the email requires the action to be done by someone else, forward it to them. Yet it is important to put the email, delegated task, and open loop in a place that you are able to track and follow up on. I recommend the Active Inbox plug-in for Gmail which does this really well.
  • Do. If it’s important and you can do it in a few minutes, just act on it. Get it done and out of your inbox.
  • Date. If it’s important but you can’t do it now, add it to your calendar. Always add important things to your calendar, not just to a unspecific to-do list.
As you use these 6 D's for processing your inbox, it should help you get out from under the information crush that we all find ourselves fighting against every day.

Can We Really Trust That This Common Productivity Hack Works?

“You can do two things at once, but you can't focus effectively on two things at once.”

“Juggling is an illusion. ... In reality, the balls are being independently caught and thrown in rapid succession. ... It is actually task switching.”

- Gary Keller - The One Thing

I just finished was Gary Keller's book called The One Thing - a must read book for any leader.  This book, as well as other experts and proven research have put to rest the myth that multi-tasking works - yet there are still too many people who are bragging that they do it, and believe that it actually helps them.

Before you pick up a copy of Keller's book, here are some key insights from the book
  • Extraordinary results are determined by how narrow you can make your focus
  • Do fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects
  • Small dominos can topple much larger dominos; stack them right
  • Success is built sequentially
  • The six lies between you and success: Everything matters equally, multitasking, a disciplined life, willpower is always on will-call, a balanced life, and big is bad
  • Multi-tasking is a lie
  • It takes 66 days to create a habit
  • Become a person of powerful habits
  • How we phrase questions we ask ourselves determines the answers that eventually become our life
  • Connecting purpose, priority, and productivity determines how high above the rest successful individuals and profitable businesses rise
  • Purpose without priority is powerless
  • Resting is as important as working
Below is an helpful infographic that doubles down on the futility of multi-tasking.

Here are three key points from the infographic below to help you stop multitasking and be more effective:
  • People don’t multitask, they switch tasks, which with the starting and stopping, make it 4x longer for your work and can have 40% more mental blocks. Therefore much work time is actually lost! 
  • The best way to be more effective is to reduce the attempts at multitasking. Decide what is most important and do it first. 
  • According to the infographic, when you have better prioritization, you can have lead status (insert here: time with congregants), more revenue (insert here: time for better tithing options) more conversion rates (insert here: time responding to emails and contacting community members).

(ht: Churchmag)

Deal With Your Procrastination Like A Band-Aid

broken egg

If you struggle with procrastination (which in fact I do often), then this is good advice worth remembering and applying when you are faced with a task that you just don't want to do (but you have to!).

excerpted from 99u:

The best way to deal with procrastination is to treat it as you would ripping off a band-aid: get it over with as quickly as possible.

While it’s not unusual to procrastinate, it’s worth questioning when our fear of discomfort and resulting procrastination is justified, versus when we’ve assumed it will be worse than it really is. (But even time spent evaluating the reasons we might be procrastinating can be procrastination in itself.)

Instead, it’s best to dive head-first into whatever it is we’re procrastinating on to get the uncomfortable stuff over with as quickly as possible. As Robert Terson, author of Selling Fearlessly, tells us:
Here’s the vital question to ponder: What do you think is the greater agony to deal with…the pain of procrastination that you’re beating yourself up with day in and day out, or the difficulty of the project itself? I mean, why keep torturing yourself about it when you know down deep that you’re going to have to get to it eventually, that you’re never going to let it go, that sooner or later you’re going to have to, as Nike say, do it? Wouldn’t it be far better to tackle it now, get it over with, just to put a stop to the self-flagellation you’re enduring?
Procrastination is like a band-aid we use to cover up what needs to get done. Removing the band-aid can certainly hurt (no matter how many band-aids you’ve removed in your life) but there’s no way around the fact it has to be done. Besides: once the initial pain of ripping the band-aid off subsides, we’re often left wondering why we didn’t do it sooner.

A Simple Hack To Give You Success With Your Goals


Ok, we are a month into 2015, how are those new year goals going? Are you getting more fit? Are you more productive? Eating healthier? Spending more time with your family? Perhaps you are making some headway, but perhaps you have too many goals going at the same time.

The best way to tackle all that you want to do is to "chunk it up". Set your mind on a singular goal for a determined time - don't try to do it all - now.

Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, proposes breaking down your year-long goals into 90-day chunks:
You may have lots of goals, and that’s a good thing. Giving yourself 90 days means you can focus on a few at a time, knowing that there’s another 90-day period coming up soon. Maybe during the first quarter you focus on launching a new product. Then in the second quarter you focus on finding a new and bigger space. At the end of six months, you’ll have the new product and the bigger space, whereas if you aimed to do both at once, you might get overwhelmed and figure out neither. 

(ht: 99u

How To Get Stuff Done When You Don't Feel Like It

Head in the sand

A recent post on the Nectar Collective offers a few suggestions for how creatives can find the inspiration to get work done in situations where time is of the essence but motivation is not, this is simple yet great advice for anyone, especially ministry leaders:
Use the 20-second rule. Want to get stuff done? Make it 20 seconds easier to do. In The Happiness Advantage, author Shawn Achor describes a simple strategy for… doing things even when we don’t feel motivated. Achor says, “Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt, and raise it for habits you want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change.” 
Recognize when you’re at the top of your game. Figure out when you feel and work your best and then do all of the things that take the most brain power during those times. 
Create rewards. Tell yourself that once you finish X, you can have/do Y. Another alternative is to reward yourself with something (like a small piece of candy) whenever you knock an item off your to-do list. 
Organize. Spend 15 minutes organizing your work area and cleaning up… When your work space is clear, your mind is clear.
How to you find motivation to start those projects on your schedule every week?

(ht: 99u)

Want To Be More Productive? Then Work Only 90 Minutes


excerpted from NY Mag:

As Tony Schwartz, author and CEO of the Energy Project, once wrote for the Harvard Business Review that we can steal the habits of elite violinists and apply them to our comparatively humdrum to-do lists. Schwartz writes:
Consider the study that performance expert Anders Ericcson did of violinists at the Berlin Academy of Music. The best of the violinists practiced in sessions no longer than 90 minutes, and took a break in between each one. They almost never practiced more than 4 ½ hours over a day. What they instinctively understood was the law of diminishing returns. 
The top violinists also got an average of more than 8 hours of sleep a night, and took a 20-30 minute nap every afternoon. Over a week, they slept 16 hours more than the average American does.
From where I sit and from my personal experience, this advice seems to make sense. 90 minutes gives us enough time to enter into a place of greater focus and allows us to accomplish a significant portion of the task. Yet allowing for the rhythm of a work and rest cycle also then gives us the needed energy and stamina to accomplish more throughout the day.

The key therefore is not to get into either of two extremes. Either being always interrupted and checking email and social media accounts throughout the day. Or simply never stopping and always working toward complete exhaustion. In order to help stay accountable to this 90 minute work rhythm you may want to check out some of these time-tracking apps.

Why Your New Year's Resolutions Will Fail


The next few days are some of the most popular for planning and setting intentions for making the next 12 months better than the previous 12.

But there is a danger in this as well.

Most people set New Year's resolutions. Unfortunately, most people fail - and most failures happen pretty quick.
  • 25% of people abandon their resolutions after 1 week 
  • 60% give up after six months 
  • Just 5% those who lose weight keep it off; a high percentage gain back more than they lost 
  • Only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution 
With statistics like these, you probably are throwing your hands in the air and asking, "Why even bother!?" Is there any hope to change?

Yes, but finding lasting change is hard.

Author and expert Michael Hyatt has done a great job in breaking down the reasons why. For example, you’re likely to fail if you:
  • make too many goals – more than 7-10 is overwhelming; 
  • don’t write them down – one study by Dr. Gail Matthews shows that doing this alone increases your chances greatly; 
  • don’t make them specific – ‘growing in my relationship with God’ is a great desire, but it’s so ethereal that you’re unlikely to identify next steps or know when you’ve made real progress
How will you enter 2015? Hopefully on a trajectory of hope and promise and not by finding discouragement and failure at two weeks in. I have relied on Michael Hyatt for much advice in the areas of productivity and developing various life-skills. Let me recommend these videos below that will help set the table on a course called "5 Days To Your Best Life Ever" by Michael Hyatt.

This course really has become an incredible resource for helping all kinds of people achieve great things.  Just a quick warning though, this course and material will not be available forever as it is only open for a short window each year.

Watch this video concerning the 4 Secrets for a Breakthrough Year

Watch this video of the 5 Characteristics of People Who Get What They Really Want

Watch this video as Michael Hyatt discusses his Personal Blueprint. 

For more information about Michael Hyatt's

Ministry Best Practices is a promotional partner receiving a commission for any sales of 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever.

15 Strategic Ways To Avoid Procrastination

I trust that many of us struggle with procrastination, at some level. Given that we are heading into the new year, I trust many of you are thinking about how you can procrastinate less and be be more productive. Have a look at this infographic below, by writing services firm Essay.Expert, for 15 ways to fight your tendency to procrastinate. Which one of two techniques really jump out at you and that you would want to apply?

(ht: Entrepreneur)

Why It's Important To Embrace The Imperfect

I am a recovering perfectionist. Which means that I’m in process and am constantly struggling with demanding that everything be perfect. I imagine that you are one too.

Yet, if you are going to be an effective leader, you will need to give yourself permission for the imperfect.

When you give yourself permission to allow the imperfect in your life, you will then release yourself to greater productivity and leadership. Practically speaking, when you embrace the imperfect….

You will be released to delegate. Yes, it’s true, no one will be able to do what you do, the way you do it. When you delegate to others, there is a good chance their deliverables wont be perfect. Yet if you are paralyzed by the need and demand for the perfect, you will miss out on the opportunity to delegate. The truth is, leaders delegate. Delegation done right, multiplies your time and allows you to do only the things you can do, as a leader. Release the need for perfection and lean into delegation.

You will be able to act and move forward. Too often we don’t get a project out the door and “ready to ship” because we don’t think it’s ready. We dawdle. We stall. We procrastinate. All because we are waiting for the project, product or program to be perfect. We want all the bugs to be worked out. Yet that will never be possible. Waiting for the perfect, only leads to procrastination and often times missing the moment to seize opportunity. Don’t strive toward perfection, get that project or program out the door. And as you do, you will be able to create a learning spiral, in which you will learn from your mistakes or missteps, you then can adapt, change or tweak, and then continue to re-release and press forward. Perfection will never be discovered in the laboratory, it will only be found when your project hits the streets.

You will find freedom. Perfection is an illusion. Believing that we can achieve it stems from our need to control and be in control. And when we are honest with ourselves, we know that in life, there is very little that we have control over. All we can do is be faithful to work hard, do our part and to do our best.

Embrace the imperfect and find freedom.

44 Apps That Will Make You A Productivity Powerhouse

Productivity Toolkit

From to-do lists to time management to goal-tracking to file storage, here's a look at 44 of the best apps to help ministry leaders organize and be more productive.

Some of Ministry Best Practices' favorite apps on the list are:

(ht: Entrepreneur)

7 Easy Steps To Create Painless Decision-Making Meetings

Brainstorming Meetings

excerpt from 99U:

Brainstorming meetings can be disastrous, often eating up time and leading to poor decisions. Google Ventures has a way to avoid the pain of traditional meetings with a seven step method.

Over at Fast Company, Jake Knapp explains:
The next time you need to make a decision or come up with a new idea in a group, call timeout and give the note-and-vote a try.

1. Note: Distribute paper and pens to each person. Set a timer for five to 10 minutes. Everyone writes down as many ideas as they can…

2. Self-edit: Set the timer for two minutes. Each person reviews his or her own list and picks one or two favorites…

3. Share and capture: One at a time, each person shares his or her top idea(s). No sales pitch. Just say what you wrote and move on…

4. Vote: Set the timer for five minutes. Each person chooses a favorite from the ideas on the whiteboard…

5. Share and capture: One at a time, each person says their vote…

6. Decide: Who is the decider? She [or he] should make the final call—not the group…

7. Rejoice: That only took 15 minutes!

The “Note and Vote” technique works by circumventing the usual suspects that cause brainstorming meetings to go awry: personal feelings, fear of being unheard, and building ideas off one another rather than focusing on originality.

(ht: 99U)

One Simple Tip To Get 50% More Ideas

excerpted from 99U:
There are two leading problems with the average brainstorming session, as researchers at the Kellogg School of Management explain :
In a typical six or eight-person group, three people do 70 percent of the talking. (Tweet This) Early ideas tend to have disproportionate influence over the rest of the conversation.
One of the researchers  Professor Leigh Thompson, remarks that the dominant people don’t realize that they’re doing most of the talking. “In fact,” she says, “they vehemently argue that meetings are egalitarian.”

The solution to these lop-sided meetings is brainwriting, instead of brainstorming. 
Thompson describes brainwriting as “the simultaneous written generation of ideas.” She breaks it down the process as such:

Step 1: Write just one sentence each. For the first five or 10 minutes of your next idea generation meeting, every team member writes down one good idea or one proposed solution on, say, each of a small stack of index cards.

Step 2: Consider the idea, not the source. When the timer goes off, all cards are submitted anonymously and taped or thumbtacked to a wall for the whole team’s consideration.

Step 3: Put it to a blind vote. Team members signal their interest in an idea by marking it with a sticker or a Post-it note. Everyone gets a limited number of stickers and, if done right, the best ideas emerge quickly.

(ht: Kellogg)

5 Ways Guaranteed To Become More Productive Every Day

We all want to be more productive, right? Yet for some reason our day gets away from us and we find ourselves scratching our heads wondering where did all the time go and what did I really accomplish during it? There is hope. You can be more productive and use your time more wisely. Here are a couple of "lifehacks" that can help move you into a more productive place in work and life.

Pretend Like You Are Going On Vacation

I seem to be the most productive when I know that I am going on vacation or leaving on a long trip. I know that time is at an essence and therefore I work more efficiently and focused.

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, recommends applying that mentality to your work at the end of every week in order to help you be more productive:
Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it's not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I just suggest that you do this weekly instead of yearly.
Take Short Breaks

It is a very good idea to take breaks during the workday in order to get more energy and become more productive. Here are some examples from this infographic below:

Energy Boosts at Work

Don't Check Email In The Morning

The choices you make in how you spend the first few minutes of your work day sets up the remainder of it. Ron Friedman on Harvard Business Review explains why we should spend the first 10 minutes of every morning performing a brief planning session:
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at your desk? For many of us, checking email or listening to voice mail is practically automatic. In many ways, these are among the worst ways to start a day. Both activities hijack our focus and put us in a reactive mode, where other people’s priorities take center stage. They are the equivalent of entering a kitchen and looking for a spill to clean or a pot to scrub. A better approach is to begin your day with a brief planning session. 
Minimize Distractions

Although some of the distractions we face at work come from our coworkers coming uninvited into our workspace to talk or distract, many of the distractions we face throughout the workday are electronic. Our workday is filled with chimes, beeps, rings and bells. If you are going to be more productive you got to put boundaries around your gadgets and online life. Here are a few tips and tools.

  • Let calls go to voicemail. Don't answer calls. If it is important - it will go to voicemail and you can check it later.
  • Turn off email notifications - you don't need to know when every email enters your inbox.
  • Pause your email - - read your email in batches, only during certain times of the day.
  • Block your social media sites during work -
Avoid Multi-tasking

Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, says our obsession with multitasking is one of the culprits or our lack of productivity.
When we multitask, we don’t actually do things simultaneously; we switch back and forth between tasks. So, working on an email, while on a phone call, then responding to instant messages that pop up makes you feel far busier than you would be if you managed only one task at a time and gave it your full attention.
Focus on important projects alone...for 50 minute chunks at a time. Don't believe the lie that you can do 2, 3 or 4 things at once.


Just find a way to start that important project. Just like physics, an object in motion tends to stay in motion, therefore if you can get just a little motion it will propel you and move you forward. Try the 2-minute rule, which we posted about earlier HERE.

Please tell us what ways, tips or techniques you use to be more productive during the day?

5 Ways To Stop Creating Meetings From Hell

Meetings can too often seem like eternal punishment. Many meetings we are called to (or perhaps we are calling them ourselves) seem meaningless, unfocused and waste our time and energy. Therefore, as a leader, how can you avoid creating "meetings from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks"?

Here are 5 tips that can help.

Have clear agenda and stop/start time - start the meeting when you say you are going to start and end on time. Don't wait to start a meeting until everyone has arrived, and don't let meetings go well beyond their intended time. Doing so doesn't respect people's time and it creates bad precedent and expectations for the future.

Don't have meeting with out clear purpose.... don't just have them - you shouldn't create or go into a meeting without knowing exactly what you are intending to accomplish. You should have a meeting to accomplish something that's a part of your vision, mission and objectives. Avoid having meetings just to "inform"- like simply just reviewing the calendar.

Try having short huddles instead of meetings - instead of blocking out time in the schedule and calling an official meeting for everyone to attend, gather together around a focused objective/task/issue. You can have that huddle meeting in the hall. Have the meeting while standing and you'll be assured that the meeting won't last very long.

Don't leave a meeting without clearly assigned and measurable action items - before you leave the meeting, you should have clearly defined Action Items. And with every item that is created you should know and record - what exactly (quantitatively) are you needing to do, who is responsible for it and what is the time frame when it needs to be accomplished. In addition the progress of those action items needs to be reviewed regularly.

Avoid bringing laptops/smartphones to the meeting - people disconnect and disengage from meetings with these devices...if your meetings are focused and to the point there will be no need for people to run to these devices because they are bored.

How To Avoid Delegation Dumping

Too often we take the shortcut to delegation...we give over and assign a particular role or responsibility on someone in our organization, we then wipe our hands, we move on and don't look back.

But that isn't delegation...that's just pure dumping.

Delegation dumping doesn't work. If we are truly going to make delegation effective we have to spend time and invest on the front end and work through these 4 stages. It will take time. It is an investment. But the payoff for us and that person we delegate to will be much greater. Here are the 4 stages:

Model - At this stage need to have that person with us. We need to demonstrate and show that person how the job or responsibility actually looks.

Assist - Now that person needs to start doing it. We're not done yet. We still need to be along side that person and remain a resource, assist and help them. We must coach, train and equip them to succeed.

Watch - Then after a while, we must eventually get out of the way. We still need to be present, but we must simply observe and watch - allowing ourselves to give that person the helpful and important feedback they require.

Leave - Then eventually we just need to leave, move on and trust the person to do the job we've entrusted to them. There is no room for micromanaging.

Which of these 4 stages of the delegation process do you have the most trouble with?

How To Get High Quality Scans On The Go

One of my go-to productivity apps is ScanBot (available on both  iOS/Android).

I have used several other scanning apps in the past, but what I like about ScanBot the best is it's simplicity and ease of use. ScanBot simply takes high-quality snapshots using your phone's camera. Then the app saves them (as a PDF or jpeg) to your preferred online web service-  Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and more. Evernote is my preferred app, and therefore I have ScanBot set up to automatically upload to Evernote once the document is scanned.

The other great feature of the app is that ScanBot automatically finds and frames the item you are scanning and then it takes the scan without you having to tap the screen. Having ScanBot frame the item to be scanned is such a great feature because it allows all the extraneous table or desk top to be cropped out of the scan. ScanBot gives you a clean and clear scan.

For any ministry leader who is on the go, like myself, an app like ScanBot comes in handy and is a great resource. Watch the video below to see this app in action.

5 Barriers That Are Keeping You From Effectively Delegating

As a leader, you know that it is essential to delegate. You've been told that in order for you to be effective and truly productive, you will need to involve others to assist you with the many tasks that you asked to juggle. Yet even though delegation is a certain pathway to leadership success, it may often frustrate and allude you. Why is that? Here are perhaps several reasons why it is difficult to get traction on delegating to those around you.

Feeling overwhelmed - you are feeling so overwhelmed and under stress, you don't have the capacity to look up and objectively access that the best course of action is to delegate.

You are rushed and have immediate deadlines -you are so behind on your deadlines, and you feel the pressure to get the job or project done immediately, therefore you don't feel as if you have the time or energy to delegate.

You don't trust that others can do it as well - you think that no one can or will do the job as well as you can. And since you feel that because you are the one that'll be evaluated on the job's performance and it's execution, you don't want to risk putting your own reputation at risk.

You've been burned in the past - been there, done that, got the t-shirt. You've tried to delegate in the past and it hasn't worked. All it's proven is that delegation costs spending a lot of energy with very little positive return.

You've never seen it properly modeled - you hear about delegation all the time, but you aren't sure what it looks like and therefore without any clear vision or model of delegation you are uncertain on how to proceed.

Perhaps some (or all) of these barriers mentioned above,are keeping you from delegating. Recognizing and being honest about them is the first step to addressing them head on - because as a leader it is essential that you delegate.

The Single Most Important Productivity Tip

Just Do It - NOW!

Just do it now, even if it is messy and can always go back and edit or change. Just simply getting started, pushes you through the inertia and helps you achieve more energy, more creativity and become more productive.

Here is an example of how that worked for Vincent van Gogh from 99U:

On Think Jar Collective, creativity author Michael Michalko examines the work ethic of artist Vincent van Gogh. He persistently labored on his craft every single day; creating over 2000 sketches and paintings within a decade. He understood that improving your skills through hard work furthered your ability more than having talent and not employing it. Here are the key lessons Michalko learned from van Gogh:
  1. Get started: Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. “Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile,” said van Gogh. 
  2. Do the work: Commit to your goals and go through the motions to achieve it – whether the outcome is good or bad. Vincent van Gogh believed if you do nothing, you are nothing. 
  3. Work for yourself: The longer you work and figure things out for yourself, the more active your brain becomes. An active brain is a more creative brain. 
Vincent van Gogh did not resolve to become an artist until his late twenties. His cousin, a successful artist, even suggested van Gogh choose a different profession because he possessed no natural talent. It was through sheer work and perseverance that he became the artist that we know him as today.

(ht: 99U)

Are We Brainstorming The Wrong Way?

When you get into a group and you want to create ideas, how do you do it? Typically you attempt to brainstorm. But too often our brainstorming is actually counterproductive, it hinders creativity and doesn't enable us to create new ideas. This infographic below describes how the way we brainstorm is actually short circuiting creativity and new ideas.

Are We Brainstorming the Wrong Way?
by Column Five Media.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.