We’re all busy and most of us could benefit from getting more done in less time. Unfortunately, we often get in our own way with bad habits and backwards thinking. I’m talking perfectionism, distraction, and procrastination.
So let’s look at four shifts that can help us get unstuck and work faster.
1. Move from perfection to good enough. Besides being unattainable, perfection is often about wanting to be in control. As Christians, we’re called to surrender control and be led by the Spirit. God wants us to live productive lives of love that advance his kingdom. Our best effort through God is good enough for God so it should be good enough for us too.
2. Move from distraction to focus. There are a million things screaming for our attention every day. We live in the attention economy and most of have spent it so poorly we’ve gone bankrupt. It’s impossible to get things done quickly if you’re always allowing yourself to be interrupted by the latest notification on your phone, email in your inbox, co-worker at your door, etc. Decide to be a single-tasker whenever possible. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you put your nose to the grindstone instead of the iPhone.
3. Move from bunny trails to buckling down. Once you’ve decided to single-task you’ll discover a seemingly infinite amount of sub-tasks that will threaten to take you off-mission. These may feel important but are usually unnecessary for completing the project. Jot them down and return to them later if need be, just don’t let them stop you from doing the main thing.
4. Move from delaying to doing. Having a hard time getting started? Instead of giving yourself a pep-talk or a guilt-trip, ask God why you keep resisting that thing you know you should do. Is it fear? Anxiety? Ego? Control? Invite him into those spaces so that you not only tackle the task but you also tackle the resistance behind it and develop your character along the way.
Keep in mind that time is diminishing opportunity:
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:15-20
Time is short. Working faster and removing resistance is part of good stewardship. But we should always keep in mind that the main thing for us is to live by and stay in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Sometimes he may want us to work really, really fast. And other times he may invite us to slow down. Regardless of the pace he sets, living well never means wasting time.
Which one of the four shifts do you need to make the most? Ask God to help you begin transitioning this week.