Hi, I'm MatthewK 👋

Why did you sign up for the Faith-Based Productivity community?

Making sure I’m picking strategies for productivity that are not simply about making money, because I’m a youth minister, and my goals aren’t really wrapped in that package.

What is your church background?

I work for the church, so I’m there… a lot. I think about church, God, group work, all the time. I direct the youth ministry program and am fairly enmeshed in my church community.

What is your biggest struggle?

Order and discipline are my primary stumbling blocks. Even just doing what I PLAN to do and setting myself up for “success” (consistent stress-free repeatable execution of plans) is a challenge.

What is your favorite book (and why)?

The Hobbit is my favorite book because I love reading it to my kids.

Are you a Mac or a PC?

I’m a Mac

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One of the extra issues that most pastors deal with is that they get random calls to help “deal” with stuff that comes up in the congregation. I know from talking to our youth pastor that he had trouble getting to what he had planned because stuff came up at least a few times a week.

How much does that contribute for you?

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Getting to what I have planned past the stuff that comes up is a HUGE element of delay. It depends on the kind of thing that I’m dealing with, especially if it’s fellow staff or volunteers. I’m kind of my own worst enemy though, I really like helping people, ESPECIALLY in a pinch. I hate to see people struggle or stress, especially if I know how to fix the situation. I know how I would feel, and if someone could help me, I would hope they would. And the “distraction” ends up being like an exciting little adventure to help people pull off things they need taken care of rather than to simply do “what’s planned” and since it’s planned, I feel like I can put it on the shelf for a min, but then the minute becomes a mission and sprawls out longer than I had anticipated, and then I’m enmeshed in this “other” thing and I end up being the one stressed about my stuff and running late to get home to my family. It’s frequently technology related stuff. I’m trying to just explain to people a possible fix for their “came up” thing to try to stay more on target. When it comes to more pastoral issues that “come up” I try to be a perfectionist, trying to do it JUST RIGHT so I’m both firm enough AND sensitive enough, but weighing that out can take much longer than it should and really derails the day’s schedule.
Thanks for asking Curtis, it was really productive for me to spell all that out!

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I wonder if creating “office hours” for those type of things (specifically the tech stuff) would work. You’ll need to be strict about it at first to show people that rules have changed, but I bet it’s all good.

I’m the family (and extended family) tech person and I started telling people that I’d look at their stuff on Saturday. Otherwise, they’ll have to figure it out. Some grumbling happened but suddenly the problems either resolved themselves or could wait until Saturday.

For the pastoral stuff, much harder to schedule things.

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Welcome!

We did an exercise with our pastoral staff this year that was helpful around the challenges you mentioned. We had each individual do some time tracking on their own for a couple of weeks. At the end, we had them get to together along with a few of our deacons. It was helpful and illuminating to see how they were spending time. We’re still working on making use of what we found, but even just creating awareness among the group was valuable.

Wanting to help others is a noble goal. Personally, I believe people are the reason for productivity. But I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes the best way I can help people is to take care of myself first. It feels selfish, but the truth is if you don’t take care of yourself you aren’t in a place where you can help people effectively.

I like @curtismchale’s idea of office hours, but ultimately I think whatever rules or guidelines you create will be challenged and at some point you have to be ok with saying “going home to my family is the most selfless thing I can do right now.”

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