How to Increase Your Team’s Productivity by Modeling Your Own

You have a pretty good sense that most of your team has too much to handle and not enough time to get it done – you may not have a sense of how much you are contributing to the problem.

In our fast-paced, get-it-done-now culture, the fact is that almost everyone on your team could use some help in increasing their personal productivity. Why not show them how by modeling effectiveness in your leadership?

By its very nature ministry makes the “I’ve gotten something done today” feeling elusive. For many church leaders, there are no edges to their work – it’s not easy to tell when the work is finished, because it really never is. Most of your team have at least half a dozen things they are trying to achieve right now – today! And a pastoral need could arise at any moment to make that to-do list completely irrelevant.

To give your team practical help for personal productivity, blaze the trail by modeling a rock-solid work routine.




Are you over-extended, over-distracted, and overwhelmed? Do you work at a breakneck pace all day, only to find that you haven’t accomplished the most important things on your agenda when you leave the office?

The world has changed and the way we work has to change, too. With wisdom from 20 leading creative minds, Manage Your Day-to-Day will give you a toolkit for tackling the new challenges of a 24/7, always-on workplace.

Manage Your Day-to-Day shows you how to build a rock-solid daily routine field in a constant barrage of messages, find focus amid chaos, and carve out the time you need to do the work that matters


The biggest problem we face today is “reactionary workflow.” We live our lives pecking away at the many inboxes around us, trying to stay afloat by responding and reacting to the latest thing: emails, text messages, Tweets, Facebook, and Instagram posts, etc.

Because we are constantly connected to family, friends, and our co-workers, we have become increasingly reactive to what comes to us rather than being proactive about what matters most to us. Being informed and connected becomes a disadvantage when the deluge of information overwhelms your ability to think and act.

It’s time to consider a change in your routine – one that will maximize your creative potential by allocating your best time of the day to it, and then allowing all the other “stuff” to come later.  

The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second.

The Building Blocks of a Great Routine

Of course, it’s all well and good to say buckle down and ignore pesky requests, but how can you do so on a daily basis?

Start with the rhythm of your energy levels. Certain times of day are especially conducive to focused creativity, thanks to circadian rhythms of arousal and mental alertness. Notice when you seem to have the most energy during the day, and dedicate those valuable periods to your most important creative work.

Use creative triggers. Stick to the same tools, the same surroundings, even the same background music, so that they become associative triggers for you to enter the creative zone.

Manage to-do list creep. Limit your daily to-do list. A 3” by 3” Post-It© is perfect – if you can’t fit everything into that size, how will you do it all in one day? If you keep adding to your to-do list during the day, you will never finish – and your motivation will plummet. Most things can wait till tomorrow – so let them.

Capture every commitment. Train yourself to record every commitment you make (to yourself and others) somewhere that will make it impossible to forget. This will help you respond to requests more efficiently and make you a better collaborator. More importantly, it will give you peace of mind – when you are confident that everything has been captured reliably, you can focus on the task at hand.

Establish hard edges in your day. Set a start time and a finish time for your workday – even if you work alone. Dedicate different times of day to different activities: creative work, meetings, correspondence, administrative work, and so on. These hard edges keep tasks from taking longer than they need to and encroaching on your other important work. They also help you avoid workaholism, which is far less productive than it looks.

– Mark McGuinness, Manage Your Day-to-Day


Over a period of five weeks, commit to experimenting with each of the 5 Building Blocks, one each week. As you use each building block during your work day, evaluate moments of increase or moments of distraction, and modify that particular Building Block to drive effectiveness.

After one month of using the building blocks, make an honest assessment of your work routines by asking the following questions:

  • Do you feel that your work is more productive?
  • Can you list specific ways that your work is more productive?
  • What building block was the hardest to implement? Why?
  • What building block was the easiest to implement? Why?

After you have completed your personal assessment, ask a close colleague or two the same questions. Compare their answers to yours, and make any adjustments needed.

Closing Thoughts

Becoming effective in your own work habits will serve as both an inspiration and guide for your team. By demonstrating an effective, balanced role model, you are leading your team to effectiveness of vision, not just managing their output of activity.

Taken from SUMS Remix, Issue 16-3, June, 2015

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. I’m going to peruse back issues of both SUMS and SUMS Remix and publish excerpts each Wednesday.

You can find out more information about SUMS Remix here.

Subscribe to SUMS Remix here.


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