Dramatic Decisions Are Easy. Are You Good at the Small Ones?

In the movie, The Right Stuff, astronaut John Glenn is faced with a difficult decision. After Glenn has spent hours strapped up inside the space shuttle, the Vice President himself is heading over to Glenn’s house for a photo opportunity with the astronaut’s family. Glenn’s wife, who has a speech impediment, is terrified of the meeting and the inevitable embarrassment of speaking poorly in front of dozens of reporters and national TV cameras.

Glenn decides to make the potentially career-ending move of telling the Vice President to turn around and go somewhere else.

I can remember hearing this story in our small group for married couples. We all commended Glenn for his commitment to his wife.

But as crazy as it sounds, I don’t think that Glenn’s decision was really that big of a deal.

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A Superior Goal Setting Model: Moving Beyond SMART

You may have heard the advice before about making goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

There are a lot of strengths in setting goals this way, but something about it bugged me. I couldn’t really figure out what it was that I didn’t like, but I knew there had to be a better way.

Then I read Michael Linenberger’s Master Your Workday Now, and it clicked. [Note: I don’t fully endorse this book.]

Linenberger has some great insight on setting goals. I suddenly realized the shortcomings of SMART goals and how a new approach to goal setting would be superior.
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Enjoying the Growing: Addressing a Problem with Setting Goals

One of the foundations of effectiveness is goals: setting them, reviewing them, and acting on them. This is Productivity 101.
But there’s a common problem with goals. They keep us so focused on our desired outcomes that the present passes us by. We move from milestone to milestone, waking up one day to realize that our lives have been joyless pursuits of what’s always over the horizon.
To be sure, Christians should live with an eternal perspective. Yet we glorify God by our attitudes in the present. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him,” goes the famous John Piper quote. That joy and satisfaction don’t happen when our days are consumed with chasing the carrot on the end of a stick.
How can we combine present satisfaction in God with ambitiously setting goals for our future?

That’s the opening for my guest post today on What’s Best Next. If you’re interested in productivity, leadership, or management from a Christ-centered perspective, then What’s Best Next is a must-read blog. The author, Matt Perman, is the Director of Strategy at Desiring God and has an upcoming book on the relationship between productivity and the gospel (which is sure to be amazing).

I’d like to thank Matt for allowing me to guest post. Head over there to check it out!

One Simple Question To Tell the Urgent from the Important

You may have heard of Stephen Covey’s quadrants before, as mentioned in First Things First.

Quadrant I activities are urgent and important.
Quadrant II activities are important but not urgent.
Quadrant III activities are urgent but not important.
Quadrant IV activities are not urgent and not important.

Covey’s application of this quadrant system is obvious but still profound: Take care of the Quadrant I activities and then address Quadrant II activities before Quadrant III or Quadrant IV activities.

In other words, resist “the tyranny of the urgent” and instead focus on the important.

This is sound advice, but it’s difficult to implement. The issue is that it’s tough for us to properly classify our tasks into neat quadrants. They don’t come pre-labeled and color-coded for easy filing.
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Vocation: How God Prepared David to Battle Goliath

In a previous post, I talked about how we are called to pursue excellence in all the stewardships that God has given us. We tend to neglect the smaller areas that we feel aren’t as glamorous – but if we aren’t faithful in those “small” tasks, how can we ask for God’s blessings in other areas of our life?

I want to continue that thought today by taking another look at one of the most well-known biblical stories. God worked through seemingly insignificant responsibilities to prepare David for greater things.
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Prioritization: Don’t Forsake the Small

We have to make tough decisions as stewards of our time.

We always want to do more than we could possibly fit into a 24 hour period, which means that we’ve got to carefully allocate our time. We must prioritize.

This needs to be done in relation to our goals so that we are spending our time in the most effective manner possible. We may have to revamp some of our goals. We may need to abandon or postpone some.

But we have to be very careful with this.

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Repost: You Will Always Be Busy

Here’s another repost while I’m on vacation. I’ll be back in a few days, revved up and ready to write some new stuff.

I hope you find this republished post helpful, because it was a major mindset shift for me.

You Will Always Be Busy

When I was in college, mid-terms and finals were frantic, busy, brain-melting times. I looked forward to those breaks in between when things would get back into a nice, relaxed state of normal.

After graduation, it was a busy wedding. Then busy working. Then busy starting a business. Then busy with a baby. It seemed that there was always something going on – some temporary period of busyness. And it always seemed like I was just a little bit away from things calming down.

It took me some time to realize it – but when I got out of school and into the real world, being busy became the new normal. These hectic periods were not temporary hiccups in my otherwise normal life – this busyness is how life is.

You will always be busy.

Continue reading right here.

Repost: The Real Reason for Poor Stewardship

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. I’m enjoying the mountains right now with my family and trying to rest and read a lot. For this week, I’m dusting off some old posts that I liked. I’ll be back next week with new posts. But for now, I hope you’ll enjoy this post and also this beautiful summer.

Today’s repost is The Real Reason for Poor Stewardship.

“If only I could figure out a good system to get organized, then I could finally move towards being a good steward of my time…”
“I’m not really managing my time well right now – but as soon as I get out of this rough patch in my life…”
“I’m going to start taking my time seriously…starting soon, real soon…really…”

Sound familiar?

It does to me. I’m pretty good at finding reasons to justify my complacency.

Like take this morning. I overslept. And in my fleshly mind, I had a good reason! I have a 5-month old baby that has a real set of lungs on him when he gets crying. But when I woke up naturally at 6 AM, I knew I should get out of bed – I just ignored my conscience and hit my pillow again.

Maybe you think you’ve got your own reasons for struggling with being a good steward. You don’t have a good system. Now is not a good time. You don’t know enough.

But Jesus tells us what the real reason is.

Check out the rest right here!

Repost: Why You Secretly Love Being Busy

This week, I’m going on vacation with my family. I thought I’d take this opportunity to republish (drag up from the miry depths) some old posts that I like and thought were worthwhile. Feel free to leave comments on the original posts. I hope you enjoy these, and I’ll be back with brand, spanking new posts next week.

Today’s golden oldie is Why You Secretly Love Being Way, Way, Way Too Busy.

Think for a minute about this question: Would you say that you’re a busy person?

Let me guess: you only needed to think for half a second – and the answer is a definitive yes. I know that because everyone answers yes.
Seriously. Everyone.

Why is that the case?

The reasons are many, but I want to address a hidden and particularly nasty reason.
In a nutshell, I believe we like to be overly busy. We enjoy having way too much to do.

Read the rest right here!

How to Get Control of Facebook and Twitter Time

Before diving in, please allow me to announce that Life of a Steward is now on facebook. The facebook page is brand, spanking new – so if you enjoy Life of a Steward, please stop by and like it.

I get asked about this a lot, and it seems to be a growing problem.

Social networking has changed the way we interact and communicate. The potential for marketing and promotion is alluring. But it can be a colossal black hole of time wasting.

How can we control the massive amounts of time that we spend on facebook and twitter?
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