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Checking off the “To Do” List

Jay Hostetler, May 5, 2015

I love to check things off the list. It feels so rewarding to get things done. In the speed driven world of high production and constant plugged-in behavior, we are all “gettin’ it done.”

In our haste to check things off the list, we may miss the broader benefit of learning that can occur when we process our work.

I was recently contacted by a person representing a search firm. My name was listed as a reference on a friend’s resume. The interviewer riddled me with questions. After each of my answers she made no comment and went directly to the next question. She was checking off her list. I have found as a ministry coach that I often learn the best things with my follow-up questions. This interviewer had no time or desire to follow-up. By the 6th or 7th question, I found myself increasingly disinterested in providing meaningful answers.

So, with self-reflection and interest, I would ask: are you curious? Are you learning anything from your work or are you just checking off the “to do” list? Do you spend any time evaluating accomplished tasks or celebrate?  Do you enjoy co-worker conversations and teamwork? 

Ministry leadership has the difficult conundrum that it’s never completely accomplished. Projects have timelines but there are always new projects or Sunday’s coming!

Enjoy your work, learn from your work! Celebrate your work with your team! Don’t just go through the motions. Take time to engage in real life conversations, not just those that are “work”.

You will be a better boss and a better teammate when you can appreciate your accomplishments. (And sometimes, you may be the only one to recognize them! So, pat yourself on the back and say, “Well done!”) 

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