It’s easy to move on to something else before finishing. This personality trait in my own life has been highlighted by the way my kids behave. I realize they’ve picked up on my habits – and one way it plays out is four or five piles around the house each day. We play a game, but don’t put it away. We eat dinner, but leave the table before putting dishes in the sink. We start organizing a closet, but then leave piles of unwanted stuff somewhere else in the house.
Work life is no different. We begin a project, then think of something else that needs to be done. We start on a paper or report and stop due to interruptions, never to return. As we are writing or organizing something triggers our mind and we begin working on project B never to return to project A until we are in crunch time.
One of the suggestions Brian Tracy makes in his book Time Power: A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible, is that you should develop a “compulsion for closure”. Developing this characteristic will help increase productivity immediately. When you begin something, finish it. Bring it to a close.
Some of the tasks we may think of are the simple, small items on our check list – writing a letter or email, filling out expense reports, reading an article, or any number of things. Many of these can be done quickly in one sitting. Other projects are more long term, but still require a compulsion for closure.
In church staff and ministry roles, these lines often get blurred. Take the order of worship for Sunday’s service for example. Many voices play a role in planning. It takes a while to get the information in one place. It requires conversations, creativity and planning. Worship planning teams need great systems in order to get it into place, but they also need a rabid commitment to sealing the deal. Making decisions. Finalizing and finishing the project.
Developing a “compulsion for closure” will:
1. Cause you to be a high output team player.
2. Help you finish what you start.
3. Create good feelings of accomplishment and will boost confidence.
4. Build your reputation as someone who can get something done.
5. Move the mission of your organization forward.
One of the challenges in church ministry roles is the never ending possibilities for serving, connecting or ministering. Ministry leaders can’t come across like people are projects; each situation is personal and unique. So, closure may be more of a mental thing at times. What time will you stop this project or conversation? How far do you want to get today before heading home? Setting these goals and timelines, will allow for closure even though the ministry isn’t totally finished.
As much as possible – have a compulsion for closure for each task your set your mind to.
For our house, I’m going to start picking up games after we play them.