Boost Productivity by Removing Decisions

remove decisions and boost productivityWhen you remove a decision from your life, you allow more time and energy for something else. We are often creatures of habit. This article explores areas we can embrace that trait and boost productivity. Dig in and find ways to save mental power for the decisions that matter most.
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Boost Creativity by Removing Things

creativity-by-removingYour church communications team wants to be creative. Digital ministries want interesting ways to reach potential and existing customers. These new ideas do not come us by accident. They often happen because of rigorous precautions we put in place. Let us look at some examples and see what lessons we can learn. Perhaps the next breakthrough in creativity is just around the corner!

Remove Distractions

Pixar is one of the most creative movie companies around. Yet they are quite particular in how they create their movie storyboards. They affix their papers to a wall, with clear thumbtacks, exactly 1 centimeter in from the corners. This uniform design creates a distraction-free environment. They lay out their movies, frame by frame on these papers. This allows them to focus on each shot, and tell the best story possible.

What can you do at your church to remove distractions? Here are just a few ideas I could come up with:

  • Create a meeting space with nothing on the walls but whiteboards
  • Have quiet times in the office, with no phone calls or loud conversations
  • Set up a decoration-free cubicle for co-workers to share

Fewer Decisions

Another company famous for creativity is Apple. They are one of the leaders in technology industry. The man often credited with their success is the late Steve Jobs. One trademark of his life was the small detail of his clothes. He wore the same outfit to work every day. Blue jeans, black mock turtleneck, and sneakers. It was one less thing to think about. Many high-ranking people have similar routines. They reduce the number of daily decisions to maximize the time they can spend on each one.

Where can you remove decisions from your operations? Often you need to create a guide or artifact to help inform your daily design decisions.

  • Well-defined branding guide tell you what font to use on a social media graphic
  • A website style guide help you know what color a blog post heading should be
  • Your voice and tone guide better informs pastors and other content writers

Avoid Fads

In 1961, Vince Lombardi made history with the Green Bay Packers football team. He started spring training by saying “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He began by assuming they knew nothing about the game. They focused on the absolute basics of blocking, tackling, running, and passing. They went on to one of the most dominating franchises of early professional football. They removed the latest fads and found success.

Where are you going to focus your effort? While a new trend may have big returns, basics will help you in the long run.

  • A well-designed, maintained, responsive website still matters
  • Check grammar and spelling on all your writing
  • Take the time to test technology, designs, content, and calls to action

Action Item

Start by discussing with your church leadership why creativity is important. I am sure many of them have wanted to revitalize their spiritual lives. One method is a retreat. They remove the daily grind and focus on their relationship with God. Let them know these ideas for boosting creativity are in the same spirit. Pray over what ideas that make sense for your teams. Try one at a time, and measure the success. In no time, your team will have many new ideas to help your digital ministries!

Photo courtesy of T.A.

Creating Sustainable Digital Ownership

abandoned propertiesYou made your church a website, but nobody updates it. You created social media accounts, and they sit dormant. What can you do to get that lagging ministry invested in their digital properties? Build half the property yourself. Then work with ministry leaders to develop the other half. This strategy has many benefits. Help them create a digital property so there is a sense of ownership. Develop a schedule and ask your leadership to help keep everyone on track. Create a strong sense of digital ownership.

Investment

It is a simple concept. You care about what you earn, more than what you are just given. Your ministries will appreciate the properties they help create. Plus, it is a training opportunity. They will learn many new skills, such as:

  • Writing content for the web
  • Creating meaningful calls to action
  • Developing their brand on social media
  • Engaging audiences in digital ministry
  • Interpret basic analytics results

Time

It will take time to help ministry leaders learn. That of course is time you are not performing your usual duties. But once they are trained, you should be free to work in other areas. Be even more efficient to host a workshop for several leaders at once. The time you spend training will pay off with excited and empowered ministries.

Empathy

When you work together, you learn about each other. Digital ownership works both ways. Ministry leaders of course figure out how to create an effective online platform. In turn, you learn about their ministry and the challenges they face. Both sides will gain an appreciation for what the other does. The more understanding, the more effective a team your church will be.

Ideas

You most likely have been doing this whole church communications thing for a while. You might have taken programming classes, or attended technology conferences. But your ministry leaders are experts in their respective fields as well. They know what people ask about. Every day they see what members and visitors struggle with. That is valuable knowledge for creating better digital communities. Social media posts are far more effective when you know your audience’s problems.

Action Item

Start writing a course of action for your next website or social media overhaul. Bake the notion of digital ownership into it from the start. Determine what the communications team will build. Then see where your ministry leaders can pitch in to finish up. Work alongside each other to better understand each other’s obstacles. In the end you will have leaders interested in maintaining their digital ministries. Plus you will have more time to start those new projects. Get going and build half a digital ministry!

This article was inspired by the 99% Invisible podcast “Half a House

This photo courtesy of Meve TA

Helping the Weak Links in Digital Ministry

weak-linksWhat is the best way To build up your church communications team? How can you bolster the entire church technology community? There are many approaches you can take to these problems. I suggest by helping your weakest links first. This article delves into why.
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Getting Maximum ROI on Interns

treating-interns-rightThe summer is winding down and college students are getting ready to head back to school. Some lucky ones had an opportunity to work as interns during their break from classes. If you have an internship program, I have some ideas how to get the most from it. If you do not, I will give you encouragement to start one.
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Appreciating Social Media Logistics

social-media-logisticsYou often do not think about how the tomato in your grocery story got there. You are just happy to have tomatoes. The same goes for social media posts. There are typically many people involved in posting that content. This article is not so much a persuasive article as it is informative. Use it to help others understand just how complex the journey can be for your average social media post.
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How to Retain Volunteers

retain-volunteers
Growing your church’s volunteer force is important. You need them for many reasons. Your ministries can often more more with more people. Plus, serving on a team is the easiest way to feel like part of the church community. Yet you cannot only focus on getting more volunteers. You also need to keep existing volunteers engaged. Their experience is what will keep your digital ministries moving forward. This article will examine several ways to keep volunteers and help them grow over the years.
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Breaking and Pouring Out Digital Ministries

broken-poured-outHave your digital ministries stalled? Did you not even start an online ministry? A breakthrough may come after God allows something to break in your life or ministry. I imagine that does not sound like a lot of fun. Yet when problems arise, we learn to more fully depend on God. Plus, when we come through that problem, we often see a new path. In this article I examine what you can expect, and how to react.
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How A Lighthouse can Help Your Ministries

lighthouseStarting a social media for your entire church may feel daunting. Even making a slight change to your current social media strategy feels overwhelming. Use the concept of a lighthouse to ease those fears. A lighthouse is a partner for developing or enhancing a product. The product we are discussing here are your digital ministries. This article will further define lighthouses, as well as how to prepare for one.
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How Cadence Helps your Digital Ministries

regular-cadenceWhen your church’s digital teams work at a regular cadence, you become more predictable. This is a good thing. It sets expectations of both your audience and stakeholders. It also helps teams become more sustainable. Here are a few key areas that will make church communications more effective over time.
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CWS Podcast – Ep 78: Does Your Church Need an Intranet?

cws-podcast-logoThere are two ways to have more money in a business; increase your intake, and decrease your costs. Churches often look at how they can bring in more money through donations and fundraisers. Cutting costs is more difficult to swallow, as many churches are already running on tight budgets. By utilizing tools to increase productivity of the existing staff, you can avoid job and salary cuts while still advancing your ministries.
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Digital Ministry Lessons from Bruce Lee

bruce-leeRegular updates to your website and social media platforms takes discipline. You need commitment to those ministries to post consistent updates. And there is a certain amount of tenacity required to tackle tough website issues. Another space that requires discipline, commitment, and tenacity is the martial arts. This week I take lessons from one of the greatest martial artists that ever lived; Bruce Lee.
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