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The Key to Progress: How Leaders Can Make Time for Important Projects

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That title feels a little clickbait-ish. I don’t write clickbait posts. My goal is to offer helpful insights you can use today.

Yet, I suspect many (all) of us have two things in common:

  1. We have one or more new projects we want to work on.
  2. We need more time to work on them.

If this is you, keep reading. I have a solution to offer.

What Do You Need To Work On?

If you’re a leader of any kind, you have something you’re dying to work ON. Perhaps it is a product, a team, a service offering, or something even more grandiose.

If you’re a pastor, I suspect your “make it better” list contains things like discipleship pathwaysgenerosityvolunteer engagementattendance, etc.

Leaders innovate. If you’re a leader, you see things that need fixing and desperately want to innovate solutions. You can hardly stand average or mediocre.

Why Aren’t You Working ON It More?

Every leader attempts to balance working ON it and IN it.

  • Working ON it means solving problems, innovating new projects or services, and trying new things.
  • Working IN it means orchestrating what currently exists. It’s more akin to managing than leading.

Most leaders spend most of their time managing what currently exists rather than working on what could and should exist.

Why? Because that’s the pull of every organization, business, and church.

Once something is up and running, keeping it running becomes the priority. We hire, staff, and operate to keep the current thing operational. These managing efforts take up all of our time.

What should you do? You know there are important things that need attention. You also have too many urgent things capturing your attention.

Why Important Things Don’t Get Done

The number one reason important things never get done is that leaders wait to find margin in their schedules to work on them. Discovering margin is nearly impossible—like searching for a treasure chest in the ocean without a map.

Margin doesn’t appear. If you find a minute, somebody or something will fill it up.

If you’re waiting for more time, don’t hold your breath. You’ll most likely die before a free minute appears.

The solution is conceptually simple but practically challenging.

To explain it, let’s go back in time before you had a child. If you’re without children, I suspect you know someone who experienced the insanity of having one.

Nobody is ready to have kids. While some may say they are ready, they most likely have no idea what’s coming—a seven-pound beautiful, non-sleeping terror. Don’t get me wrong—I love children. I have four and love them to death. But they rock every new parent’s unsuspecting world.