While watching 24 on Monday night, my friend @gregglovins told me, “The only person that makes you look unproductive in a day is Jack Bauer.” I felt both endeared to him and slightly concerned as–knowing our beloved multitasking TV hero like I do–no one was meant to live at such a high intensity level all the time. Only for 6 days. Or 6 seasons, depending on how you look at it.
Even my mom just told me I’m “like Jack Bauer and Bruce Willis combined.” Does that mean I can get blown up in every confrontation I encounter and still walk away looking like a stud while saying no more than 15 sentences during the entire deal? Well, regardless of the comparisons, I’m notably flattered, but I’ve gotten my fare share of laughs out of them.
Sure, I’ve had plenty of people tell me I’m unhealthy. No, not with implying I’m actually Jack Bauer; with doing all that I do. And to a certain extent, I hear them, and I’m grateful for their interest. In its most benign form, it’s concern. And I recognize that. Noted. But I also take issue with it because–while they may not mean it outright–they are actually implying that I ignore my wife, am not submitted to Godly leadership, and don’t listen to close friends. None of which are true.
The fact is, my level of operation is not new. Ask my parents what I was like as a kid and they’ll say, “He had a new project every day.” Legos. Tree-forts. Duct taped cardboard box bases. Recording projects. The point is, it’s in my blood. I’ve been living like this for over twenty years. I’m a true creative. A producer in the most real sense. It’s how I’m wired.
One long-time pastor I admire recently told me, “I’m not going to pray you stop any one thing you’re doing, because if I did, I’d be asking God to change who you are. Rather, I’m going to pray for wisdom on how to manage your time.” I was so grateful for this statement. It did nothing to demean me or my desire to live life to its fullest, all the while empowering me to seek the Lord for more insight.
You may not be married, raising kids, writing books, mixing a new CD, pastoring teens, overseeing a discipleship school, traveling, editing video, and writing business plans, but your work is no less valuable, and equally demanding of quality time. The question is, how do you organize it? How do you manage?
Here are a few of my tools:
1.) Omnifocus. Created by the Omni Group, OmniFocus is one of numerous projects designed to streamline tasks, to do lists, and projects. It’s one piece of software I can not live without. Granted, it’s on the more expensive side (the desktop version being over $100, and its iPhone counterpart at $20), and needs a good understanding of Getting Things Done, but for the serious producer, it’s a must.
2.) iCal (Mac). It goes without saying that my iPhone is more than just a fun toy or status symbol. It’s how I live. No, no, don’t go fundamentalist on me. (Please people). Without having my iCal at my finger tips–synced with my iMac, iPhone, and my personal assistant’s and my wife’s PowerBooks and iMacs–there is no human way I could keep up with the sheer amount of appointments I have to cope with.
3.) Address Book (Mac). And likewise, every single person that calls me or emails me gets logged into my Address Book. Granted, people I expect to have one phone call or email exchange with don’t get logged. But if there’s a chance of repeat communication, they’re in. The reason for this is that people are my business. Their names, locations, business interests, family members, and histories are essential to maintaining a strong network (something I’ll discuss in another post).
What’s going on in your life? And how do you manage your to-do lists, appointments, and projects? ch: