‘If you are lazy, you will meet difficulty everywhere,’ the Bible warns (in Proverbs 15 v.19, GNT). Yet, it’s possible to work really hard and still be guilty of laziness (as controversial as that may sound).
Here’s the thing: there’s a difference between working hard and working SMART. In other words, between being busy and being productive. Working smart requires that you constantly analyze the way in which you work, and, let’s face it, that takes effort.
I’m going to distinguish between two kinds of people that you’ll find in every work environment: DOERS and THINKERS.
DOERS thrive in static environments, where they get told what to do. They’re followers of instructions and rules, which are good qualities in the right contexts. Unfortunately, DOERS often get set in their ways and rarely come up with new, innovative strategies to achieve things.
In an ever-evolving and expanding organization, like a healthy church, however, we need THINKERS. People who are able to problem-solve, use initiative, strategize, maximize their effectiveness, implement changes, apply foresight, the list goes on.
Here are a few ways in which DOERS and THINKERS differ:
- DOERS use the excuse, ‘But no one told me’ a lot. THINKERS make it their business to stay on top of what’s going on. They ask questions, make suggestions, show interest, read up on things, find out more and make it their business to know what’s happening in the areas that affect their work.
- DOERS see only the task in front of them. THINKERS see what the task will lead to, how it will impact the future, what the benefit will be. They ask questions, such as: Is this the best use of my time? Or: Will the current way in which I work help me to achieve the desired outcome?
- DOERS don’t prioritize personal growth. THINKERS are committed to personal development and change. They’re always looking for ways to improve, or gain an edge that will help them achieve results.
- DOERS shrink from challenges (which require figuring things out). THINKERS embrace steep learning curves, because they know it’s the only way to get better at what you do.
- DOERS may be hard workers, but they often have lazy, closed minds. THINKERS have inquisitive minds that are open to new ways of doing things.
The good news is that anyone can become a better THINKER. Below are some pointers:
- Give yourself TIME to think.
- Prioritize your activities by asking good questions, such as: What’s the most important use of my time right now? Am I doing the work that no one else can do? What’s the goal I want to achieve?
- Get regular feedback from your oversight to make sure you’re focusing on the right things.
- Keep a ‘To do’ list of your current priorities and work through them one at a time.
- Challenge yourself by enlarging your goals, and then working out achievable steps to attain them.
- Now DO the work and avoid distractions. (There is such a thing as over-thinking!)