Working Smarter: Making The Most of Your 24 Hours
By Tricia Sciortino, CEO of BELAY
Fifteen years ago, I was the No. 1 District Manager at a large retail chain and for 12 years, my job had me traveling and working 80-hour weeks, including weekends and holidays.
Then, a pivotal life moment: I had my first daughter.
And I – like many other parents – found myself struggling to balance my demanding career with my new role as a mother. And after a year of trying desperately to juggle both – being as a present a parent I could be while leaving nearly everything I had on the road week in and week out, I had had enough.
I walked in one day and gave notice, having no idea where I’d go and what I’d do next. All I did know, however, was that wasn’t it.
Three months later, after a move from New York to North Carolina where I knew no one and had absolutely no idea what I’d do, I met and started working as an assistant for someone for five years.
That someone – Bryan Miles – came to me in the midst of a tanking economy with a proposition: He was leaving his current organization to start his own business – what would become BELAY – and asked me to join him.
I should’ve said no. But my gut said yes, so I did, too.
From its first employee as a Virtual Assistant to now serving as its CEO, my ‘why’ for brazenly walking into that office and quitting my retail job those many years ago remains the same: my family.
So regardless of the acronym alphabet soup that has sandwiched my name over the years – VA, VP, COO, CEO – I am fiercely committed to making the most of my working hours because when it’s time for my family, I won’t compromise.
And I achieve it with very intentional scheduling and time-blocking to maximize my productivity during my working hours.
Scheduling & Time-Blocking: Making The Most Of 24 Hours
So much to do, so little time.
But really, maximizing productivity comes down to — in large part, anyway — strategizing your week by prioritizing their tasks to schedule time for meetings, activities, appointments, deep work, and administrative duties. It also includes blocking for fundamental items like project work, scheduled days off, family and friends, and even fitness or other health goals.
Establishing your Ideal Work Week is an effective way to keep your priorities in line, increase productivity, and make your work easier because you'll be better equipped to anticipate what lies around the corner.
What This Looks Like In Application
If you're not familiar with the rock, pebbles, and sand jar analogy, the short version is that our time is like a jar, in which we must find room for all our rocks, representing the most important projects and things you have going on; the pebbles, representing the things in your life that matter, but that you could live without; and the sand, representing the remaining filler tasks.
My preference is to have three or fewer meetings every day. Knowing that, my virtual executive assistant will schedule my days and block time accordingly.
Using the Ideal Work Week and time-blocking helps me …
It looks a little something like this …
Sow Today, Reap Tomorrow
I understand that as a leader, when you actually stop and think about all the things you do every day, all the things begin to add up – and quickly. I understand that, at least initially, trying to compartmentalize everything into tidy, neat blocks of time is overwhelming at best, and seemingly impossible at worst.
But you can do this. I balked. I pushed back. I still get my hand slapped by my VA when I slip into old, bad habits – though not as often as before.
So once you've created your ideal work week – and this is the tough part – you have to commit to it and live it.
You can only maximize your productivity at work and have time to cherish and capitalize on the other – arguably more important – parts of your life when you commit.
And for those of us who need the extra support – read: hand-slap – from an executive assistant to maximize our productivity, my book, Rise Up & Lead Well: How Leveraging An Assistant Will Change Your Life & Maximize Your Time, has got you covered.
In it, I share everything I’ve learned – sitting on both sides of the desk – about how to work successfully with an assistant so you can, too.
To learn more about BELAY or Tricia Sciortino, click on the social media icons below.
“Exhausted“ is the word many leaders are using in 2021.
Exhausted from courageously leading others through a global pandemic. Exhausted from gently guiding their team during a divisive political season. Exhausted from carefully navigating the changing schedule of working remotely.
When not properly dealt with, exhaustion can lead to overwhelming frustration and limited motivation. The result? Leaders are losing heart in leadership.
So how can you deal with exhaustion so that you do not lose heart in your leadership? The answer is found within the words of Jesus in Luke 18:1. Jesus said, “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
Within the parable, and the stories Luke describes in the remaining narrative of chapter 18, we learn three effective ways leaders can avoid losing heart in ministry.
Are you a leader facing exhaustion? Prayer is the key to not losing heart in the middle of exhaustion. May you rest in the all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful God and not lose heart.
No, the dog didn't accidentally hit the keyboard as I was typing.
"3LQ" stands for "Three Leadership Questions". 3LQ is designed for new or seasoned leaders who want to lead in a way that glorifies God, impacts His Kingdom, and reinforces the family unit. Each month you will hear from leaders who will share valuable insight into leadership - leading yourself and leading others.
Starting May 2021, I will be presenting different leaders each month who will answer three questions on a variety of topics: Productivity, Leadership, Time Management, and more.
You'll hear from Pastors, Ministry Leaders, Corporate CEO's, Marketing specialists, and more.
Sign up below to be the first to receive updates when a new 3LQ is released.
Let Leadership in Ministry serve you this Easter with FREE Easter graphics.
What's more important for your ministry? Spending your time finding the perfect graphic, correct font size, attractive font color? Or spending your time in prayer - praying for your Easter Sunday sermon preparation, calling church members who have not attended in-person gatherings since Covid-19 began and asking how you can pray for them, or prayer walking between the seats of the sanctuary in preparation of those whom God will bring this Easter Sunday?
Graphic one is a Facebook Page Cover - Sunday's Coming
Graphic two is an image with a a Scripture pointing to the triumph of Christ.
Graphic three is simply an image stating - He's Alive.
Download these Easter graphics to use on your ministry page today as you use your time for what is most important this Easter season.
Preparing the finishing touches on your Sunday sermon, the notification on your smartphone alerts you. While you assume the message is from a friend, you casually glance at the text message that begins with the words, “Our dear mother has passed away.”
The finishing touches of your Sunday sermon now on hold, you immediately call the family member. You realize the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has invited you to shepherd this precious family through difficult days ahead. Prayer, Biblical counseling, and Christian resources dealing with grief are all important ways to shepherd a family who have suffered a loss.
Yet another aspect of shepherding remains: Leading the funeral service.
What should you do when you're called upon to shepherd a family during a funeral service? I have provided a ten step guide below to offer assistance to you the next time you’re called upon to lead a funeral service.
For a customizable funeral service template and a graveside service template to provide assistance to you as you lead others during a funeral service, provide your name and email address below. I will send free resources to your inbox that will assist you during your next funeral service.
A good shepherd will care for the sheep by spending time with the sheep. Jesus said in John 10:14 (ESV), “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me...” Our good shepherd is with us always and promised to never leave us. Yet pastors are called to “shepherd the flock of God (First Peter 5:2)” and part of that call is to spend time with God’s flock.
Pastors who are called by God realize early on in ministry they are not omnipresent, but their love for God’s flock does not cease when they are unable to gather. So pastors pray. Pastors schedule time to lift up God’s flock by name to the Chief Shepherd.
The pastor will then set aside time to make a pastoral call to the member(s) who are unable to gather physically with the rest of the flock. While the phone call does not replace the physical presence of the pastor, the phone call can be spiritually edifying for the flock of God.
Most often, once you begin with that opening question, the conversation will flow. However, should there be a lull in the conversation, here are ten straightforward questions that can open the door for purposeful conversation.
What are some helpful questions you fall back on when you make pastoral calls to those whom God has called you to lead? Leave your comments below to serve other leaders in ministry.
Simply looking at my smartphone screen can open up a world of possibility. My smartphone can recognize my facial features, react by opening the device, and then I proceed with sending an email, text message, DM, tweet, and so much more. My smartphone device has many wonderful productive and communicative features that I use on a daily basis.
On the other hand, using a screen and keyboard is not the only way I communicate to those God has called me to lead. There are alternative methods of communication without using technology. Most often, I aim to encourage others without using technology and there is an assortment of ways you can encourage those you lead without using technology.
I have listed 10 ways to encourage someone without using technology below. While we can use technology to communicate with one another, communicating with one another does not always have to be in the form of technology. Read through the list and add to the list by sharing the various ways you communicate with those you lead.
Leadership in Ministry seeks to serve local churches and ministries. One way we aspire to serve local churches and ministries is by delivering resources. Download the "February Social Media Graphics" zip file below to access graphics that are designed to point people toward the love of God.
With over 2.7 billion users worldwide on Facebook and 854 million Instagram users worldwide, social media platforms are modern tools to broadcast the message of the Gospel. Using images that are taken from the English Standard Version, these verse can be posted on your personal page, church page, or ministry page.
Once the image is posted, use the opportunity to engage your audience. Share more about the love of Jesus in the description section of the social media platform. Ask a question like "How have you experienced God's love in your life?" and lead your audience to write in the comment section their answers.
Let us know in the comments below how you utilized these resources for the glory of God.
"United we stand, divided we fall."
Each election season that comes upon us in the United States of America, I always feel blessed that we live in a country that we have the freedom to vote. I also feel gratitude thinking about friends, family, and others who bravely fought for the freedoms we do have in the U.S.A.
Yet, each election season also brings a sense of division. It often comes down to: Right vs. Left; Conservative vs. Liberal; Republican vs. Democrat. In this election season, the perception of the disunity is greater than ever. While we watch the disunity during political debates, you may have also noticed the disunity on social media platforms between those whom you are called to lead.
"United we stand, divided we fall" is not just a quote for our wonderful country - it's also an adage for those whom you lead. How should you lead during the division? How can you lead your team (paid or volunteers) toward unity?
Standing in unity begins by standing together on our knees and it begins with you - the leader.
Colossians 4:2 says, "Continue steadfastly in prayer..." To continue steadfastly in something doesn't mean you continue in something when it's easy and back off when the 'going gets tough'. Leadership is difficult and leading during a time of division calls for strength and perseverance. Leading during division calls for strong leadership. Leadership during division calls for leaders to continue steadfastly in prayer.
"United we stand, divided we fall" is a wonderful slogan for our country, but it's also a rally cry for leaders to be united in prayer for those whom we lead. Leaders in churches, leaders in the classroom, leaders in the home, leaders in the factory, leaders in the field, leaders in ministry, are called to be united together in prayer. Leaders are called to pray for those whom we lead, for those who are in authority, and for those seeking an elected office.
Leadership in Ministry wants to provide you with a free seven day prayer guide. This prayer guide will guide you over the next seven days in how you can pray for those you lead, for those in authority, and for those seeking an elected office. Each day gives you a guide for your time of prayer along with Biblical support.
Will you commit to seven days of prayer for those you lead? Will you also commit to seven days of prayer for this election season as well?
If you will commit, fill out the form below. By filling out the form below, you will gain access to our seven day prayer guide and also will be included in our monthly "Leadership in Ministry: Inside Look": a newsletter looking at leadership in ministry.
President Harry S. Truman famously said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
Early on in my leadership, the concept of the importance of reading took a while to understand. Once I began leading others, I understood leadership as: Doing More and Reading Less.
However, once I was introduced to Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (below), I soon realized leadership is not about doing more, but about doing well what is most important.
As new leaders begin in their new role, it’s important to start well in order to finish well. New leaders are encouraged to read books not only on leadership, but on productivity.
Utilize the list below for five essential productivity books for new leaders:
Write in the comments below what books have shaped your productivity?