Plan the first task of your day before it starts

Last week I wrote about my new habit of eating frogs for breakfast every morning (most mornings at least). Even though I have changed my morning routine (I wake up at 4:30 AM most mornings now) and get to a place where I can get my day started by 5:00 AM, I can still struggle to get the ball rolling. Procrastination is a powerful thing and if I give it any space at all, it will devour my entire morning. Recently I’ve started a new practice that has made my morning routine even more effective. I’ve heard this practice for...

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How should I spend my time?

This week I’m going to explore some productivity tips and tricks. Productivity is a topic I’m very passionate about probably because I recognize how much much there is that I want to do and how many things there are to distract me from doing what I really want to do. Left to myself, I’ll fail miserably or end up working much harder than I need to. About fifteen years ago, I was introduced to an idea that would later have huge implications for me. It’s actually a simple chart/matrix the helps you understand how to best spend your time. Although...

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What Social Media Use Says About Us

My wife is so smart. A few weeks I wrote a post about how young people are currently using social media linking to an article written by a 19 year-old about how he and his friends use social media. The point of my email was to communicate how quickly people are shifting from one social media platform to another and if we hope to influence young leaders, we need to connect communicate where they are. They’re not using facebook and only some of them are on twitter. It’s an interesting topic to consider. A few hours after my post...

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Manage appointments without any assistance (Part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about my new favorite resource, appointlet.com. I’ve used it for two very specific scheduling events and it has proven itself to be an indispensable tool for my ministry tool belt. The practical example I provided yesterday is not how I use appointlet, at least not yet. Where I’ve been sold on this application is using it to schedule a large number of people on a single day or two and it has worked like a charm. Here’s how appointlet made a stressful and tedious task simple. Earlier this week, I wrote about our baptism process. One of...

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Manage appointments without any assistance (Part 1)

Sometimes I wonder how much time is wasted simply setting up appointments. Here’s what a conversation thread can often look like: Me – “Hey, I’d really like to connect with you tomorrow! I have time at 2:00 and 3:30. Which time best works for you? Them – “I can do 2:00.” Me – “So sorry. I didn’t hear back from you in time and someone else snatch that time. Can you do 3:30?” Them – “No, I have to be at work at 4:00. Do you have anytime tomorrow?” Me – “I’m off tomorrow, sorry. However, I do have...

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Are you up on your social media?

Congratulations, you’re finally on facebook. Unfortunately, now that you’re settled, it’s time to move on to what’s next. Okay, I’m just kidding… sorta. Just repeat after me: I will not be that guy/girl who’s still talking about myspace when the rest of the planet is using facebook  Don’t be that guy, right? Here’s what you need to know. More people are on facebook than the population of China. Twenty percent of the worlds population logs into facebook every month. That’s pretty impressive. Oh, but your young leaders and students aren’t on it anymore. In the words of social media...

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App of the Week: Google Drive

The app I’d like to introduce to you this week isn’t a new app, but over the years it has been nicely developed and has become more and more useful as time goes by. Quite simply, it’s the Google Drive app for the iPhone (I don’t have an android device, so I’m sure it works as well or better on one of those devices). Several years ago, my entire team (and most of the church staff) converted to google docs/drive for word documents and spreadsheets. We created an official “NextGen” shared drive and virtually every file we create lives...

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App of the week: Cluster

There are times when you find  great app and it feels great. Then there are days when you find an app that is a game changer, and you can’t stop talking about it. Now it’s my turn to tell you about it. If you’re a ministry leader who ever hosts events, trips or special programs at your church, this app could become indispensable. Earlier this summer, we were preparing to send off over 150 kids, teenagers and adults on summer mission projects. Our problem was that last year, we didn’t get a lot of great photos from the trip....

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App of the Week: Cash

One of the most useful apps I’ve encountered lately has been the new Cash App from the makers of square. You know square, the people who made it super easy to take credit card payments over your iPhone or iPad. They’ve changed the landscape for small businesses, regular people who need to take credit card as payment as well as church bookstores or walk-up registration situations.

Their new app “cash” has made digital payment among people you know easier than ever. I’m like a lot of people now days, I just don’t carry much cash on me… and I usually only write checks a few times a year. It’s nice to have extra payment options as it’s not always convenient to have to run to the bank to pay a friend back.

Here’s how cash works:

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A new check-in comes to town

Last night someone sent me a link to the video posted below. I had no idea this was coming, but I’m very excited about it. Planning Center Online, the creators of the absolute best service planning software has just launched check-in software. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this but I think that this could be a game changer.

I found Planning Center Online shortly after it came out. I personally didn’t have a need for it as I wasn’t planning services in a way that the software would help me. However, I was intrigued by how it scheduled volunteers. I exchanged emails with one of the developers making suggestions on how this software could be modified to help manage volunteers in a Children’s Ministry context. At that point, it assumed that the same set of volunteers would serve for multiple services on a weekend. Since then they have modified their software to allow you to schedule volunteers for multiple services with an “evite” type feel.

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