October 17, 2016 PhilBell

Is This Thing Killing Your Productivity?

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So, this is my scenario: I’m fifteen minutes into my ministry workday, I’m sitting in my office, and I am just getting into the groove of a project that has been hanging over me for a couple weeks, when…

Ding! Buzz! Ding! 

Simultaneously, I hear an email notification from my laptop, my phone buzzes in my pocket, and my iPad dings from my bag on the floor. Not only are my hearing senses alerted, but an email notification shows up on my laptop from the sender, and I can already read the subject… It looks urgent… I need to read it… I must read it now!

It’s like the notifications are crying out to me, “Read me, read me, read me!”

What do I do? What do you do? 

If you are like me, the typical routine is to click on the notification and get right to it! I’ll admit it, I have no will power. I’m like a toddler at a candy store! Show me the candy, and I’ll grab it. (Although email can hardly be described as candy… There are other words I could use).

Fascinating Results! 

According to a recent article in The Harvard Business Review, French IT company Atos Origin created filters and limits on email use and saw incredible results:

  • Reduced email use by 60%
  • Increased overall productivity of staff
  • Operating margin increased by 1%. (This is actually very significant in their space)
  • Earnings per share rose by 50%. (Gigantic result)
  • Administration costs are down by 3%

Now the article is quick to point out that while not all the improvements can be attributed to less email use, the correlation is definitely strong.

What can this mean for leaders in ministry? 

  • If you are like me, (and I hope you might have more self-control when you get an email notification), but what would it look like if we turned off all notifications on all our devices?
  • What if we chose to compartmentalize our email use to once or twice a day?
  • What would it look like to get up out of your seat and go to speak to someone? Or perhaps pick up the phone instead of sending that email?

In short, I believe that not only would the productivity improve, but the relational connections in ministry would be greatly impacted. I’m not saying we should do away with email, (as this French company is suggesting), but I wonder how ministry and could improve if we begin to drive our schedules, rather than the “ding” of an email alert?

Phil <><

About the Author

PhilBell Phil Bell is a Family Ministry pastor with over 15 years of experience ministering to families. He holds a Masters in Christian Ministry and is a national speaker, columnist, author, and blogger. He’s passionate about investing in families and equipping parents to reach the next generation for Christ. He’s originally from England and now lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife Lisa and their three beautiful kids.