Productive Pastor 24: Project Management 101

Productive Pastor 24: Project Management 101


Welcome to Project Management month. This month we are going to focus all of the productive pastor content on project management. I have some great resources and interviews lined up.

The List:

10 Indicators You Have No Margin in Life: Charles Stone
Do you struggle with margin or need a wake-up call? This list of ten helps each of us self-diagnosis where we are on the margin scale.

The 5 Zeros You Should Achieve Every Day To Have Peace Of Mind: Timo Kiander
Many of us are familiar with the concept of inbox zero. In this blog post, Timo takes it a step further and shares what it looks like to really clean off your slate every day.

The Challenge of Setting Multiple Goals at Once (and how to actually do it): Belle Beth Cooper
Do you ever try to start 4 things at the same time. Usually I end up failing miserable when I do this. Here is why that happens and how to fix it.

Two Things Most People Miss The Most That Matter The Most

As we dig into Project Management 101, there are two things we really need to talk about. I strongly feel if anyone can get these two done well (or at least decent), they will have made much more headway than the average person.

1. Pre-Plan
The planning we do at the very first part of the project matters. It helps us define three things; the project, the goals and the timeline. To really do this well, I find it helps to always work through the same set of questions. Here is a great worksheet for you to use. You can download it free here.

The first secret to great project management is focusing on the clarity you will need to drive you throughout the project.

PP003: Project Mangagement Pre-Sheet by Chad Brooks

2. Brainstorm
Where clarity and detail matters in the first step, this is the step to go hog wild. I use post-its or notecards and write down every single thing that comes to mind. This isn’t the place to edit or restrain yourself. Just get down all of the ideas you have. Once you are at a stopping point, you can then use the items you came up with to help build a timeline.

Next Episode
On the next episode I interview Rich Birch, of and the unSeminary podcast. I had a great time talking with him and it will be a great episode to learn from.

User Justin Gottleib (@jtgott) put together a GREAT text expander version of the worksheet I shared above. You can check out his blogpost and download the resource here.

Why I Love Worksheets (and how I design them).

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Why I Love Worksheets (and how I make them)

Why I Love Worksheets (and how I make them)


I live off of worksheets.

They are the single best productivity tool for me. I am a visual processor and organizer. I have used variations of them for the last year, but I became obsessed with them through my friend Bill Streger (Productive Pastor Interview) when he posted a picture of his on instagram feed. I immediately had to find out what it was and went crazy when I realized he made it himself in word.

For the last few years I have been using worksheets for plenty of projects. It started when I was designing 3-4 worship services a week. They served as a visual checklist to make sure all of the necessary elements where not only included, but worked well together. Then it turned into a way for me to systematically read and study scripture. I made one for doing basic level bible study as well.

Then I started my first sermon worksheet, which evolves every few months. I wrote a blog post on it here and share the most recent version.

I have around 15-20 worksheets I can use for many different projects. The latest was a package I put together for the productive pastor email list. You can get that one here as well.

So how do I make worksheets?

The larger question is what do I need to make worksheets for?

If I find myself doing something more than a few times and it either requires a visual layout or linear progression, it usually could benefit from a worksheet.

I start off making some sketches in my notebook and trying things out. This way I can find out what needs to be included, what needs more or less space and what the progression might be. I will do this over the space of 4-5 instances of use (could be daily, weekly or monthly). This refinement stage is one of the most important.

I am working on a S.M.A.R.T goal worksheet. Here is one of my beta versions.

I am working on a S.M.A.R.T goal worksheet. Here is one of my beta versions.

I use Apple Pages for all of my word processing. It has some pretty boss layout options so I settled years ago into a standard “grey box” format.

I will make a few different ones and use them for the same project. That way I can tell how I am using the data across different points. If something doesn’t work out well I mark a big red X through it. After I am done with the project I can look at how the worksheet worked and didn’t work. I then go back into pages and make a final version.

Finally, I print off a big stack. I keep a surplus of blank worksheets in my office. I find this helps them be a much better productivity tool. If you are having to print 1 out at a time it can be a drag.

I hope this encouraged you to think about using worksheets as well as got your creative juices flowing about making your own.