Email like you could be hacked

texting

A recent hack has left Sony Pictures Entertainment scrambling to apologize after emails were leaked. In these emails, executives trashed actors and made racially insensitive jokes about President Obama. Now, they’re left trying to backpedal and explain and apologize to everyone they discussed.

It’s not the first hacking scandal (think of many pictures of celebrities that were hacked from a cloud storage a while ago) and it won’t be the last. You’d think that leaders on that level would learn to be more careful, but evidently not.

Yet there’s a bigger picture here. If these emails had never been made public, the remarks about for instance the president would still not have been okay. They would have still been racially insensitive—and I’m using a much more politically correct expression here than they deserve. [Read more…]

The 10 TED Talks every youth leader should watch (1)

I love TED talks. They’re often inspiring, challenging and it’s a quick and easy way to get fresh perspectives and new ideas.

For youth leaders, TED talks are a brilliant resource. I’ve truly learned a lot by watching a few talks each month and in this post, I want to share my favorites with you. Here are the 10 TED talks that every youth leader should watch:

1. Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

This is the ultimate TED talk in my opinion. It’s brilliant, it’s funny, it’s personal and it will completely change your perspective and paradigm. Literally life changing.

[Read more…]

Visualize your priorities with red, yellow and green

Traffic light for bikes.

Prioritizing is of crucial importance, especially when your to do list is overflowing, as most of ours are. We’ve discussed several methods of prioritizing so far:

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to come up with a way to visualize your priorities, so you can see at once which tasks have priorities and which don’t. Again, there are several ways to do this:

  • Put the high priority tasks at the top of your list
  • Categorize by A (high priority), B (medium priority) or C (low priority)
  • Use an app like Evernote to separate high, medium and low priority tasks

[Read more…]

Setting priorities with the INO System

family

You can’t do it all. You know that deep down, but still you try. We all do. As youth workers, our to do list is often unending and things we cross off at the top, are being replaced just as quickly at the bottom.

That means we have to choose what we do. We have to set priorities and work according to these.

We’ve talked about two ways of defining priorities before: the 80/20 rule and Covey’s time management matrix. But on the Harvard Business Review Blog, I came across another method that you can use to decide how much time to invest in something: the INO system. [Read more…]

How the Zeigarnik Effect can help you battle procrastination

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We all have those tasks on our to do list that we just can set ourselves to do. Sometimes it’s because we don’t like doing this (for me, making phone calls is a biggie since for some reason I really dislike calling people), sometimes it’s because the task is so big we just don’t know where to start or it may be that we wonder how we’re ever going to finish it.

Whatever the task is that you dread doing, chances are it will results in big time procrastination. So how do you get yourself to do the things you dread, especially if they are bigger tasks that require more time?

The solution is as simple as can be: just start. If you just take that first step, the rest won’t be as hard.

Believe me, I realize how stupid this sounds, but hear me out. In psychology, there’s a phenomenon known as the Zeigarnik effect, named after psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik who first studied it. She noticed that a waiter had better recollections of still unpaid orders and did further research. The Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.

It seems that as humans, we are designed for closure, we have a built-in desire to finish what we have started. If we don’t finish a task we’ve started, we experience dissonance and we keep thinking about that task.

[Read more…]

Your greatest path of influence with teens

love

As youth workers, we are striving to make an impact on the life of teens. Ultimately, out goal is to make them into devoted followers of Jesus. But how do we get them there?

Programs?

Bible studies?

Sermons?

Discipleship?

Small groups?

I think these all have their place. But sometimes we focus so much on these, that we forget our greatest path of influence with teens: love. Unconditional, selfless, Christ-like love. [Read more…]

Get more done with Gene Schwartz’ 33 minutes rule

hour glass

For the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a productivity tip called Gene Schwartz’ 33 minutes rule. It’s a ‘system’ designed by famous copywriter Eugene Schwartz that allowed him to write many books, successful ads and much more in just 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. So I gave this rule a test drive and I have to say the results have been far better than I expected: I’ve worked more focused and gotten more work done in less time.

Intrigued?

[Read more…]

Stress management in youth ministry

stress

This is the fourth and last post in a short series in dealing with stress in youth ministry. We’ve been talking about the stress that is youth ministry and why youth ministry may even be extra stressful compared to other jobs. In the last post we’ve discussed how you can acknowledge, recognize and identify the stress in your life and youth ministry. This brings us to the fourth step: preventing stress.

Let me start with the bad news: you’ll never completely eliminate stress from your youth ministry job, whether you’re a volunteer or on staff. Working in a church, working with people and especially young people will always result in some amount of stress. But there are things you can do to keep the stress level acceptable and healthy.

[Read more…]

Preventing stress in youth ministry

stressed man

We’ve been talking about the stress that is youth ministry and why youth ministry may even be extra stressful compared to other jobs. So to summarize: youth ministry is stressful, even more than other jobs. The question that needs an answer is then what we can do about it. Is preventing stress in youth ministry even an option and if so, how do we go about achieving that?

Step 1: Acknowledging stress

Preventing stress in youth ministry isn’t an easy-breezy thing to do. It starts with taking stress seriously and not just saying or thinking that stress is normal or that it’s just part of your job. Yes, a certain amount of stress is normal in youth ministry, but not to the point where it affects your health or makes you consider quitting. So acknowledge what you feel isn’t normal and go from there.

[Read more…]

The power of shame: I’m saying ‘me too’

shame

If you have never heard of Brene Brown, you’re missing out. Brene Brown is ‘Vulnerability TED’ as she says herself, a worldwide ‘celebrity’ after her famous TED talk on vulnerability I blogged about before. It’s a talk that has had a lot of impact on me as well, which was why I was very motivated to watch a new TED talk from Brene Brown, this time on shame.

Now shame and vulnerability aren’t topics that appeal to a lot of us at first glance. But what Brene Brown has to say is important and it has consequences for how we do youth ministry as well.

In youth ministry, I think we’re at a cross point, a point where we have to choose a new direction, a new way of doing things. But deciding on a new way of doing youth ministry involves risk, innovation, change…and none of these happen without vulnerability and every single one will make you face shame.

[Read more…]