How to Keep Things from Falling Through The Cracks

Why can’t we get anything done?”  “Who’s responsible for that?”  “How long have we been talking about that?”

In our elders-preachers meetings, we found we were letting things “fall through the cracks.”

It was 1985.  I bought my first computer.  I read an idea in The Insight System for Planning Your Time and Your Life, by Charles R. Hobbs © 1983 Copyright The Charles R. Hobbs Corporation.  I agreed to be the keeper of the Grass Catcher.

We kept minutes and read them.  However, we noticed something would be discussed, recorded, read the next meeting, and then forgotten.

What could we do to keep up with ongoing tasks?  The Grass Catcher was helpful.  When something was introduced and the elders wanted to continue thinking or working on it, I immediately entered it into the Grass Catcher list.

We entered the:

  1. Date recorded.
  2. Item.
  3. Person responsible.

The Grass Catcher was an item on the agenda at each meeting.  Grass Catcher list from Central Church of Christ, in Dalton, Georgia.

Did that solve everything and were all projects completed on time?  No.  There were times when someone would get irritated:  “Why do you keep bringing that up.”  My response:  “When you no longer want to consider this and remove it from the Grass Catcher list, I won’t mention it again.  Would you like to remove it?”.

The Grass Catcher keeps a record of everything on the table.  It has the date when it was first discussed.  The person or persons responsible are on record.  When the item is completed, it is moved to a Finished List and no longer has to be discussed.  The hard part is when items haven’t been finished and little or no progress has been made.  What are we going to do about items that have been there for months with little or no action?  It provides the opportunity to answer some important questions:

  1. If this has been on the list for six months with no movement, is it really important?
  2. Will we hold each other accountable for doing what we agreed to do?
  3. Is feeling comfortable more important than completing things that will advance the kingdom?
  4. Can we agree to quit things that are not important?

The Grass Catcher is a good tool to keep a record of everything on the table so things don’t fall through the cracks.  It doesn’t make people do anything.  It doesn’t remove the fear of confrontation.

The Grass Catcher is a good reminder:  If a way of operating is chronic, it’s because everybody likes it the way it is more than the thought of the pain it would take to change it.

I’ve found the Grass Catcher helpful in the church and in business to improve my memory of what we discussed, delete unimportant items, and a record to celebrate completed projects.

Thanks to David Goodman from Selmer, Tennessee, for suggesting the topic for this post.

[tweetthis]Can we agree to quit things that aren’t important? — Jerrie Barber[/tweetthis]

How do you keep from forgetting things your group is working on?

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

2 Responses to “How to Keep Things from Falling Through The Cracks

  • Jay Wilkins
    7 years ago

    On meeting notes, I draw a small box in the left margin by any item requiring action or follow-up. Once completed, I put a check mark in the box. I can easily go back through notes and find things still needing action. I note action in brackets such as [visited bro A on 6/15/15]. This distinguishes between what was said at meetings and what happened outside the meeting.

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing that. That is a way to add information to meeting notes that others need to know.

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