Whether you lead a small church or a large church, as a church leader time is the biggest commodity you have. On my busiest days my breath prayer is always the same, “Lord you have given me 24 hours in this day. Help me know what you want me to do and what I should lay aside.”
Literally, God knows what has to be accomplished.
1. Seek God’s guidance with your day. Maybe God has plans other than your own.
2. If you have not taken two weeks to literally plot where you time goes, please do so. Use a spread sheet and mark out what happens to all your time. Asses this use with a friend, a mentor or your SPRC chair. Is this what you want to be doing with your time? Do you get on facebook and suddenly see that an hour has disappeared? Has television become your nemesis?
3. Decide where you SHOULD be spending your time. See what can get cut out, and what needs to be beefed up. For example, I know some pastors who spend all day with congregants who are experiencing serious surgery. We need to do pastor care, but there are others who can spend all day. Is that the best use of your time? What about meeting new people in the community? Do you have at least 5 hours a week set aside to meet those in the community? We cannot reach new people in the community if we are not out meeting them.
4. How do you handle new things that come across your desk? One management technique is if it takes under 5 minutes, take care of it right away. If it is a bigger project, then put it on your schedule for a time to take care of it. Make sure you let the sender know the time period in which it will be taken care of.
5. At your most pressing moments, what gets cheated? There are some things that I will not allow to get cheated no matter what happens in my day. Those items set in stone for me are my family, my sermon preparation and my sleep. Choose ahead of time what you will allow to get cheated and what is set in stone. This will help you manage your time as opposed to your time managing you.
In all these things I can tell when I am most stressed as my “white space” the time that is breathing room gets worn away. That is when I know I need to regroup, I need to sit back and rethink how my time is being managed and organized.
How about you? What tricks have you learned that help you in your time management?