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How do you know your time is well spent?

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As Peter Drucker, a favorite teacher of mine, with whom I have interacted only a few times, said about time well spent: “There is nothing so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”

It’s amazing how much good leadership depends on good time management. There are always many, many possible cases and many demands on the time of ministry leaders. However, we all have to make decisions about how to best use our time during a given period of ministry. There is certainly time to put out fires, deal with crises, or take on difficult tasks, but if we spend most of our time doing so, we have no opportunity for long-term planning for the ministry’s growth and health—or our own growth and health.

Deciding how to spend your time

It’s a matter of choice and priorities. Each leader may make somewhat different choices based on his or her gifts, best contributions, and period of life and ministry. Here are some questions to help you determine the best use of your time:

  • What will matter most?
  • Who else can do ____________?
  • What can be stopped so that no one notices?
  • Will performing _________ contribute to the overall mission most effectively?
  • What do you feel about the Holy Spirit?

Evaluate how you use your time

Start by taking inventory of how you spend your time. During the week, write down at the end of each day how much time you spent on different activities. Write it down and then rate it at the end of the week. Think you’re too busy to follow? There are programs to help! We recommend the free basic plan Switch.

  • Where does your time go?
  • What surprises you?
  • To what extent is your time spent aligned with your priorities?
  • What might need to be adjusted?

Talk to a friend or coach about how you can make changes to use your time better. Then meet with them periodically for accountability.

Re-evaluate periodically

Also consider that you will need to make changes and adjustments as you go. The best and most efficient use of your time may look very different now than it did five years ago…or five years from now.

Strategies for making the most of your time

  • Record how you spend your time.
  • Rate this entry for priority.
  • Evaluate this record to effectively achieve your goals.
  • Make the necessary adjustments.
  • Be intentional about how you spend your time.
  • Be accountable to someone else about how you spend your time.

Prioritize

However you choose to use your time, be intentional. You want to spend more time on things that are more important and that bring you closer to your goals.

As a ministry leader, you must maintain your family relationships, health, spiritual life, and ministry work so that your pace of life is sustainable and effective over time. A big part of this is managing your time properly and making sure you spend it in line with your priorities. Let the way you manage your time reflect the reality of your true priorities.

There is a time for everything and a time under heaven for every activity. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Resources

Making sure your time is well spent can mean the difference between success and mediocrity, both in your career and in your life outside of work. Imagine the difference being able to accomplish more with less stress can make! If you’re ready to get serious, we highly recommend the following resources:

Time Management Profile: This competency-based questionnaire was designed to help you better understand your relative skills or abilities in seven categories that contribute to effective time management. This will help you identify where you could make changes to improve your ability to manage your time effectively.

Time Management Skills Builder: Managing our personal time to get the most out of our workday – and indeed our life – involves using the minutes in each day as efficiently as possible. This booklet will help you with that.

Time Management Guide and Storyboard: A fantastic resource for coaches looking to help their clients with time management.

An undivided heart

An undivided heart is not something you can force on yourself or others, and this book, Undivided Heart: Living and Loving Like Jesus is not a manual with step-by-step procedures. It is a journey unique to you that begins with your unique relationship with Jesus. Living with an undivided heart will naturally lead to living an undivided life. Cultivating the heart flows into action.

Order now and read on your own or with a small group. Available in paperback and Kindle.

Author’s photo Ben White on Unsplash

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