How can we organize and maximize the time given us as leaders, pastors, and believers?
Every day is a gift of 86,400 seconds. At midnight, whatever you failed to use is lost. A balance is not carried over to the next day and you’re not allowed overdrafts. Each day the bank named Time opens a new account with you. All of us have to perfect the stewardship of time in order to fulfill God’s vision for our lives. Paul told us to redeem the time for the days are evil. Jesus did more with the time allotted him than anyone who ever lived. His public ministry only lasted a few more than 1000 days. Yet, He changed the world forever through His life, His death, and His resurrection.
Divide and devote your time carefully using my 15/21 principle. I have study time, staff meetings, counseling appointments, mission trips, convention responsibilities, writing, video shoots, planning, communicating with church members, weddings, funerals, school functions, committee meetings, and community functions that overwhelm my calendar. I struggled to balance all of these things. I had to conceive a plan to divide my time and devote my energy to what was priority. I break my week into 21 parts. Each day has three distinct parts: morning (7:00 – noon), afternoon (noon – 5:00), and evening (5:00 – 10:00). There are seven days in a week which equals 21 parts. I’ll work 15 of the 21 parts each week. The other 6 parts of the week, I do not work but spend time with family or in some sort of recreation. So it may look something like this: All three parts on Sunday, two parts on Monday, two parts on Tuesday, all three parts on Wednesday, two parts on Thursday, nothing on Friday, and two parts on Saturday. I work to devote my 15 parts to my ministry and maximize the results from that time
Do Not Leave Out Your Family. I try to maximize the family time. If I were away for four days then I would store the family time and try to make it up upon my return. Linda and I would plan something special to do when I got home with the boys. As a father, I sought to be with my kids during two of the four big moments of everyday. The four most important times of the day for kids is when they get up, come home from school, eat dinner, and go to bed. Therefore, if I had a full afternoon and evening, I would get the kids ready in the morning and try to make it home to tuck them in bed. I may also run home for dinner before the long committee meeting or community function.
Make your time focused and efficient. My brain and heart seems to work so much better before lunch. Therefore, I study, write, and focus best on planning and directing before lunch. Counseling, appointments, meetings, and staff responsibilities come after lunch generally because I find it easier to be energized with people. Plan for your meetings and have an agenda. Long meetings rarely produce good results. Get to the point in your meetings. If you are the manager or the leader, then work with people who help you be efficient. Do not simply donate your time to the one who wants your attention or who wants to be “in the know.” Find strategic places to give time to your staff and other leaders. Focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking actually is inefficient. Like an athlete developing one muscle at a time, give your whole focus to doing one thing well at a time.
If you are not the leader, then you can still arrange your time using the 21 parts method. Find out your time requirements for work and arrange your other time in a strategic way. You may be a school teacher, food service worker, or government employee. You may also work a second job and still work 15 of the 21 parts with both jobs combined. I recommend that you try to set aside one full day as a day of rest. For me, I try to make Friday my rest day.
In ministry, I suggest that you make time with the Father and time with the few your priority. Jesus never even met with Herod until His trial though the powerful leader wanted to meet Jesus. Jesus did not please the multitude but often left them for the next city. Jesus spent time with the Father and poured His life into the few. Delegate to others that which they can do. Train others to do the things that they can do.
Manage your time and God will magnify your time into a life that makes a difference in the world and causes Him joy.