You don’t have a time management issue, you have a focus issue.
It was about a month or two ago, that I made that statement to a Pastor. He was telling me how challenging ministry had become, how busy he was. He didn’t have enough money for staff – and so he was doing everything himself.
He was the receptionist, engineer, accountant, counselor, human resource, care coordinator, and Senior pastor. And I forgot to mention, he’s a son, husband and dad.
That’s a lot for one person. And for some reason we believe it’s God’s will for us to carry all of these responsibilities.
My Yoke is Easy
We have a tendency of taking on more than God has asked us to. He has not called us to be yes men (or women), saying yes to every need.
You must focus on the important, and have others handle the urgent. Charles Hummel, author of ‘Tyranny of the Urgent’, said “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.”
To quote Jackie Chan in the Karate Kid, “your focus needs more focus.”
So let’s begin by acknowledging that we are not God.
In his book integrity, Henry Cloud states that people who want to do everything, and be everywhere have a God complex. They believe they are omnipotent and omniscient. They choose to ignore their limitations.
These are limitations God has place in your life for your safety. When you lack focus, you run the risk of burnout, overlooking your family and providing inferior work.
So You Need Focus
Focus begins with answering the following questions:
- What must I stop doing? – create a list of items that either someone else can do, or does not need to get done at all.
- What must I start delegating? – this is a list of items that need to get done, just not by you.
- What do I enjoy doing? – create a list of ministry tasks that you enjoy doing, so when you have the opportunity you may get involved.
- What can I only do? – this is a list of items that only you can do, of course this is may differ from one role to the next. It’s also based on gifting and talents within your organization. You may have a gifting that is unique to your organization – so only you can do that task.
- What I must do – that makes the most impact on the organization? – now take the ‘What I can only do’ list and identify those tasks that are high impact. This concept is based on the ‘Pareto Principle’, where he states that 20% of the tasks I accomplish get me 80% of the results. So focus on the 20%. For my role as the Discipleship Pastor my high impact tasks are ministry team meetings, communicating to our small group leaders, setting expectations, creating the discipleship process, and overseeing the spiritual growth of the church. I counsel, but there are other deacons and Pastors whose counsel is more affective than mine.
Take the answers to the questions above and stop doing certain tasks, and start doing the tasks that have the most impact.
Focus also means prioritization. When looking to prioritize your tasks – make the tasks that has the most impact on your church the top priority. For example – if most people connect to your church through your Sunday service then make sure you make plenty of time for sermon prep.
So Who Does the Rest
The reason your busy is because there is so much that needs to get done and not enough time or people to get it done. So when you begin to focus on the most important, someone else has to get the other stuff done.
Here is a great tip – use a Virtual Assistant. I use a company called Fancy Hands for about $49 a month I get a virtual assistant who can handle about 25 tasks a month. Each task is about 20 minutes long.
So i’ll have them check my emails, check my voice mails, proof my emails or blogs. I’ll have them do data entry for me. Anything someone can get done via a computer and internet they can do.
I get a ton of work done without having to hire an admin or pay for medical benefits – which is great when your offerings are not high.
I also use Fiverr.com for design work at about $5 a design (yes, that is insane). I also use odesk.com for writers (and yes you can find Christian writers on ODesk.com), I recently paid $25 for a professional writer to help me write a 600 word blog.
Focus on the Important
So stop managing your time and start managing your focus.
Here is why this is so important – Growth is on it’s way.
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?” Jeremiah 12:5
If you are having a hard time managing a church of 70 people, what are you going to do when your church grows to 150. Now is the time to begin looking at solutions for how to focus on the important and let others accomplish the urgent.
I would love feedback from you, let me know what are some of the things you need to stop or start in order to accomplish the important.