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Another Thanksgiving has past us. It’s feels like the Autumn is just flying by us in a hurry. Maybe this is all a part of getting older and maybe it’s the crazy pace of the holidays. I remember when I was in high school thinking that the days felt like weeks and the weeks felt like months. Today it feels like days are more like minutes. When time flies by it feels almost impossible to get anything done.
There are going to be seasons in your youth ministry when you wonder, “Where has all the time gone?” Maybe that moment comes when you encounter a former student from your ministry who is now out of college. And then again some of you are fully aware of how time flies by because you have to have that message ready in an hour. Time can be a friend and it can be a foe. If not managed wisely, it will lead you to frustration and disappointment. To make sure you and time are not at each others throats, it’s important to know how to manage it wisely. To do that you need to make sure you are consistently:
- Planning: In the end it doesn’t matter if you use your outlook calendar or the calendar on your wall, you need to plan out both your personal and professional schedule. As much as you try to compartmentalize your life, there will be times one area bleeds into another. A calendar allows you to observe those times to put you back on the right path. If you aren’t aware of what is happening at work or what needs to go on at home, you’ll find yourself constantly scrambling back and forth. Lay out your time on a calendar and keep it near.
- Prioritizing: If you want to maximize your time you need to know how to prioritize it. That means developing a habit of seeing what’s on your calendar and determining what’s important versus what’s urgent. A great resource that discusses this is Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen. In the book he talks about prioritizing tasks, responsibilities and ideas into three categories: Action Steps, Back Burner and Reference. Whether you create folders on your desktop or in your filing cabinet, create a system and ask individuals to hold you accountable.
- Preparing: Many reasons for why time is wasted is because you aren’t prepared. When you paint a room in your house the more prep work (i.e. sanding and spackling) you put into the project, the smoother the painting process is itself. Preparation for a message or an event isn’t the most attractive part of your job, and that’s why it’s easy to skip. If you skip through the preparation, you’ll find your time interrupted by the mistakes that need correction.
- Praying: When you engage your prayer life you give your schedule over to God. The reason you will get the impossible done is because you put it into God’s hands. When life becomes busy it is easy for us to neglect some of our healthiest habits, don’t let prayer be one. Make sure it’s the first thing you do and the last thing you do. Allow God to control your path.
While you can’t slow down time, you can manage it by allowing God to lead you. Write out what it is you do and include others in to hold you accountable. When you manage your time well, you manage your productivity and how far your ministry will go.
What time management skills or talents do you have?