4. Learn “Time Blocking”.  How does this work? This involves grouping your day’s/week’s activities into set times. Again, the planning that seems to TAKE time actually saves you time. We women are usually great at multi-tasking, but when it comes to big projects and important kid’s messages, multi-tasking isn’t always the greatest way to go about it. I much prefer “grouping” to multi-tasking.  For example, I try to schedule all of my hospital visitation and home visitations on the same day if possible. Every day, I write out all of my phone calls that I need to make (sometimes that is a pretty extensive list …..lol), and then I block out time just to call down that list start to finish. I do all my emails at the same time, first thing in the morning. I send all my weekly mail out at the same time block each week. Many successful lead pastors I know will block out sections of time for prayer, study and sermon preparation.  I know that my best writing time for books, articles, curriculum, messages etc is in the evening after the kids go to bed.  I just write better at night without distractions. This way of “time blocking” and “grouping” is far more effective and efficient than the “shot gun scatter” way of time management that I used to use 🙂

5. You must schedule your family time and recreation time just as zealously as you do your ministry.  I know some people have separate calendars for work and home, but I suggest that you keep ONE schedule for both.  If you’ve chosen priorities WELL, then you can see that work should not harm your marriage or family or health or relationship with Jesus.  And none of those will just “happen”. So you must INTENTIONALLY schedule your date nights with your spouse, your vacations (and work backwards planning those), time with your children, and time to exercise, have hobbies etc.  It sounds impossible, but it isn’t. It just takes a lot of hard work.  But it’s worth it! If your family and you are not healthy, your ministry won’t be either.

6. Decide what you are going to QUIT. Yes, you heard me correctly. We all have heard the myth about having it “all”. But doing too much, means doing a lot of things….poorly.  Like spreading not enough butter over far far too much bread. It is time to prayerfully consider which few things you, and your ministry will focus on, and excel it, and which things you are going to have to let go. If you are like me, you are going to have a really really hard time letting things go.  Especially when they are things you are good at.  Many of my college scholarships were in music.  I LOVE singing and playing instruments and leading kid’s worship.  But when my young intern came on full time as elementary director, she expressed a desire to lead a live worship team for kid’s church. I had to face the fact, that though I enjoyed leading kid’s worship, I could not take on another two nights a week of rehearsals, and another team to lead.  It was so difficult, but I had to let it go. And it was the best decision for my family, my own health, and…..for the kid’s ministry.  She took that worship team on to places that I simply couldn’t with my time restraints. And the ministry grew and grew. What are you doing right now- write it out.  List each and every thing you are doing every day, week and month.  Which of those things can ONLY YOU do? Circle those. Are you sure? Everything else that is left needs to be given to others that God brings alongside you and that YOU are training up. Right next to those goals for this year, you NEED to write the three to four things you are going to STOP doing. I’m serious.  It could be the best thing for you and your ministry.

7. You are going to need to build a GREAT team. Lone rangers end up with shoddy work, short term ministry and a fatal case of burnout. Too many ministers make the mistake of thinking they must be GREAT at everything- when in reality our true goal must be empowering others to reach higher and higher in THEIR giftings and ministry. Who are you training and raising right now? I highly advise you having a parent advisory board that you meet with regularly. AND you should be setting up leaders over every single area that you possibly can- Wednesday nights, small groups, ministry teams, altar teams etc. This means moving your focus from DOING to TRAINING.  You will need to help others discover their giftings and how to use them well.  This will mean…..allowing for people to make mistakes. And accepting that others may NOT do things the way you would have. And sometimes that is OK- even BETTER than you overstretched for time.

Remember- time management is a process. You hopefully get better and better at it. And remember also that life is all about SEASONS- as Scripture says, there is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven. You aren’t meant to do everything right now. You don’t go for a picnic in February usually, and you don’t plant your flower garden in November. Seasons and pacing can change your whole outlook.  Keep trying! So please tell us- what are YOUR best tips for time saving?? I’m always exciting to get better at it…..Trisha