The below excerpt is from my book The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Managing the Stress of Ministry.
Most people are creatures of habit. We do the same things, at the same times, on a regular basis. That’s fine, but that means a lot of people do identical things at the same times. They go to the bank at the same time. They go to the movies at certain times.
When large numbers of people decide to do something all at once, it means one thing: waiting. Waiting for a table. Waiting in traffic. Waiting equals wasted time, and wasted time equals stress. For years, I (Nelson) have encouraged my coaching clients to live 0ff-peak.
The main idea of living off-peak is simple: Do things when everyone else is doing something else. Eat an hour before or after the dinner rush. Avoid the bank on Friday afternoon. When you live off-peak, you will find you are waiting far less and using your time much more wisely. That means a lower stress level.
Pastors are in a unique position to live off-peak compared to people in other vocations. Even though we work long, hard hours, our schedules have some flexibility. We can use that flexibility to our advantage and do things at times when others aren’t able to. Look for opportunities to use this to your benefit.
Living off-peak is a great way to maximize your use of time! Here are some helpful tips to remember:
- Remember that different areas have different peaks. Urban areas have one set of times when the restaurants are busy, while rural areas have another. Resort towns have a whole different set of rules they live by. Take the time to figure out the peak times in your area so that you can avoid them at all costs.
- Combine off-peak errands whenever possible. You can plan to go to the bank and do your grocery shopping all in the same trip. Pick up your dry cleaning on the way out to dinner. When you are able to combine trips, you are not only saving time, you will save money on gas and mileage on your car also. That should result in a lower stress level for you.
- Automate whenever possible and avoid going out altogether. A lot of activities can be automated now. You can handle many activities on your phone and skip going out completely. You can automate your banking chores and never go to a bank or credit union. In many areas, you can get your groceries delivered to your door. Tip: Sometimes automating an activity might mean paying a bit more for it. Consider the time savings that you achieve by automating and decide if the extra expense is worth it.
- Look for off-peak discounts. Businesses love people who come at off-peak Horus. It means they are getting money at times when they wouldn’t normally have business. Use this to your advantage. Find businesses that offer discounts for customers who use them at off-peak hours. For example, many restaurants offer special dinner discounts for people who dine earlier in the evening. You likely won’t have to wait when you go out early, and you get the added benefit of saving some of your hard-earned money. Talk about a stress reliever!
Many average pastors won’t think of changing their schedules to live off-peak. But you are not an average pastor. As a renegade, you are willing to do the unusual to get unusual results. Living off-peak is a great way to make the most of your money and time. And when you use your money and time wisely, you are managing your stress well.
– Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman
The above excerpt is from p. 49-50 of The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Managing the Stress of Ministry.
Pastors Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman share their secrets to effective stress management with practical steps and insights that you can start implementing immediately! God wants you to be a fruitful, faithful minister of the gospel. He wants you, as a Renegade Pastor, to rise above average as you pursue God’s best for you, your family, and your ministry.
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