To be effective as a leader you must adopt the practice of scheduling your day before it begins. It’s just that simple–and this is one of the best approaches to managing your time well. Planning each day will take just a few minutes but will make you exponentially more productive.
How do renegade pastors plan ahead (whether they do so every morning or even the night before)? Here are a few tips for scheduling your day for maximum effectiveness:
- Plan according to your values. Make sure you spend time every day investing in what’s most important rather than what’s most urgent. Those are the things that will lead not only to increased effectiveness but also to more peace and satisfaction.
- Be realistic about how much time you will need to complete every task. Many pastors think they can do things faster than they actually can. That leads to being constantly behind schedule. Renegade pastors are realistic about what they are able to do and plan accordingly.
- Plan specific times for checking email. It is easy to become a slave to your inbox, checking your email every few minutes. Instead, designate a specific time or times throughout the day when you will check and answer email. You can let people know that they should not expect an immediate response from you, even though you are diligent to respond promptly.
- Plan your devotional time. What you don’t schedule often doesn’t get done. So be sure to schedule your time alone with God. It may not seem very spiritual to put this on your calendar, but what better way to show that you are serious about spending time with your heavenly Father than to make a daily appointment and stick with it?
- Schedule according to your body’s natural circadian rhythms. Some people have more energy and a clearer head early in the morning, while others don’t feel human until after lunch. Whenever possible, work with the way you are wired. Plan your most important and most taxing activities for the time periods when you are most likely to be at your best. Plan more menial tasks for time blocks when you are likely to have less energy to give.
- Set deadlines. Nearly everything you do should have a deadline for completion. That includes meetings, sermon preparation, and most other matters that come across your desk. Deadlines act as catalysts for accomplishment. When you don’t set them, tasks tend to drag on longer than they should.
- Plan your daily exit. Your family is even more important than your work as a pastor. Plan when you are going to go home–and stick to the plan. Don’t rob your family of precious, important time with you by staying at the office too late.
- Plan blocks of personal time. People are our most important priority. But they can also be tremendous time-wasters. Average pastors have an open-door policy for anyone who wants to drop in and talk. Renegade pastors have scheduled times when they are available and other times when they are not. Plan and use blocks of personal time for your most intense work, for things that demand your complete concentration.
When you plan according to these guidelines, you will more productive. You will also experience greater peace of mind because you will know what you are supposed to be doing at any given moment and have a good idea of what’s coming next.
The above excerpt is from pgs. 78-80 of The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Time Management.
Time is your most important God-given resource no matter how hard you work, you can’t make a day last longer than twenty-four hours. By mastering a set of proven time-management principles, you can regain control of your life. It is possible to manage your time so that you can stay on top of the never-ending demands of being a pastor, nurture your congregation, spend quality time with your family, and take care of your physical and emotional needs. Become the pastor God has called you to be.
Your partner in ministry,
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