Notes from How to Balance a Busy Schedule

Mike St. Pierre over at The Daily Saint posted about Success is the Management of Ideas, and linked to a podcast by Pastor Rick Warren on How to Balance a Busy Schedule.

The podcast is an hour long conversation between pastors Rick Warren, Brad Powell, Jud Wilhite, and Bil Cornelius about how to successfully manage your time in ministry. There are a lot of gems in this podcast, even for those that are not in the ministry at all. Just like the rest of us, pastors face the same struggles with making time for the most important things in life. Here are a few that I found particularly noteworthy.

  • There are times to do anything. If you do them at the right time, they are incredibly successful, but if you do them at the wrong time, you fall flat on your face.
  • You must dedicate time to work on particular items, or else interruptions will slow down the work that needs to be done. Taking steps to avoid interruptions is part of being a leader.
  • We have to limit our commitments–overcommitment makes us ineffective.
  • Busy does not equal important. “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.”
  • What’s prior is not priority. What was put on the calendar prior is not necessarily priority.
  • We need to make a “not to do list”, and not be afraid to stop doing things that aren’t working or that are holding us back from growth. You can’t add on without taking something off.
  • Keep a time log.
  • Group similar tasks together.
  • Technology and email is our servant–don’t make it our master.
  • As a leader, we need to realize that we are always going to displease someone–don’t try to displease everyone.
  • Success is the management of ideas. We need a system for collecting and managing the ideas that we get.
  • The greatest use of time is love. The greatest expression of love is time. The greatest time to love is now. Relationships should be at the top of our task list.
  • Just like we occasionally need to splurge financially and buy things that we enjoy, we also need to splurge with our time and do some things we just enjoy.
  • There is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Learn to use “loose change” time–those little unexpected pockets of time that are usually wasted.
  • The goal of time management isn’t to get more done, but to get the things done that God has called us to do. We need to lighten up our attitude towards time management. Most of the stress in our schedule is self-imposed. We have just enough time to do God’s will. If we can’t get it all done, then it means that we’re trying to do some things that God never intended me to do in the first place, or that we’re doing the right thing in the wrong way. God doesn’t expect more of us than he gives us time to do. If we’re stressed out about getting it all done, then we’re on some kind of ego trip and there is a pride issue that we want to do more than God intends for us to do.
  • Jesus modeled “relaxed concern.” It isn’t recorded that he ever ran or got in a hurry, but lived in a relaxed manner, put people and relationships first, and had a very effective ministry. He started by saying, “I must be about my Father’s business.” He ended by saying, “It is finished.”

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