I’m busy. I bet you are, too. But are you effective?
Anyone that is involved in ministry for any length of time knows how easy it can be work to long hours. It’s a common joke in the church: “I’m a part time youth ministry coordinator working full time hours.”
It’s true for any ministry title, regardless of whether you are full or part time. “I’m a full time director of religious education and I work 60-80 hours a week.”
Eventually, we hit a point where we cannot add any more events, programs, or tasks to our schedule. After all, we need time with our family, time to sleep, and time to eat.
It’s at that point that you must evaluate how you use your time and see if there is a way you can work smarter, not harder. Within your roughly 8 hour work-day schedule, I guarantee that there is at least 1 hour of “wasted” time that can be used more effectively.
I’m not actually suggesting that it is “wasted,” per se. I’m merely stating that with a few effective and time saving moves, you can free up at least one hour of your workday to grow your ministry. Here are 3 tactics that, if you are not already doing, will free up one hour each day.
I think planning out your day is essential. The night before, spend 10 minutes looking at the next day for your ministry. Add items that are on your task list to your calendar giving them enough time to complete the task. Schedule preparation time for your meetings, and even schedule your lunch.
When you arrive to your office the next day, you know exactly what needs to get done and you start working right away without wasting a beat. If you’re new to scheduling your day like this, only schedule about 70% of your day to allow for interruptions and needed changes. If you want to learn more about this, read my previous posts on the subject.
- Check emails twice a day
Admittedly, I’m horrible at this. I’m a little compulsive about email. So I’ve got some work to do. If I schedule 30 minutes at the beginning of the day and 30 minutes at the end of the day to check and respond to emails, I will find that is more than enough time to go through all my emails. But the really benefit is not being distracted by every email that comes into my inbox.
When I’m working on a task or project, I get in the zone. The moment an email “dings” at me, I get distracted because I find myself wanting to check that email. Once I’m distracted, it takes me time to get back in the zone on whatever task I was working on. The only solution is to actually close my email program, or hide it and turn off the notification so that I can focus.
- Turn off text messaging
I’m actually not a big texter, but it seems like everyone else is. In fact, texting is not an effective way to communicate with me. Email gets a faster response from me.
The benefit and challenge of texts is that they are immediate. Most of us read and respond to a text the moment we get it. Which means, just like email, we get distracted from whatever we are working on. Simple solution: turn it off when you are trying to focus on something. That text will still be there when you finish your project or task.
Question: What other tactics do you employ to work smarter and not harder?