Are You Busy or Disciplined?

“Most of us lead busy but undisciplined lives. We have ever-expanding ‘to do’ lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing – and doing more. And it rarely works. Those who build the good-to-great companies, however, made as much use of ‘stop doing’ lists as ‘to do’ lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.” –Jim Collins

I take personal offense to this quote. Why? Because it describes me perfectly!

I like to be on the move. I’m a doer. I take action. In fact, my wife accused me of stressing her out when at home one weekend. While we should have been relaxing and enjoying our time together, I wanted to try and take care of this, that and, oh yeah, that too!

She busted me in only a way a spouse could. And she was right.

I bring that same attitude to my ministry. I sometimes think to myself, “As long as I’m doing something, anything, then my ministry will be a success.”

Well, after years of being busy, do I have the success I was looking for?

Yes and no.

Yes in the sense that I have moved the ministry forward in innovative and exciting ways. No in the sense that I know I could have been much further along if I was more disciplined.

Daily, I keep doing things that aren’t helpful in moving my ministry forward. Yet, I’m strangely addicted to these tasks, even though I have labeled them as not helpful.

Why? Because I’d rather be busy than disciplined.

Yet, in the end, it is discipline that matters more than being busy.

Here are some tasks that I find “I’m too busy to do,” but I need to discipline myself to do.

  • Reflect/think everyday on how to create a more effective and dynamic ministry. I‘m not talking about 1 to 2 hours. I’m talking about 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Coach and mentor my team.

  • Connect more regularly with key constituents, like priests and donors.
  • Develop and implement a better communication and marketing strategy.

These are just a few that I have not been disciplined enough to do more intentionally. These are the items that Stephen Covey would say are important, but not urgent.

It’s been said that good is the enemy of great. I’d like to add a related phrase:

Busy is the enemy of discipline.

Question: What tasks do you have to be more disciplined to do?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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