by Glenda Maxted
Do you ever feel like you just can’t do it all? Yes, me too! That is because you can’t. You literally cannot do it all.
In order to keep from running ourselves into the ground we have to learn to prioritize our commitments and protect our priorities.
I first learned to do this from my parents (they called it common sense), but I later learned the professionals agree. I have collected data from 12 textbooks and the book Ordering Your Private World, so relax, I did the research for you.
Step One: Make a List of Your Commitments
My list is: my relationship with the Lord, myself (which includes stress management and hobbies), marriage, parenting, my friendships, my home, my community, my church (my commitments are in order of importance; you will notice church is my last commitment, I will be discussing this throughout).
It is easy to write what you want your commitments to be; you need to be real with yourself, examine your time, and truly write what your commitments are. Does anyone want to change or add to their list too!?!
Step Two: Make a List of What You Want to Do
Do you want to start a new hobby, have clean house, take time for yourself? Maybe you want to buy a penguin; maybe you want a weekly date night....Whatever you WANT to do write this on your second list.
Time management is an essential skill because without managing these two lists one of them will suffer and you will be in a constant state of frustration. Why?
Because if you don’t balance your time between the two lists, you will either be failing to keep up with your responsibilities or you will be frustrated because you never have fun.
Step Three: Make a List of Things that Steal Your Time
This is a hard list to make because we feel pulled to meet the needs of our family and church. But let me ask you something, do you truly feel pulled or are you confusing that with needing to have control? (I know OUCH). If it is a need of control, then at this point, ask the Lord to help you release control.
If the things that are stealing your time are a part of your commitments, then you have to evaluate: Am I in a season and need to remember that it will soon end?
This third list is the true test of my time management: If I haven’t learned to control list #3, it steals from list #1 and list #2. If you are not careful, great things on list #2 can become part of list #3. This is the core of time management: learning to make changes and adjustments.
In my own life, my husband and I do not survive if we live in a home that is messy and disorganized. We just do not function well. We have high stress levels and are frustrated if there is complete craziness and disorganization in our living quarters.
Because Ryan’s life of having to be at church and community settings has less flexibility than mine, it is my commitment to make our home a place of peace, rest, and security. There are times or seasons when I will forego church events because the need of the home environment has to take priority because the hubs is in a season of craziness and he needs that done for him.
I know that is not for everyone, but that is a commitment that is vital to us.
When church planting as full time bi-vocational individuals, there were many times when I, he, or both of us would say, “NO! I cannot do it all, and if no one else is going to step up, as a church, you will have to learn to go without.”
You want to know something? People may have barked at first, but they saw the boundary in our lives, and in return they evaluated their own lives and made changes.
How do I implement time management?
1. No! Learning to say no. Recognizing good things that are not at the right time or place. This is hard to do, but it is a must. You have to decide what is valuable to you (what are your commitments). 2. It requires evaluation and prioritization.
Prioritization: Where do you think society lives? High urgency/Low importance
These two equal stress. We have been programmed to live in the moment, care only for you, and not be concerned about consequences. It’s all about you.
Not understanding prioritization and time management means we have failed at low urgency/high importance.
I never pulled an all-nighter in college. Never. I never went to bed past 11 p.m. unless I was doing something from list #2. Papers were never late. Why? I understood low urgency high importance. I watched others functioning at high urgency/high importance, always on the go, no time for others, tired, busy, withpoor eating habits, and stressed. I did not, nor do I, want that.
What happens when you implement and function at a low urgency/high importance? You get to do List #2!!!!!
Why do you think you need to be trained in time management? Is time management necessary in the ministry? I have learned I will lose focus of time in the ministry if I don’t understand what list #1 is. Another way of saying commitments is priorities, goals, what do you value?
Ministry, home, and community will be pulling at you all the time. What you sow you will reap. Many of us are mothers. We are teaching our children time management all the time. They are constantly watching us. What are your actions teaching them about time?
If you want to have successful time management in the ministry start with list #1. The most public life you will ever live is your private life. What good will it do you to win the whole town but in the process you lose yourself, spouse, and/or child? Your ministry will be a direct reflection of your home and private life.
You may not agree with my commitments. That is okay; your list will be different from mine because we are all at different stages and seasons of life. God has blessed us with work, family, friends and ministries. If we work to manage the time God has given us, we will be able to appreciate those blessings.
Your Friend in Ministry,
Glenda has served as a children’s pastor, teacher, administer, public speaker and church plant co-pastor. She and her husband, Ryan, have been married 20 years and in ministry for 17 years. Currently, she and her husband are in a season of rest from the pastoral role while living in Huron, SD. Glenda spends her days as a Head Start Teacher and Women’s Ministry Director of the church they attend. Glenda enjoys spending time with her husband and 15 year old son. In her down time she is often reading or finding new meal ideas on Pinterest.