Mary Birmingham and I just finished a TeamRCIA Catechist School. At the event, I asked the participants what their number-one roadblock to their ministry was. Overwhelmingly, they said they didn’t have enough time.
Time is the one thing you cannot make more of. You can make more cookies or music or money, but you cannot make more time. So if you cannot make more time, that means you have to make the most of the time you have.
Finding the time
Here are eight tips to help you make better use of your time.
- Find out where you are spending your time. Don’t get to the end of the day, or the week, or your life wondering where the time went. Start tracking how you spend your time. Write down everything—your thoughts, conversations, and activities. Do this every day for a week. Then you will have a clear record of how often you are doing what you value most, and how much time you spend on secondary activities.
- Use a calendar. Anything you value has to be scheduled. If it’s not on your calendar, it probably won’t get done. Schedule time with yourself. Do you have time in your day just to think? Do you have time scheduled for planning? Schedule meetings you need to have with others, and be sure to schedule and ending time for each meeting. Then stick to your schedule.
- Half of your time should be spent on your high-priority, high-value stuff. What are the thoughts, activities, and conversations that matter the most? Spend your time there.
- Schedule interruptions. If you know you are going to be getting phone calls and drop-ins during the day, schedule that into your day ahead of time.
- Start the day right. The first thing you do every day should be to pray. The second thing you do should be to plan. Do not check e-mail, Facebook, or phone messages until you’ve done those two things.
- Use a two-minute rule for e-mail. If you can reply to an e-mail in under two minutes, do it as soon as you open it. If it will take longer, schedule a time to deal with it later.
- Schedule a set time for answering e-mail and phone messages every day. You don’t have to reply to an e-mail or answer the phone as soon as they happen. Let everyone know that you only check e-mail once a day, after 10 a.m. Or you will return phone messages every day, starting at 2 p.m.
- Be aware of the 80/20 rule. 20% of our efforts produce 80% of our results. Focus on the 20% that is likely to produce the most results.
What is your roadblock?
Is lack of time your biggest roadblock in your ministry? If yes, what do you do to manage your time? If no, what is your roadblock, and how do you manage it?