Chaos creators and time wasters make life difficult for themselves and those around them. They misuse their own time and squander the precious moments of those who love and work with them. They are notorious for not returning phone calls, missing appointments, showing up late, misplacing important documents, and not being prepared for important meetings. Everyone misses things on occasion, but these individuals have turned it into an art form. They rarely take responsibility for their actions but routinely find ways to create chaos in every aspect of their life and ministry. At the core of the chaos is the mismanagement of the gift of time.
Last year, I had a small heart attack that required cardiac bypass surgery and it changed the way I looked at time and my ministry. I reevaluated my pastoral calling and the way I invested or misappropriated time. I was not a chaos creator or one who wasted time haphazardly, but I needed to make some corrective changes to be healthy in body, soul, and spirit and to be more considerate of others with my time. Here are a few insights I gained:
- Live by priorities and not by pressure.
- Learn how to value planning.
- Put people around you who are empowered to veto activities you should not be doing.
- Create buffer zones and boundaries in your life so that you have better control over interruptions that steal your time and readjust your priorities.
- Evaluate your energy level so that you give your best when you are most alert, rejuvenated, and mentally focused.
- Develop systems to take care of things that you must do routinely like returning calls, checking email, etc.
- Get rid of emotional clutter by resolving interpersonal conflicts quickly so that you do not carry the issue around in your head or heart beyond what is necessary.
- Don’t allow yourself to take on assignments that belong to someone else. Support and assist without taking responsibility for what others are accountable for.
- Use your calendar to put deadlines on yourself and share it with someone so they can hold you accountable.
- Assess your team to ensure you are able to delegate tasks to them. If not, you will need to train them or trade them.
- Create a space in your work environment for everything and handle paper once. Put it in its place, in the hand of someone who can do something with it, or put in the trash can. One of the greatest time wasters is looking for things we misplaced.
- Learn to say, “NO”!
- Realize that God has given each of us the gift of time and we must use it wisely. Ephesians 5:15-17 records, “Be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”.
If a man or woman lived to be 78 years old and that life was represented on a 24-hour clock it means: a 10 years old person is at approximately 3:00am, 20 years old is at 6:00am, 30 years old 9:00am, 40 years old is at noon, 50 years old is at 3:00pm, 60 years old is approximately 6:00pm. At 60 there is less than 6 hours to midnight!
What time is it for you and are using it wisely?