4 Ways to Help You Better Manage Your Time As a Pastor
It seems that many pastors these days are overworked. Between juggling time for your family and duties to your church, it can be easy to feel as though the margins in your life are off (or that you don’t have any at all).
Here are four ways to help you better manage your time so you can work on other things, like developing a side income for your family.
#1 Find Out Where You’re Spending Your Time
One solution to this is to acknowledge, and, where needed, change where you spend your time. There are two parts to tracking your time, looking behind you at where you’ve already spent it, and looking ahead at how you can help yourself stay on track. This starts with auditing your time, just as you would your spending when creating a budget.
To do this, you’re going to carry some form tracking for a week. This could be a notepad, notebook, simple sheet of paper, etc., or the notes on your phone. Then, for each day, write out how long you’re spending on each activity.
If you stop to get gas while you’re out and it takes ten minutes, write that down. When you go grocery shopping for the week, add it to your tracking sheet, etc. While you don’t have to track every single minute, the more that you can keep track of, the clearer the image will be when this experiment is done.
Now that you know where you’ve been spending your time, it’s time to look ahead to the future and get control of your calendar. There are many different ways you can do this, whether through a physical calendar, a free app, or a bit of fancy paid software, the only important thing is to find something comfortable that you enjoy using.
You’ll then want to pick a day of the week where you’ll sit down with your calendar and look over the events that have been pre-scheduled. Now, you’ll want to lightly plan out each day, and think about what the flow of those days will look like to make sure you can get to everything that needs to be done.
Being proactive in this helps you take control of your agenda and keeps other people from planning your week.
#2: Utilize Automation Tools to Streamline Calendar Planning
While a calendar and good planning are a great first step to utilizing your time better, many tools exist that can make this process even easier for you.
Calendly is one of these tools and makes coordinating time for meetings as easy as clicking a button. Within Calendly, you can set specific dates, and blocks of time that you’re free to meet with people. This can be over the course of your entire workweek at all different times, or only one day with a small selection of times to choose.
Then, you email your Calendly link to whoever wishes to meet with you, allowing them to choose whichever times and days work best for them. This helps prevent the back-and-forth that can often occur when both parties have busy schedules, saving you both time in your weeks.
#3: Hire a Virtual Assistant to Help With Administrative Work
A virtual assistant can be an incredible game-changer for your time management. And the thing is, there are people out there that enjoy doing the things that drain you. Hate writing emails and doing customer support? That’s somebody’s passion.
By finding somebody to who you can hand off certain responsibilities and tasks, such as calendar management, replying to emails, etc, you can change where you allocate your time, allowing you to get more done.
One great thing about working with a virtual assistant as a Christian leader is that unlike a church secretary or in-house assistant they don’t belong to your church. They’re not sitting in your pews each week, listening to you preach. If there’s a business or performance issue, it’s a lot easier to let somebody go if there isn’t also the emotional connection of being their pastor. It very rarely ends well when firing somebody who looks up to you for guidance. They end up not only searching for a new job but a also new church.
#4: Set Healthy Boundaries in Your Life
If you take nothing else from this blog post, then this is the most important piece of advice to listen to. If you as a pastor are not setting healthy boundaries for how much time you’re blocking each week for your church, then no other time-saving technique matters because you’ll simply put all of your time into ministry.
While the people in your congregation have a special relationship with you, it’s not all at the same level. And even Jesus spent the majority of his ministry time with only three people. While not everybody liked that, he set healthy boundaries with his congregation. We even see him getting up early in the mornings to solitary places, praying, and taking time for himself.
While in our modern world this isn’t the politically correct thing to say, we think the average pastor spends too much time working in the church. This is certainly more true when you consider what a pastor is compensated within their salary.
While we’re not at all suggesting you stop working as a pastor. We are encouraging you to stop working for so many hours in your church.
Don’t ask for permission. Don’t go to your board. Don’t go to the elders and ask for a vote. They’re all going to say; “We want you full time.” Just set your schedule and have other outlets.
It’s still possible to do your best work as a pastor without working 40 to 60 hours a week to the neglect of your family, finances, personal health, etc. Make room for something else in your life, and don’t apologize for it.
A few other resources on this topic:
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