Ten Time Management Ideas for Leaders

Several months ago we ran a blog survey seeking to understand those who read the blog on a regular basis and what would be helpful to them in future posts. Many people asked about managing schedules and getting the most out of time. It is wise to ask the question because desiring to steward time well is an act of wisdom. For example, Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts” (Psalm 90:12). Likewise, the apostle Paul challenged us to walk wisely and make the most of the time (Ephesians 5:15-16). While we are incapable of creating more time, we can get more out of the limited time we have. Here are ten ways I work to get the most out of my time:

1. View time as a precious resource.

Some abhor the thought of wasting money yet squander immense amounts of time. Wise people recognize the brevity of this life and steward their time well.

2. Wake up early.

If you want to have more time in your day, you really only have two options: stay up later or wake up earlier. The wisdom writer scolded: “How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep?” (Proverbs 6:9).

3. Exercise

When you are busy, exercise can feel counterintuitive. After all, you are not doing something else that needs to be done so you can exercise. But exercise makes you more productive by helping you sleep better, fight stress, and fuel mental energy.

4. Find a repeatable rhythm in your schedule.

As quickly as you can, discover when the best time is to execute important tasks. And repeat over and over. Some have asked how I prepare sermons while serving as a vice president of LifeWay. The bulk of my sermon prep is every Monday night from 7pm-1am. Which brings me to the next point…

5. Choose a work night.

Kaye and I choose a “work night” each week (sometimes twice a week) where each of us knocks out work. Because we are both working during the evening, neither feels neglected. I use that night for message preparation, reading, or writing.

6. Keep a “stop doing” list.

Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” At key pause times in a year, reflect on your leadership and life and create a “stop doing” list. Steal energy and thinking from the things that are not as important and give energy and thinking to what is most important.

7. Develop and trust others.

One way to squander your time is to micromanage. When you have capable men and women of character around you, trust them. While developing others requires time, when people are developed, your time is multiplied.

8. Schedule meetings back to back.

If you have a meeting that ends at 9am and another one starts at 9:30, typically those 30 minutes in between are not very productive. Much better is to stack meetings back to back and create larger blocks of time not in meetings.

9. Block off large sections of time.

To engage in deep preparation, planning, creative work, or strategic thinking, large blocks of time really work best. Schedule and guard those well.

10. Don’t let email own you.

Don’t let email own you, especially when in those large blocks of creative or planning time. If emails in your inbox drive you mad, you can move non-urgent emails to a follow-up folder and deal with them in a time you regularly set aside for emails.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Josh — 05/02/17 4:27 am

Still working on this one :)

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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