As a ministry leader you have seamlessly endless demands on your time. It’s impossible to fit it all in. However, it is possible to live a life of peace and joy and accomplish all that God has called us to do. There is always enough time to do God’s will.

How does that square with all of the demands on your time? And all the cases where you run out of time?

4 Time Bandits

healthy time management

1. Squandering time

The temptation—and the consequences are real. In his book, The Effective Executive*, Peter Drucker famously observed that leaders waste 25% of their time. One quarter of what they do could be thrown into the wastebasket without anyone noticing. He found no exceptions to this rule in all of the leaders he worked with.  We all find ways to squander our time, whether that be undisciplined sloppiness or excessive perfectionism. We seem to find ways to fill all the time we have available, and not always with what matters. Keeping goals and objectives fresh and always at hand will help you stay on track with what is important.

2. Failing to plan

Not all plans work out but no project experiences long term success without planning. Diving into the nearest task at hand can have you spinning your wheels and leave you without the bandwidth to get what is really important accomplished. Plan the most strategic way to approach it. Consolidate your errands, link one task to something else, do tasks in an order that they can build on one another. As Thomas Edison said, “There’s a better way to do it. Find it.” 

3. Giving in to distraction

We live in a time of sensory overload. Wherever you look you are bombarded with images, ideas, sights and sounds— it’s easy to lose focus. Do what you can to prevent this: turn off notifications on your personal device, create a limited list of who can get through with “emergencies.” Keep out the peripheral things to focus on what you have decided in advance to focus on. Ask with Peter Drucker: “What are the few, really important things, which if done with excellence, will really make a difference?”

4. Pleasing people rather than God 

Saying yes to what other people want for us is one of the major factors leading to over-commitment. If you are truly too busy and using your time well, then I can say with total confidence: You are doing something that is not God’s will for you. Trying to please other people is not only a losing battle, but it also leads to our lives becoming a grind rather than a joy. We find ourselves doing tasks poorly, procrastinating, making excuses, and missing deadlines. That’s no way to live. Learn to say no. 

Time Confidence

A survey of 95-year-olds asked this one question: What would you do differently if you could live your life over again? They gave three answers. 

  • Reflect more
  • Risk more
  • Give their life to what lasts

Jesus himself—in one important act—demonstrates some of the best strategies for combatting these time-wasters. What did he do in the midst of busyness? He spent time alone with God: 

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:15-16 

4 Spiritual Practices for Effective Time Management

1, Listening prayer

Pressure is a signal to slow down. It’s like the engine light on your car: pay attention to it now or worse will be coming your way. If Jesus needed time alone with the Father, how much more do we? Listening prayer allows us space to share our concerns, unpack the bags of worries we are carrying, and be quiet enough to listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. 

2. Reflective Meditation

Evaluate how well you are fulfilling your responsibilities in your relationships: We need to slow down enough to really think through how we are loving all the “others” in our lives. That includes family, friends, neighbors, the poor, etc. Consider all of the “others” in your live and ask these questions of each category: 

  • What’s working? 
  • What’s not working? 
  • What’s missing? 
  • What’s not needed? (Stop doing list)
  • What needs to change? 
  • What are the next steps?

3. Accountability

Be proactive with your calendar: Once you have a better handle on what you need to do—and what you need to stop doing—you can set aside blocks of time for your important responsibilities. Be sure to prioritize areas of previous neglect. You’ll also want to anticipate busy seasons (holidays, summer, etc.) so you can plan personal or family time before or after those. Level up and add another voice to your calendar to help you safeguard your time.

Pro tip: Leave 20% of your work day unscheduled as a buffer for the unexpected: it will happen. Building in margin in your calendar is essential for setting yourself up for more success. Just as you needed time to set aside to spend with God to reflect on all of this, so you will need time to tune in and listen to the Holy Spirit for ongoing guidance and direction. Allowing space in your life provides the added bonus of building in enough time to obey when you do sense something coming from God. But be sure not to overfill your schedule again; this process needs to be one of ongoing reflection and taking stock of the realities of life and your current priorities.

4. Pray without ceasing

Keeping a continual attitude of prayer allows the Spirit to guide you throughout the day. It is amazing how the important things come to the surface when you are on mission and maintaining an open conversation with the Lord. 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17 (RSV)


Time Management Profile- Everyone has blindspots. Use this profile to understand more about your skills in seven categories that contribute to effective time management. This will help you determine where you could make changes to improve your ability to effectively manage your time.

Time Management Skills Builder- Take what you learned in the profile and make a positive change using this simple skills builder to target development where it will make the most difference for you.

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