The last two days I have written two blogs entitled “Preparing for a Preaching Series” and “How I Prepare my Sermons”. For those who haven’t read them I put a lot of time into preparing for preaching series and preparing for individual sermons. In response to these blogs I have been asked questions like:
- How do I find the time?
- How long does it take to prepare a sermon?
- What time do I start and finish work each day?
- How many hours do I work?
As you can see there were questions about time. The following are just some principles of how I use my time. But firstly a word of caution……
What I don’t intend to do
I don’t want to tell anyone about my working hours or how many hours I work for a few reasons. Firstly, I will be damned by two groups. One group will read my working hours and call me a workaholic and the other will see the hours I work and call me lazy. Also, God has given me a particular brain and body coupled with a particular drive that allows me to work the hours I do. God has given some people the ability to work longer hours and sleep less and he has given other people a body that needs more sleep. This is all from the hand of God and so we must praise God when brothers and sisters of ours are able to get three hours sleep and work flat out for the other twenty one hours of the day and conversely we must not look down on those men and women who need more sleep and rest time then us and yet are able to work with all their might in the time God has given them.
Principles of how I use my time:
- I work my butt off – I really work hard at using the time I have at my desk well. I do like YouTube and reading blogs but I find once I start down these rabbit holes I can end up wasting hours. So I try to be intentional about how I use these great blessings from God. When I am at my desk I am there to work and I try to push everything else aside to do that.
- When I get bored or my mind drifts I take a break – I am sure I have undiagnosed ADHD so I cannot sit down and work solidly for 4 hours. I have about 40 mins to an hour in me before I either need a break or need to talk to someone (I am a massive extrovert!). So I try to work until I need a break or a conversation and then either take a brisk ten minute walk or call someone that I need to call. After this I am usually ready to get back to work.
- I use the iPhone app 2Do – This allows me to put all the things I need to do into an app which will then allow me to assign each item to a specific day. This allows me to remember everything I have to do and also gives me a list to work off and gives me satisfaction as I cross off each item on the to do list.
- I read for an hour a day Monday through Friday – A friend asked “How do I find the time to read?” I replied I schedule it in my day. On my to do list is a recurring item that says “do one hour of reading”. It is something I do because I make it a priority. I also read widely to vary it up and I try to finish books before I start the next one. For me, finishing a book gives me encouragement to start the next book and a sense of achievement.
- I budget in about 15 hours a week for meetings – I try to have a meeting each lunch hour so I can eat and have a meeting at the same time. I also allow 15-30 mins of prep time for each meeting so I prepare what I want to talk about. I want every meeting I go into to have an agenda (not necessarily a written one) and also specific outcomes. If I want to have an agenda and specific outcomes for each meeting I need to prepare.
- I get people to do the things I suck at – I suck at grammar (as you can tell from my blogs) so I get others to put together the newsletter. I suck at power point so I get someone else to do slides and all that. I could tell you all the things I suck at but you get the point. I make sure I delegate where I can so I can do the three things God has called me to do preach, lead people and pastor Resolved
There are some principles of how I use my time. How do you use yours? What guiding principles do you have as you go about your day?