Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Personal Time Management - A New Year's Resolution

 As we embark upon another year, I recalled a worship I offered last year to a group of fellow clergy. I thought it might be helpful for those whose New Year's Resolutions include better time management. With some minor alterations under "Professional", this might be a blessing for you this New Year, by God's grace. The last section is designed for clergy, but a a fine reminder for anyone who is in a position of guiding others, such as psychologist and counselors etc. Happy New Year.

I.                   Prayer at the center of life – Reference to a life of prayer both in the Old Testament and the New Testament should make clear that our life must center on prayer. Prayer must become not just a private event when we feel the call to prayer, but should be incorporated into our daily schedule as a “Non-Negotiable” appointment.

II.                Priorities – We must learn to set and balance our priorities before we can begin to manage our time and appointment books. These are in four categories:

A.                Personal – examples include: prayer, exercise, prayer, study, retreat, sleep, eat, etc
B.                 Family – examples include: mealtime, fun time, date nights, homework time, bed time with the kids, etc
C.                 Professional – examples include: meetings, classes, study, development, pastoral, etc
D.                Friends – examples include: birthdays, anniversaries, class reunions, etc

III.             Art of Creating (and maintaining) my schedule

A.                Materials – day timer, outlook, smart phone, etc
B.                 Establish basic patterns for regular events per week or month
C.                 Work the Schedule – once you have created a “standard” weekly schedule you can react as unexpected events such as funerals and hospital calls occur. You will often be called upon to amend your schedule for an emergency, but with a well made schedule you will be able to identify what has to be shuffled around rather than ignored.
1.                  Personal and Family – determine “non-negotiables” ie: home for dinner, story time with the kids, etc
2.                  Professional – determine “non-negotiables” ie: Sunday worship schedule, bible studies, classes, etc
3.                  Family and Personal – locate “random” events – ie: school programs, date nights, etc.
4.                  Professional – locate “random” events – ie: sermon prep, letter writing, blogging, etc.

IV.             Difference between working and being “on-call” 24 hours – Just because we (especially clergy) might be “on-call” that doesn’t mean we should be always working. It is imperative that we take time EVERY DAY with our families and spend days on excursions, etc. This is especially important for clergy who might be counseling young families. How can we advise real estate agents to go home for dinner with their family if we don’t? It lends to integrity, but it also honors God.

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