Monday, July 28, 2014

Managing Your Time

“I don’t have enough time.”  I have heard this often in coaching leaders.  In reality, everyone has the same amount of time.  How we chose to use it is up to each one of us but those choices are not always easy.  I have come to realize that when I consider the tasks before me, I have three choices.

First, there are those things I need to do.  These are the things that are of primary importance.  One of these is my relationship with God.  Another is my relationship with family. Everything else is negotiable.  Those things that I need to do are usually those things that I am gifted to do.  This does not mean that they are easy to accomplish.  They may take work, but I have the skills to do them or I can acquire those skills.  These are usually the activities that bring me the most sense of fulfillment.

For example, I have just finished the manuscript for my first e-book.  Since it is based on my experience, ideas, and interpretations, I was the person to do it.  Did it take time, energy, and effort?  You bet.  It also brought a sense of satisfaction and completion.

Second, there are those things others can do.  Some of these are things that are others’ responsibility and I need to leave them alone to do them.  Other tasks are things that I am not really equipped to do and will probably not be able to acquire the skills to do, so I ask for the help of competent people.  And then there are those things that I can delegate to others, perhaps encouraging and equipping them as they do the tasks.

With the manuscript, I found a number of people who could help and were uniquely equipped to do so.  I found a copy editor to read my manuscript for errors and syntax problems.  Several friends in ministry reviewed the manuscript and gave me feedback and suggestions for improvement.  Finally, a very competent associate set the book up for publication.

Finally, there are those things that nobody needs to do.  These are projects that might have looked important at one time, but they are really not necessary and no one is going to miss them if they are not done.  In the past, I often felt some guilt about starting something and leaving it incomplete.  I realize now that sometimes the sense of urgency to do a task is fleeting and the desire or need is no longer there.  I have also come to understand that if someone does not come alongside to help get the task done, maybe it lacks real traction or significance.

I had another publication idea, but my passion for it has ebbed and those who might have been part of the writing have not shown interest, so perhaps it is not something that I need to do.  Of course, someone else may come along and pick it up and run with it and I would certainly bless that effort.

Choices about those things that I should do, the things that others should do, and the things that no one should do are not easy.  Guilt, frustration, and a sense of failure often conspire to make those choices difficult, but making those choices makes life much easier.

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