I’m one of those people who believes in the benefits of good time management. Why would I want to spend an hour on something when half an hour would be enough if I would just do it differently? Over the last ten years, I have tried out many things to become more efficient. Some were very successful, some not so much, and in this new series on Time Management in Youth Ministry I will share much of what I have learned, along with some lessons others have written down.
Generally speaking, as youth leaders we need all the efficiency we can get, because there’s always more work than can be done in the time we have. Our overflowing inboxes prove that we’re still not on top of our email, our to-do-lists seem to get longer instead of shorter and there’s always this nagging thought in the back of our head that we still haven’t done this or that…
Yet in youth ministry and even in the church in general, time management and efficiency aren’t always appreciated. There seem to be two groups: the group that embraces all tips and tools to get more done and the group that has more or less fundamental objections against using time management techniques. The latter group may state that business techniques don’t belong in church, but there’s another issue that comes up time and again, one that’s worth examining.
Should our goal be to get more done, to be able to accomplish more of our to do list? Should time management lead to a higher productivity in terms of ‘more tasks done’, is that something we should strive for?
My answer: yes and no. Helpful, huh? I don’t believe in productivity for productivity’s sake. Believe me, you can work as efficient as you can for sixty hours straight and still not be effective. I believe in achieving goals, in getting the results you want. That’s where time management techniques come in, because it can help you to become more efficient and more effective. And believe me, you want that.
Let’s run some definitions here to get clarity:
Efficiency: the ratio between the amount of useful work delivered and the energy put in, realizing maximum productivity with a minimal wasted effort
Effective: successful in producing a desired or intended result
In short: an efficient and effective youth ministry is a ministry that achieves its pre-formulated goals with a minimal effort. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that something we all want? To get the results with the minimal needed time and energy?
If you want your youth ministry (and yourself) to become efficient and effective, it’s not necessarily about doing more. It’s certainly not about working more. It’s about doing things smarter, choosing the right priorities and getting things done. And time management techniques can help you get there.
In this series on Time Management in Youth Ministry we will look at a lot of different things to help you become more efficient and more effective. We’ll discuss handling email, effective meetings, to do lists, etc. If you have any issues you’d like to see answered, please drop me a line in the comments or via email, I’d love your input!
How would you rate your efficiency and your productivity right now? Do you have any idea what your biggest obstacles are in time management?