One of the greatest responsibilities I have as a leader is to help my team to be as effective as possible in their own leadership roles.
A while back, one of our Youth pastors was just getting started in his role and he was arranging a meeting with his Youth leadership team. So I asked him, ‘What have you got planned?’ And he was like, ‘Uhm, we’re gonna gather at my house, and we’re gonna have some food.’ And I said, ‘Cool, but what are you going to DO in the meeting?’ And he said, ‘Well, we’re gonna talk about a couple of things.’
So I said, ‘Why don’t we actually PLAN the meeting? Okay, you’re going to have food. You’re going to have some good times hanging out. That’s great. But what are the three things that you want to get across in this meeting? Who’s the one person you want to highlight who’s already doing the things that you want everyone else to be doing? What are the goals that you want to set out for the team?’
It seems to me that it’s only as we get older that we start to understand the value of time. When we’re young we feel like we’ve got all the time in the world. But as we mature, we realise we only have a limited amount of time on earth, and this should encourage us to use that time well.
Psalm 90:12 (NIV) says: ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ In other words, time and wisdom are linked: valuing time leads to a greater level of wisdom; wasting it will have the opposite effect.
Meetings are a great place to apply this idea. If you invest time in planning the meeting, it’s going to be productive, which means you don’t have to have five other meetings with the same people to get things done, because there was one well-planned meeting, where ideas were clearly communicated and people felt valued because you came prepared, which tells them that you not only value your time but you value theirs too.
When we manage our time well, it’s amazing how our quality of life increases. Setting time aside for work, and then getting it done in that time, gives us a sense of accomplishment. It also leaves time for relaxation, and it means we can actually enjoy our time off because we don’t have to worry about work.
Valuing time creates margin. Margin means you have space to breathe. In other words, you have time and energy for both the urgent and spontaneous things that come up.
We can lose our creative edge when we’re overwhelmed by all the things we think we have to do. Then we end up living overwhelmed, telling ourselves, ‘I’ve got to do this and got to do that.’ But you can’t do everything. Rather, find out where your gifting lies and invest your time in those areas. Learn to say ‘no’ to some things. Let your calendar reflect your priorities. Create room to consider new goals, to get creative about what you can do and where you would like to go.
There’s something called the Pareto Principle, or the 20/80 rule, which basically states that devoting your time to the top 20 percent of your priorities will make you 80 percent more effective. That’s an eighty percent return on a twenty percent investment.
Number your days. Know how much time you have and then use it well.
Phil Dooley // Hillsong Church South Africa