To say that the average pastor is busy is an incredible understatement. They’re responsible for keeping so many plates spinning that it can be hard for them to feel like they have time to take care of themselves or their families. So here are 10 time-saving resources that can help the busy minister get more done in less time:
Many pastors feel like they can’t afford to delegate. After all, they reason, I’m going to end up doing it all anyway. Part of the problem lies in not having a good process for breaking projects down into more manageable tasks, giving those tasks deadlines, delegating them, and then monitoring all of the pieces. This is where Asana comes in.
Asana gives you control of the delegation process and helps you stay in contact and caught up with the people doing the work—and for teams of up to 15 people, it’s absolutely free.
2. Getting Things Done, by David Allen
This book came out in 2001, and it has helped millions improve their productivity by managing the things they have to do, bringing order to chaos, and dealing with that feeling of being overwhelmed. The great thing about this system is that it’s so simple it’s almost silly.
Allen teaches you to manage your life by dealing with all the little details vying for your attention. The system is basically:
Once you have these five elements down, you can breathe again.
If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have, read it again!
How much of your time is spent in meetings and emails? What if I told you that with the right tool, you can cut that time down considerably?
Slack is a communication tool for your team which allows you to send all kinds of files, lets you create closed groups to protect the communication, and gives team members the ability to read and respond from anywhere they are. The pricing is very competitive, and many churches can get away with using the free version.
Invented in the 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique helps you manage your time by breaking your work into intervals. You can set the intervals to be however long you like, but they’re traditionally 25 minutes of focused work followed by short breaks.
If you struggle to keep on task, a Pomodoro Timer can help keep you focused. Chrome users should try TimeDoser, a simple plugin that will sit on top of your other windows and help you keep your head in the game. Every time you are tempted to stray off task, you can look at the time and think, “I know that I can focus for another 16 minutes.”
If you don’t already have a church app, it’s time to seriously consider it. Of all time-saving resources, it might have the biggest payback because it works across numerous levels. Not only can your app be a tool that you use to keep your church engaged and on the same page, but it can save you an immense amount of time when it comes to dealing with church finances.
When you get your church to prioritize mobile giving over the Sunday offering, you can save time…
- Collecting offerings
- Counting the money that comes in
- Making deposits
- Reconciling your monthly deposits
- Creating end-of-year giving reports
6. Learn keyboard shortcuts
Whether you use a PC or a Mac, there are keyboard shortcuts that can help you accomplish many of the tasks that you’re doing with a mouse. It takes a little bit of a mental investment to learn to use them, but if you commit to learning at least one new shortcut a week, you’ll shave collective hours off the most repetitive tasks on your to-do list.
You’ll also find keyboard shortcuts that will help you maneuver your way around your browser of choice. Trust me, once you get used to using keyboard shortcuts, it becomes addictive. You’ll be looking for the keyboard shortcuts available in most of your software programs.
7. Bible software
Using a Bible software program, especially one that allows you to access commentaries and resources, can be a huge time saver over traditional study. The speed at which you can do the deepest study is mindblowing, and the ability to open all of your digital books to find notes on a specific passage beats flipping through hardback books, hands down.
Sometimes you just need an accountability partner to help you identify your weaknesses. RescueTime is a program that can help you see where you’re spending (or wasting) your time.
It will help you get more done by doing things like…
- Alerting you when you spend a specified amount of time on an activity
- Reporting how much time you spend on email, in meetings, and various websites
- Blocking distracting websites for an amount of time that you choose
Articles are one of the internet’s biggest black holes. We might be doing some research and then we’re tempted to read another article that’s mentioned, and then another, and then . . .
With Pocket, you can put articles, videos, or pretty much anything else into storage and pull them out to read later when it’s more convenient. It works both in your browser and on mobile apps. If you’re like me, you’ll realize later that you really didn’t want to read half of those articles anyway.
10. Invest in the right snacks
If you’re not careful, lunches and snacking can be a huge time waster. Of course, you can redeem some of that time by scheduling lunch meetings where eating can be a productive and communal activity.
Another good way to manage this time is by ensuring that your office is stocked with plenty of high-protein snacks like…
- Trail mix
- Tinned salmon and crackers
These are great meal substitutes that you can eat while you work and will enable you to stave off hunger. And don’t forget that drinking plenty of water helps you manage your hunger, too!
It’s All about the Right Time-Saving Resources
No matter what is sucking up your time, there are time-saving resources, tools, or hacks you can use to manage it better.