Sometimes our responsibilities and the pressures of life affect us in a negative way.
We see this in the story of Mary and her sister Martha. Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." We all are faced with this choice so to help me keep my crazy world on track here are 18 steps I use to keep life simple when things are crazy.
1. Set your priorities! You can’t keep priorities if you don’t have priorities. If you can’t name your priorities by number at gunpoint then they are not how you order your life.
Arrange your events, tasks and duties by your priorities. My first 3 never change. My relationship with Christ, my relationship with my family, and my pastor’s problems. All other priorities in my life can change daily. I must be willing to make their choices on a daily basis. Could you make a list right now of your top 10 priorities?
2. Keep your priorities in order. As I said above this is a daily choice. The order of your priorities may be different at different times; this is where your leadership must become intentional. My favorite scripture in the whole wide world is Proverbs 28:2 “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order. Maintaining order is the missing element in becoming a super leader.
3. Delegate to others those things that they can do for you even if it’s short term.
When you’re out of time use someone else’s. There are times I need to delegate something long term there are times I do it for a season. Make a list of everything you are doing that someone else can do. I hear you saying “but they can do it as well as me.” I know, I’ve been there. This is why you use checklist and job descriptions as well as special assignments to get them to do it your way. If you have not identified where you need help and what you need to stop doing you’ll just keep doing what you’ve always done and have the same results.
4. Use time saving tools. Every job goes smoother when you use the right tools. Here are the tools I rely on to help me keep my life simpler: Cellular phones, (a smart phone is the best of both worlds, and yes I am an iphone guy.) a timer, thank God for Radio Shack! I use it to stay on time and end meetings, phone calls and sermons at the time I have allotted. My most valuable tool is my calendar. You can’t manage time without a day planning system. I use a smart phone because I had reached a place where my calendar system was a time waster. How did you know that, Jim? Because I have developed a habit that saves my bacon on a regular basis, I account for my time daily as I spend it. Another wonderful tool is voice mail. It can eliminate some memos and even a meeting. A tip to remember is when you can leave details instead of needing a call back. Next is a tool that is where my master calendar is kept is my computer. I use a laptop because it helps me keep life simple everywhere. (Have you seen the new macbook air?) By having a computer with me everywhere I am it helps me meet deadlines, network and brainstorm with others, do things once rather than constantly redo. I depend on a computer so much I have a spare just in case I need it. Other tools I use include email groups and drafts so things I say over and over I can send without retyping and those people I send to a lot I make a group. The problem with email is knowing when to talk and not type, it’s all about keeping life simple. I’m also a big fan of two other tools: blogging and websites. Both can be huge assets in communicating with key leaders, workers and parents.