How to Manage Your Time Like Jesus

November 14, 2023

The world is full of time management tools: books, planners, apps, programs, you name it. The abundance of these tools points to our culture’s increasing desire to be more productive with our time, but the stress remains. Church and nonprofit leaders in particular are constantly reporting feeling swamped and overwhelmed. So how can we find peace in our chaotic busy schedules? What is the solution? The answer might be a surprising one, at least by the world’s standards. The solution is Jesus.

“Jesus of Nazareth is the solution to our perennial feelings of being swamped by our to-do lists and our hurried schedules,” said Jordan Raynor, entrepreneur and author of Redeeming Your Time. “Jesus offers you and I peace before we do a single thing to get unswamped. So I don’t do time management exercises in a wild goose chase to get peace. I do them as a worshipful response to the peace that is secured through Christ alone. Jesus shows us how God would manage His time.”

The Gospels show us a perfect example of time management in Jesus. In fact, there are seven practices we can adopt from observing the life of Jesus that we see laid out  in Jordan’s book: 

  1. Start with the Word – Prioritize time with the Father above everything else.
  2. Let Your Yes Be Yes – Let also your no be no from the smallest to the biggest commitments you make.
  3. Dissent from the kingdom of Noise – to think clearly, be creative, and listen to the Holy Spirit.
  4. Prioritize your Yesses.
  5. Accept your “Unipresence” – your ability to only be in one place at one time.
  6. Embrace Productive Rest.
  7. Eliminate All Hurry.

The one practice that church leaders tend to struggle most with, according to Jordan, is accepting their unipresence: being fully focused on one important task at a time. And what contributes most to that struggle is the constant bombardment of interruptions.

“I hear pastors say all the time that Jesus always had time for interruptions,” Jordan said. “Yeah, not so much! Just read Mark 9:30-31 … That’s Jesus for ‘do not disturb’! Enemy No. 1 in our fight for deep work and deep life is incoming messages.”

One of the best things we can do to be purposeful, present, and productive with our time is to take control of our incoming messages. 

5 Steps to Take Control of Your Incoming Messages

  1. Choose ahead of time when you want to check your messages every day. 

For example, decide to check your messages at 10 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM. Give yourself 1-2 hour stretches of time where you are not interrupted with messages.

  1. Build a list of VIPs.

These people will have access to you at all times, not just your predetermined times. This list might include your spouse, kids, kids’ school, assistant, elder board, etc.

  1. Pull out your phone and add all those VIPs to a special list.

If you have an iPhone, add your VIPs to your Favorites list. If you have an Android phone, add them to your People list. That way, when you turn your phone on “do not disturb,” calls from those people alone will come through.

  1. Set clear expectations around your new response time.

Tell your VIPs this: “I’m trying to be more focused at work and at home. Here’s how you can help me: From now on, I’m only checking messages at x,y,z times. However, you’re a VIP in my life, so if you need me more urgently than that, please don’t email or text me. Call me on my cell and I will answer every single time.”

  1. Shut off all your incoming messages. 

Turn off email notifications on your laptop, put your phone on “do not disturb,” and ignore your incoming messages for an hour or two at a time.

After you’ve completed those five steps, there’s just one thing left to do, Jordan said: “Sit down and do the hard, deep work that God has called you to do for His glory and the good of those you serve at your church.”

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