Without a doubt, something that must be maintained in an ongoing manner in order to live deliberately is the delicate task of knowing how to balance your time.
Prior to my wife and I getting married, we engaged in something called “pre-marital counselling.” This was a weekly activity (for 8 weeks, as I recall) in which she and I met with her pastor and his wife. During each session (approx. 2 hours each time), Pastor Steve and Christa systematically reviewed various aspects of marriage and family life.
As Lindsey and I would be diving right into full-time Christian ministry following our wedding, a major focus in these sessions was how to “balance your time” thus ensuring room for the important things of life, a midst the busyness of ministry and church. Being in full-time ministry themselves, they offered a formula that had worked for them that they had received from another ministry couple who had received it from another ministry couple who… well, you get the idea.
The basic idea to balance your time by breaking down your week into blocks works like this:
- There are 21 blocks of time in any given week: 1 morning, 1 afternoon, and 1 evening for each of the 7 days (3 blocks per day X 7 days = 21 blocks)
- The average person will have 10 blocks set aside for work (usually 5 mornings and 5 afternoons)
- For people of faith, there are typically 2 blocks spoken for to engage in corporate worship, usually Sunday morning and evening church services or another evening for small group
- I add another block (to bring me to three) for what would be expected of the average layperson would do in attending church and ministry and try not to “work” more than 13 blocks.
A few general rules I engage (to which, as a senior pastor, there are obvious exceptions):
- With a young family at home, I endeavor to never be out of the home for more than 2 consecutive evening blocks. As my little boy understands more and more of the life lessons his mom and I are teaching him, bedtime with him has become to me almost a sacrament (small ‘s’). There are often times I have to miss putting him to bed, and that’s to be expected, but I’ve found that missing 2 in a row is generally avoidable.
- Regardless of which time of day they fall on, I attempt to keep it to no longer than 5 consecutive blocks of time away from home. For example, if I’m in the church office Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening and then again Wednesday morning and afternoon, I can pretty much guarantee you I’m at home on Wednesday evening. Again, with a young family, not to mention the utter importance of re-connect time with Lindsey (who is, of course, at home with our young family for those 5 consecutive blocks without me), any longer than this is just not conducive to our overall life strategy.
- Lastly, to help with planning the family calendar, the Thursday evening block through to the Saturday morning block (inclusive) are generally set aside as family-only time. With the reality of week-in and week-out Sunday morning ministry in our lives, allowing for time on Saturday afternoon or evening to review and rehearse my sermon is of the utmost importance.
If you’ve been looking for help to balance your time, I hope this helps.
What method do you use to balance your time and thus make room for the important things in your life? Feel free to leave your comments below.