The average business leader now works a seventy-two-hour week, according to a Covey Center for Leadership study. Moreover, fifty-seven percent of business owners work six days a week, and over twenty percent work seven days a week.
These statistics echo the busy lives of ministers, many of whom are bi-vocational. So how does one who is already busy get things done? How does a leader best utilize his or her time?
David Finkel, a business coach, has discovered that most leaders are squandering precious hours. He states, “When we evaluated the work habits of business owners and their key executives, we discovered that time-wasting, low-value, and no-value activities accounted for more than thirty percent of their workweeks.” For example, on average, the leaders wasted 6.8 hours per week on activities they could have easily delegated to someone else. Think about it. Nearly one full workday per week was spent on activities that someone else could have done.By simply working smarter, hours could be saved and reinvested in things that matter. Click To Tweet
Another 3.9 hours were wasted on “mental health breaks,” such things as YouTube videos and checking social media. The executives lost 3.4 hours on low-value emails and 3.2 hours on low-value interruptions—activities someone else could have handled. Along with various other wasted activities, the total time wasted was an astonishing 21.8 hours each week—hours in which the actions of the leaders offered little value to what mattered the most.
How to Get Stuff Done
Clearly, many people struggle in working as smart as possible. By simply working smarter, hours could be saved and reinvested in things that matter. So how does one work smarter? Besides the obvious, as alluded to above, consider this not-so-obvious action: analyze your energy levels.
The ability to achieve a high level of productivity is closely related to energy levels.
If your level of energy is higher in the mornings than at any other time of the day, do your most critical work in the mornings.
If your energy is low, your level of productivity will likely be low. Hence, schedule your work to match your level of energy. For example, if your level of energy is higher in the mornings than at any other time of the day, do your most critical work in the mornings. Low-value and low-energy tasks should be scheduled in the afternoon, if that is when your level of energy is at its lowest. For example, I plan my mornings for writing and studying, both of which require deep focus. I try my best to leave responding to emails, returning phone calls, and so on, for the afternoon—times in which my energy level is usually lower.
(Part 2 of this blog will be posted next week.)
Eugene Wilson is a minister with over thirty years of pastoral experience, and he has a doctorate in strategic leadership from Regent University. He is the founder of the coaching and consulting organization Equipping Leaders and president of Texas Bible College. He and his wife, Kerri, have two children.
Resources and Links
Rhythm: The principles and strategies outlined in this book can help restore balance to our lives. While this book doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, it may help you turn some dreams into realities. It’s time to get your life in rhythm.