Every month, it feels like my plate gets full, and items morph. About two years ago, I transitioned from the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry to the Director of Formation Ministries. With this title change came a whole docket of new responsibilities, including managing staff. Not only have the items on my plate changed but now there is more to juggle. It's a little unnerving.
Even if your position has not changed, the pace of life has gotten quicker. You could blame technology, a natural accelerator, or the busyness everyone seems to embrace. Regardless of the reason, it's critical for us, as leaders, to learn how to juggle. That does not mean we have to do everything; instead, we need to:
LEARN WHAT TO DROP AND WHAT TO PASS
Only some urgent things are important; even if you are good at something, it does not mean you have to do it. Everyone is limited in how much they can and what they should juggle, and knowing what to drop and pass is all about understanding the art of delegation.
To delegate effectively, you need a TEAM YOU CAN TRUST. It would be best to have individuals you could pass things to that know your vision, preferences, and styles. They don't have to do precisely what you do but should understand your values.
Because we need a team, we must also remember that delegation takes time and can get messy. You'll need to invite others to watch you juggle and show them what you are juggling and how you manage this task. After they get more comfortable, then you can pass it on to them.
But, knowing what to let go of does not just require delegation; it also means ELIMINATING OBJECTS that should never be juggled again, or at least for a significant period. When unloading your responsibilities, this is when you have to take a hard look at what you are doing and ask:
Does this create more work and resources than what is worth it?
Does this item match our values, purpose, and what we are meant to do?
The hard part of dropping something altogether is because of the emotional significance it has in our ministry. It could have, at one point, had high value and created incredible results. Before you drop it, celebrate and acknowledge all that event, opportunity, or resource did for you or your ministry.
FIND A PACE THAT SUITS US
It's not about working harder; it's all about being smarter. Juggling everything does not mean getting faster; it's about finding a rhythm you can handle. Sometimes we forget that one of the items we need to juggle is our time off and time with family. Anytime something gets added or subtracted from your responsibilities, you should take a step back to evaluate your time.
While your position is temporary, there is no finite deadline that, if you miss, the whole thing falls apart. Your ministry has a pace, and you discover it by budgeting your time like you would your money. If you don't trust the calendar on your phone, use something more tangible (I use the Monk Manual) to help you manage your time. When you have the right pace, you won't feel as overwhelmed when new tasks come your way.
BUILD UP THE NEXT GENERATION OF JUGGLERS
You might be a high-capacity leader who can juggle a lot, but you are not a permanent fixture of your ministry. On the first day, we enter our positions; we should ask, "Who will replace me?"
One reason juggling all responsibilities feels hopeless is that we need to have the end in mind. It's sobering to think about who will take your place, but as soon as you start leading as the next person counts on you, your juggling becomes strategic.
Instead of saying, "I'll get to this another day." your willingness to prioritize increases. You begin to think about how clear your communication and plan become. Thinking about the next person in line is a selfless act that will increase your humility and help you let go of some of those items you've been juggling forever. It's freeing.
Whether you are a paid employee or a volunteer, it can be overwhelming to juggle everything that comes your way, especially on your own. Feel free to ask for help, pray, and remember that God will guide you.
How do you best manage tasks and time? What tips or tricks have you learned?
If you struggle with managing your time and responsibilities or feel stuck in ministry, schedule a free consultation with us HERE.