In ministry, time is precious and often spread thin across many different areas – preaching, teaching, counseling, and administration. It can feel overwhelming trying to juggle it all while still making time for your own spiritual growth, family, and your congregation. However, effectively managing time is crucial for sustainable and fruitful ministry.

Here are eight ways to protect your time in ministry.

  1. Start your day with the Lord. Before diving into emails, meetings, and to-do lists, carve out quality time with the Lord through prayer, Scripture reading, and journaling. This anchors your day in what’s most important and allows God to order your priorities before they get out of hand.
  2. Batch similar tasks together. Instead of task-switching constantly throughout the day, try batching similar tasks like returning calls, answering emails, preparing lessons, making visits, etc. This reduces time lost to transitioning between different types of brain work.
  3. Schedule your priorities first. Too often, the urgent but unimportant tasks can dominate our days at the expense of our real priorities. Put major things like sermon prep, family time, office hours, etc. into your calendar first as immovable objects. Then schedule other tasks around them.
  4. Build buffer times. Things always take longer than expected, so build idle buffer times into your schedule to account for interruptions, transitions, and overruns on tasks. I try to schedule no more than 5-6 hours of tasks in an 8-hour workday. You will end the day feeling accomplished rather than defeated that you “didn’t get it all done.”
  5. Learn to say no. You can’t do it all, so guard your calendar vigorously. Say no to less important commitments that don’t align with your priorities. It’s not selfish – it’s being a good steward of your limited time.
  6. Batch low-value tasks. For quick administrative tasks, phone calls, texts etc., try batching them into a single time block each day or two. This keeps them contained rather than disrupting your day constantly.
  7. Schedule regular downtime. Don’t forget to schedule regular work-free buffers in your weekly rhythm – a morning, afternoon or full day fully off for physical and spiritual refreshment. An over-scheduled life is unsustainable.
  8. Enlist help where possible. You can’t do everything yourself, so be willing to delegate tasks to staff, volunteers or even paid services if needed. Invest energy in the areas that only you can do.

Guarding our time and energy is important stewardship, not just for our personal well-being, but for the flourishing of our families and ministries. Take steps today to bring better structure and intentionality to your life in ministry.