The Law of the Vacuum

The law of the vacuum is a scientific concept that states that nature abhors a vacuum, and that when a vacuum is present all nearby particles will rush in to fill it.  This concept also applies to time management – if you do not maintain control of your schedule, thus creating a “time management vacuum,” people, events, tasks, etc. will rush in to fill it for you.  Good time management skills are important for everyone, but especially so for those in rural ministry.  I remember the early days of my ministry when the church staff consisted of my wife and I.  Like many of you, I was the senior pastor, youth pastor, worship leader, gardener, custodian, and receptionist.  Being busy was never a problem, but I learned the hard way that there’s a big difference between being busy and being effective.  I didn’t realize how much of a problem this was in my life until I came home one afternoon and my wife asked me about my day.  As I thought about it, I realized that I had been busy all day long, but couldn’t think of anything that I actually accomplished.  I was in a time management vacuum.  I had no clear time management plan and was just reacting to circumstances and situations around me.  It was no wonder that nothing seemed to be getting done. I had no plan of action!

You will never be successful if you do not develop good time management skills.  Take a look at any successful leader and you will see someone who has a clear time management plan.  The thing about time management is that it’s purposeful.  You have to make it happen; it doesn’t just happen on its own.  There are several seminars, books, blogs, and articles about time management.  I do not recommend one system over another as different systems work better for different people, however there are some common things that are vital to any time management plan. Here are a few in no particular order:

  • Find a system that works for you and use it! Even the best system will be worthless if you don’t use it.  I’ve discovered that when I follow my time management system I am far more effective than when I do not.
  • Everything goes on the calendar.  Church events, study time, exercise, devotional time, family time, date nights, kids’ soccer games, holidays, etc.
  • Do not commit yourself to anything until you have checked your calendar first.  I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve double and even triple booked myself because I didn’t check my calendar before committing.
  • Don’t overbook yourself.  If Jesus had to leave the crowds to go off by Himself on occasion, why should we think we can act differently?  We must have time to recharge our spiritual, physical, and emotional batteries if we want to be successful.

Remember: you have enough time to do everything that God wants you to do.  We don’t need more time, we need better time management.

What time management tips have you found particularly helpful?  Leave a comment below.

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