3. Schedule your rest.
If you don’t plan for rest and renewal, it won’t happen.
My calendar will always fill up if I don’t plan for some down time. I’m always amazed when I hear people say, “I’m going to try to take a couple days off next week. I just have to see how the week goes.”
What? Are you kidding? You can’t wait for the right time to unwind or take a vacation with your family. It will never happen.
Get the dates on the calendar months in advance. Always be looking at your schedule for busy seasons ahead. Make sure you plan some time in the middle of those seasons to unwind and get centered.
4. Manage your travel schedule.
If you don’t travel, skip over this one. But many leaders have to be on the road.
A few years ago I noticed my travel schedule was getting out of hand. One year I was gone 18 nights, the next year it was 25, then 32, then 47. This was not a good trend.
Because my kids were younger, and because my wife was not able to travel with me often, I was unwilling to see that trend continue.
So I sat down with my wife and my boss, and we figured out that 30 nights away from home was a reasonable number for me during that season. Any more than that, and my priorities started to get out of whack.
If it was much less than that, it was more difficult for me to get my job done. I don’t think the number 30 is magical, but I do think it’s important for anyone who travels regularly to find the right amount that balances family, business and personal health.
5. Go home before the work is done.
This is difficult whether you are in business or the church world. (In ministry, we convince ourselves someone might go to hell if we go home too soon!)
When you go home before the work is done, it means you are leaving something really good behind. But you can’t wait until your to-do list is complete or until the phone stops ringing before you head home to your family.
The work is never finished. Just go home!
(Note: If you are a slacker, then please ignore this point. You actually shouldn’t leave until your to-do list is done.)
6. Leave room for people and leave room for God.
It is easy to fill up your calendar and not leave room for what God might bring along your path.
I had a friend who called these “Godadents” instead of accidents. If my calendar is booked solid, I don’t have the flexibility when someone drops by my office or a crisis comes up that needs attention.
I try to monitor this by blocking more time than is needed for appointments, leaving a buffer between appointments and keeping my door open as often as possible.
This is just as important for Christian business leaders. Part of your calling as a follower of Jesus is to love and care for people—and that begins with the people already in your life. Make room to ask your employees about their lives, their dreams and their hurts.
John Maxwell summed up calendar management this way: “The key to becoming a more efficient leader isn’t checking off all the items on your to-do list each day. It’s in forming the habit of prioritizing your time so that you are accomplishing your most important goals in an efficient manner.”