Perhaps the greatest challenge leaders and teams face is coping with the multiple demands for our time, attention and energy. We have expectations for ourselves that are high. But there are many others who also have expectations for us that leave us with little margin.
There are several principles that if lived out can help us to be highly effective without being overly busy.
First, be clear about what God has called you to do! God did not design us too live with out of control schedules that leave little margin. The truth is that God has called us to do certain things, not a lot of things. In my current role as the leader of ReachGlobal I know that God has called me to four key things: develop strategy and vision; mentor ReachGlobal and national leaders; write for the worldwide church and raise the necessary resources to get done what we need done. Knowing that these are my true priorities allows me to know that most everything else is not a priority for me.
Second, we need to understand that doing less actually allows us to do more. In our busyness we miss out on the most important practice that would allow us to both be less busy and more effective. That is time to think, reflect, and pray. The more time we take to think deeply, pray and reflect, the better handle we develop on our priorities, schedules and strategy. In fact, the higher the level of leadership, the more critical this discipline is. How much time do you have in your weekly and monthly schedule to think, reflect and pray.
Third, whenever we take something new on it is critical that we leave something behind. We cannot continue to accumulate activity and responsibilities without ending up with an out of control life, fatigue and the leakage of necessary energy. Every year I ask myself the question, what are the things I am doing that I can give up - that someone else can do 70% as well as me.
Finally, we need to realize that the success of our work does not simply depend on us but on the team that we put together. The better the team you develop, the more possibility there is that there are others on the team who are gifted to do what you are not gifted to do - and probably better.
The best leaders I know are not living on fumes because they are running too fast. Rather they look relaxed rather than harried, schedule into their weeks think time as a priority, say no to opportunities more than yes so they can say yes to the key areas that they are called to.
Remember, less is almost always more.