Time Management Tips for Busy Worship Ministry Leaders

You have big goals. You have big dreams. You want to accomplish a lot with your life. But you’re busy. There’s not enough time to do all you want to do!  Or is there?  In this episode, I am going to share with you the things I’ve learned by managing an extremely busy schedule and a lot of responsibilities over the last three years.  You’ll learn how to view time, how to determine your desired destiny, how to design your days, and how to destroy your distractions.  Time management + task management.

You might not have all the time you want, but you can wisely utilize the time you have.  The more efficiently you use your time, the more you can do for the Lord.  May God give you the wisdom to accomplish all that He has called you to do! 

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Alex Enfiedjian 00:09 Hello, and welcome to another episode of the worship ministry training podcast. My name is Alex Enfiedjian. I am your host, Happy New Year. Welcome to 2021. It’s a big new year and you’ve got a lot of big goals. But the problem is you’re very busy just like be just like everybody on the face of the earth, we have too much to do, and not enough time. So I thought it would be great to start this year off by talking about time management, I’m going to give you time management tips for busy worship leaders. Maybe you are by vocational maybe you have a lot of family responsibilities on top of your worship ministry responsibilities on top of a second job, whatever it is this making you busy, this episode will help you manage your time better and be a better steward of the life that God has caused you to. I don’t know if it’s just me. But you ever get to the end of your day and wonder where did this day go? What did I get done today? Where did the time slip away to? How did I get so distracted today? Why could I not get any traction on my goals today? Or you ever get to the end of your week and go? Was this week a wash? Like did I get anything meaningful? Done? Did this week move me closer to any of my long term goals? Maybe you’re listening to this and you’re like goals? What are those? Or maybe it’s not just the day or the week that slips away, but maybe it’s the end of the year? Like when you get to the end of your year? Does your life look more like the life that you want to have, or less did you use last year to become more like the person you want to become or less, look how we spend our time matters, seconds turn into minutes turn into hours turn into days into weeks into months, years, decades, and ultimately, our life and our legacy. Our days determine our destiny our days determine our destiny, and how we spend our time is how we spend our life. And we all want our lives to count. None of us wants to get to the end of our life and say, I wasted it. I wasted this one precious life that God gave me on the planet. I squandered it, I didn’t do all that I wanted to do. Or worse, I didn’t do all that God has called me to do. I don’t want to feel that way at the end of my life. And I know you don’t want to feel that way. And yet it happens to millions and millions of people. There life just kind of slips away, they sort of pass through life as passive spectators not really in control, no purpose, no aim, no passion, no direction. But you don’t want that to be you. And that’s why you’re listening to this episode. You don’t want to live that kind of life. You don’t want to be like those kinds of people, people who never give any intentional thought about the life they want to live or about what they want to accomplish, or how they want their life to count for eternity. You want your life to count. And so you need to make your time count. And in today’s episode, I want to help you look more closely at the life you want to live. And then I want to give you some practical tools to help you design your days to determine the destiny that God has called you to.

Alex Enfiedjian 03:10 But before we get into the content, let’s address the elephant in the room. Why is a musician teaching about time management? Aren’t musicians notoriously bad with time? Hey, that’s stereotyping. Okay. And while it may be mostly true, I have always been fairly organized and efficient in both my personal and professional life. I like to get things done, I like to see tasks checked off and progress made. But since moving back to Los Angeles and taking the job at my church, I’ve been here for three years now. I’ve really, really had to take my productivity and my time management to the next level. Like I’ve had to learn how to manage my time, my energy and my priorities, because I’ll just give you a small sampling of my responsibilities. First, I’m a husband, I’m a father, just like many of you, my wife and I homeschool our kids. So there’s a bit of responsibility there with homeschooling. I work at a very large, very fast paced, very busy church where pre COVID I was actually responsible for planning, managing and leading three, sometimes four unique services per week, four unique services per week, meaning different teams, different songs, different rehearsals, different productions, all of that for per week, plus the normal worship ministry team building stuff that you have to do just to have an efficient and healthy ministry. I also have this podcast, the monthly worship ministry training podcast, I have online courses, I have a website that I have to manage content that needs to be developed, created, edited, marketed, you know, all done every month. My wife and I also own a photography business. She does the photos, I manage the whole thing. I do the website, I do the client interaction, I do the scheduling and the booking. We launched an Amazon business last year selling pink fluffy unicorn blankets for little girls. That was a lot of work to get off the ground and it failed. So yay, for that. I’m also a home owner, which you know, there’s always something broken at home or needs to be built or fixed. And now post COVID, I actually oversee our entire churches, web communication and creative teams, as well as continuing to be the primary worship leader and worship pastor of the church, add into that all the stuff that you normally needed to do to stay spiritually, physically, and relationally. healthy. And that’s just a lot of balls to juggle, right. And I’m not saying this to brag, honestly, it’s probably not something to brag about, it’s probably very unhealthy. And I should drop something soon in order to not burn out, but but by God’s grace, he has helped me learn how to manage all of these responsibilities. And what I’ve learned by having to figure out how to manage all of this, I hope to pass on to you today to teach you but really to encourage you that no matter how much you have going on in your life, no matter how busy you are, if God has called you to it, He will make a way through it, he will help you to be a faithful and good steward of the life that God has entrusted

Alex Enfiedjian 06:03 to you.

Alex Enfiedjian 06:04 And so what I’m gonna do in this episode is I’m going to break it into two parts, the first half will be laying the groundwork, so it’ll be a bit more philosophical. And then the second half of the episode will be extremely practical, like, literally do this, try this, execute this. Okay, so let’s start by laying some groundwork. In order to be good stewards of our time, we need a healthy understanding of time. And here are three things for you to consider about time. Number one time is finite. And we intuitively know this time is finite. Time is our most precious resource. It’s the most precious resource that we have, you can earn more money, but you can’t buy more time, you can never get more time, every single second, that slips away is gone forever, you will never see it again, you’ll never get it back, use it or lose it, you don’t get a second chance. There’s no second go around. If you waste two hours, those two hours are gone forever, no second chances. And your life has a finite set of hours, your life has a finite set of hours, everybody gets 24 hours a day, and you have a certain amount of yours. Psalm 139 16 says this, all the days ordained for me, were written in your book before one of them came to be, that means God has given you a predetermined set of time on this earth a predetermined set of time on this earth. And when it’s over, you’re over. When it’s over. I’m over. That’s it. We’re done. Okay, so every second that ticks by, is your life moving closer to its end. And you may say, hey, Alex, that’s a really morbid thought. But the Bible actually tells us that thinking like this is the wisest way to approach life. In Psalm 90 verse 12, it says, teach us to number our days, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom, we gain a heart of wisdom, when we learn to number our days, when you understand that your time is limited, you will be more careful with how you invest it. And I use the term invest instead of spent I do that intentionally. And we’ll we’ll talk about that a bit later. But teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. When we understand that our days are numbered. When we understand that our time on this earth has a definite finish line and it’s ticking ever closer, then we will intuitively Be more careful. With our time, we will design our life to be used for things that matter, we will live life wisely. On the other hand, if we don’t give much thought to our mortality, if we don’t reflect regularly on our finiteness if we subconsciously think that this life and existence will go on and on in its current state forever, then we won’t have any fire to motivate us We won’t feel any sense of urgency or motivation. We won’t be careful with how we spend our time. You know, it’s no secret that millions of Americans spend hours every evening with their eyes glued to the boob tube. That’s what it used to be called the boob tube. TV, right? I have two close family members that have spent literally 1000s and 1000s of hours of their lives in front of the TV. They’re watching sports, they’re watching reality TV shows or whatever else advertisers want to sell them 1000s and 1000s of hours of their life gone, never to come back never to come back. Those hours are wasted. Those hours are gone. Those hours could have been spent in so many positive ways, strengthening family relationships, making special memories contributing positively to society, creating art helping others serving the church, earning money mentoring the next generation. All of those things could have been done with those hours, but instead those hours are gone with literally nothing to show for them. Time is finite every second slips away, or is mindlessly wasted is gone forever. That should bother you. It bothers me a lot. I don’t like that. It makes me want to be more intentional with my time time is finite. Teach us to number our days, Lord. That’s the first thing, time is finite. The second thing is time is precious. Time is precious, because time is finite time is valuable. Because you know, scarcity always leads to value. So your time on this planet is valuable. It’s a gift from God, he didn’t have to create you, he doesn’t not have to give you even this very second of time. This moment, this breath right now, this moment in time is a gift God is choosing to give you this moment of time, he doesn’t owe it to you. He doesn’t owe it to me. He doesn’t have to, he’s not obligated, he is choosing to give us this moment. Right now, Revelation 411 says, worthy Are you Oh, Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, why? For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created by the will of God, you exist, and were created this very moment this very second, your existence is a sheer gift of His goodness, and his kindness and his generosity to you. He is giving you this time. And hopefully, our response to that goodness and kindness would be that we use this moment in time to glorify Him. You know, when something is precious to you, you don’t waste it. When a precious gift is given, you cherish it, you honor it, you respect it. What is something precious that you have? Is it a family heirloom, a wedding ring? Maybe your retirement savings? You worked very hard to save that money, your children? What is precious to you? Would you just dump it down the garbage disposal? Would you throw it out into the back alley? No,

Alex Enfiedjian 11:49 no,

Alex Enfiedjian 11:50 of course not. If something is precious, what you’re careful with it, you’re careful with it? Well, time is precious, be careful with it. Time is precious, honor it. Time is precious, don’t waste it. Don’t waste it. I want you to start viewing every minute as a precious undeserved gift of God. And that will help you to be wise and to not waste it. So time is finite time is precious, we shouldn’t waste it, which of course we all know. But what should we be doing with the precious limited time that we’ve been given? Well, we should be investing it. That’s the third thing about Time, time can be invested time can be invested. Investing, what is investing, investing is when you give something with the expectation of a positive return, you’re giving this in return for that you’re giving up this for something hopefully greater later. And Jesus taught about this principle in the parable of the talents in Matthew chapter 25. I’m just going to paraphrase it for you a master goes away on a journey, he gives his three servants three different sums of money. When he came back, he wanted a return on what was entrusted to them. And this is what happens, the first one comes forward and says, look, Lord, You gave me five, iron five more. And the Master says Well done, my good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little I will set you over much enter into the joy of your master. What a wonderful response. Right? You did a good job, I’m proud of you. The second one comes forward and says, Master you gave me too and I earned two more. And the Master says the same thing well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master. Well, the third one comes and says, Master, I was afraid of you. So I buried the coin. And look here I got it out. I dug it out. I dusted it off here here. Have it back, sir. And the master answered him, listen to this, you wicked and slothful servant, you ought to have invested my money with the bankers at

Alex Enfiedjian 13:45 least so that at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take this coin away from him. Give it to the one who has 10 talents for everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance but from the one who has not even what he has will be taken away and cast this worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Wow, angry Jesus. Well, what does it tell us? It tells us that when Jesus gives you something, he’s expecting a return. When Jesus gives you something, he’s expecting a return. Jesus gave you this life. He’s expecting a return. Jesus gave you your days. He’s expecting a positive return on his investment in you. He’s invested in you. He’s given you life and breath and time and energy and everything you have at your disposal, and he’s expecting a positive return from you. Now this is the biblical principle called stewardship. stewardship is taking something God has entrusted to you and causing it to thrive and flourish. God didn’t give you this life just to squander it. God gave you this life to accomplish something God gave you this life to accomplish something if he 210 says that God gave us this life for a very specific purpose that before he even created the world, he designed you and me for a specific good works while we are alive on the earth, that we might walk in them as Ephesians 210 it says this, for we are God’s workmanship is poema. That’s the word poema specifically, and carefully crafted work of art. That’s what you are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. So are you living this life on purpose? Are you living your purpose? Are you accomplishing something with your time? are you investing your time wisely? When you or I mindlessly scroll on Instagram or binge Netflix? Or watch too many YouTube videos or waste time on too many blogs? We’re trading our time? How’s that investment paying off? Are you happy with the returns? Is it paying dividends? Is it accomplishing anything for this life or for the life to come? I want you to view your time as an investment tool, view your time as an investment tool, view your time as currency that you trade, every second, or minute or hour is traded for something, the exchange is either going to cost you that’s loss, or earn you something in return, both in this life and in life eternal. So are you investing your time? Well? Are you happy with the returns that you’re getting? From the time you’re investing something for you to do this week, I want you to evaluate your current use of time. And then ask yourself if you’re happy with the returns that you’re getting. Ask yourself if you could invest your time more wisely. Okay, so that’s the philosophical foundational piece time is finite, time is precious, and time can be invested. And before we move on into the practical, I want to tell you about something I’m very excited about. Many of you know that last year, I took a group of worship leaders through a 10 week mentorship program, and this program was designed to literally teach you everything that you need to know in order to be a successful, biblically grounded, awesome, high functioning worship leader at your church. Now, the downside of doing a mentorship live is that people’s schedules don’t always line up. So what I did is I’ve created four brand new courses based on the best content from the mentorship that you can watch and stream on demand. And these four courses are on the website right now you can go to worship ministry training, comm slash courses, worship ministry training, comm slash courses, and you will see four brand new courses for you to take your worship ministry to the next level in 2021. or whenever you’re listening to this. I have a course on

Alex Enfiedjian 17:43 team building. It’s a masterclass multiple modules on team building, how to build high functioning teams, I have one on set building, how to craft beautiful, engaging cohesive worship sets and times of worship. I have one on increasing congregational engagement. And I have one on worship leader foundation so that you can know what your role is, what your goals are, and how you’re supposed to accomplish those goals. And so all of them are very affordable, and there’s a full money back guarantee. So you can you know, risk free, try the course. And if for some reason you don’t like it, you will get a full refund. And I also want to extend an offer to my podcast listeners. If you enter promo code WM t podcast, worship ministry training w mt podcast at checkout, I will give you 25% off any course or the entire course bundle. I also have scholarships available for those of you who listen from third world countries or developing countries. So check that out on that page as well. So my desire is just to be a blessing and to resource the church. You can check all of this out at worship ministry training, comm slash courses, and the promo code w mt podcast will be live and active until the end of January. So use it while it’s hot. Alright, let’s get back into the practical side now of time management. The practical side, we’ve talked about the philosophical side time is finite time is precious time can be invested for a return. Now let’s move to the practical So you and I we want our lives to count for something. We want to be good stewards, and we want to use our time wisely. And Paul the Apostle says in Ephesians chapter five. So look carefully then how you walk not as unwise, but as wise making the best use of the time. Why because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. So Paul is telling us three things that we need to do. Number one, be careful how we walk. Number two, understand what the will of the Lord is. And number three, make the best use of our time. Now if I were to rephrase it, which I don’t know if it’s a good idea to rephrase the Holy Word of God, but if I were I would say something like this. Number one, we should determine our destiny. Number two design our day Number three, destroy our distractions. So determine your destiny, design your day, destroy your distractions. Now how does that correspond with the verse? Well, I’ll just show you determine your destiny is understand what the will of the Lord is. design your day. Be careful how you walk, and destroy your distractions make the best use of the time. So we’re going to talk about each one of those in turn. Number one, determine your destiny determine your destiny. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish with your life, then there’s no way to know what the proper use of your time should be. In other words, you can only know how to spend your time, once you’ve defined your desired outcome. Like you won’t know if you’re wasting time or if you’re spending it wisely, until you know where you’re trying to go. That’s what it means to determine your destiny. So the first thing you need is to envision the desired outcome of your life. And then and then you’ll know what you need to do to actually get you there. So once you know what you want, or what the Lord wants, you can reverse engineer your way to achieving those results, you’ll populate your calendar with the activities that will help you achieve your desired outcome. So here’s your first practical step, this is the step you need to take this week sometime. Or soon. You need to spend some time asking and answering the question, What do you want from life? What do you want to accomplish in your life? And what do you want to accomplish this year for the Lord? Okay, and get specific, like, what do you want for your health? What do you want for your family life, for your spiritual life, for your vocation, for your education? What do you want from life, and I believe within the bounds of Scripture, and within the guidelines of God’s moral commands, that God actually gives us the freedom to choose the things that we want to do the things that we’re passionate about, like, as long as we’re in the bounds of Scripture, and the and the things that he calls all Christians to, I think God gives us a lot of freedom on where we focus, our time, our passion, our energy, our goals, and all those things. So the question again, is, what do you want from life? What do you want to do? What do you want to do for yourself? What do you want to do for your family? What do you want to do for your church?

Alex Enfiedjian 22:12 What do you want to do for the Lord? When I was on vacation last year, I was sitting out on the back deck of a nice little rented house, looking at some beautiful mountains. And I made this list. I said, What do I want, here’s what I want. Okay, this is just some examples to get your wheels turning, I want. Number one, a healthy, happy, warm, high communication marriage. I want kids that love me and feel positive and joyful in my relationship with them, and that are biblically and emotionally prepared for life. I want to be a man of wisdom and integrity, grounded in who God made me to be, and letting my life flow out of a strong centered foundation in Christ. I want to be constantly growing and learning. I want to be physically healthy. I want to be financially secure, and

Alex Enfiedjian 23:01 generous. I want to be relationally invested in others in ministry, leadership and partnership. I want to have a family ministry that my family does together. And I want to be different in quotation marks from the rest of the world. Now, I know specifically what those things mean. But the question isn’t about me, it’s about you. What do you want? What do you want for your life? What do you want for your relationships? This is the first step determine your destiny. And the reason that it’s the first step is because once you know what you want, you can begin designing your days to get you there, I just gave you a list of nine items. Each of those items now has to be broken down into a series of actions or habits that will help me make those things a reality. Like I can’t just hope that those things come to pass because I wrote them down. And although they do say that writing down your goals does make them much more likely to happen. They won’t do themselves without daily or weekly actions. These things are just words on paper, they won’t happen. I have to work to make them happen with God’s help, yes, trusting him to guide me and to lead me Yes, man makes his plans. The Lord directs his steps. But I still have to step and you have to step. And so once you have the vision of what you want your life to be, you need to think of tangible steps that you can take that will help you move towards those goals. So here I’m just gonna give you a couple actions that I need to do in order for each of the things on my list to become a reality. So if I want a healthy happy high communication marriage, I need to make sure that daily my wife and I are talking for at least 30 minutes, I need to plan a yearly weekend getaway, I need to do some sort of daily caring task towards her. I need to have a monthly date night out with her without the kids and we need to pray and read the scriptures together those things need to somehow make it onto my calendar. Okay, and I have to do that for every single item in my list. I have to break them down into actionable steps that I need to do on a somewhat regular basis in order to achieve the life that I want. Okay, so now that I’ve determined my destiny, or I’ve envisioned my desired future, I can move into the next step of time management, which is to design my day, you need to determine your destiny, then design your day. Now that you know what you need to do to get to your goals, you need to design your day to fit those actions into your calendar, you need to design your day to use your hours with your long term goals in mind, otherwise, you won’t get to those goals, the things that will move you towards your goals need to make it onto your calendar, or your goals will never get accomplished. And I said this phrase in the beginning your days, determine your destiny, your days determine your destiny. Or another way to say it is your actions today will determine your destination tomorrow. So what you do each day matters. It either gets you closer to the person you want to be, or it doesn’t are the things on your calendar, getting you closer to the kind of person you want to become for the Lord, design your calendar, and you will design the fruit of your life. So your life is simply the sum of your calendar events and routines. I’ll say that, again, your life is simply the sum of your calendar events and routines like what you repeatedly do, your habits will bear out on the future fruit of your life. So if you think about it that way, then you can design your calendar to accomplish pretty much any goal you want. So with the right routines and habits, you can write a book, you could become a bodybuilder you could have the healthiest marriage, whatever you want to accomplish, you just design your calendar to get you there, you build your plan, and then you follow your plan. So here are some tips for designing your days, I have six tips to help you design your days. Number one is to do time blocking or to map out your ideal week. Like if you could design your ideal week and map it out hour by hour, what would you be doing each hour of each day to get you to the goals that you desire to accomplish. That’s what your ideal week needs to look like. You can use Google Calendar, you can use a spreadsheet, you can use paper to literally draw out. If I could design my life, this is what I would do each day of the week. And then you have this ruler by which you can measure your actual calendar, you can say, Man, my actual calendar does not look

Alex Enfiedjian 27:30 like my ideal calendar, I’m not gonna actually get to my desired future, unless I make my actual calendar look more like my ideal calendar. So that’s something you can do is just time block out your week. The second tip that I have for designing your ideal calendar is to put in your boulders, boulders, first, the boulders are the most important things, they are the things that go on the calendar first. Okay, so devotional time working out taking care of your body, family time, major work responsibilities, those things go on the calendar. First, you’ve probably heard the analogy, if you fill a jar with sand, you have no room left for the rocks, right? I don’t know if you’ve heard that analogy. But you need to put the rocks in first, then fit in the pebbles between the rocks, and then pour the sand to fill in all the cracks. The sand is the leftover stuff like coffee with an acquaintance that you don’t see that often. Right? That’s leftover. If you can squeeze it in, then squeeze it in. But if you can’t, you can’t. And that’s the next thing is that you’re going to have to start saying no to some things. Like, you’re gonna have to say no to the things that aren’t moving you towards your desired destiny. Okay, sometimes people want to hang out with me. But listen, just to be honest, I can’t give my time to just anyone and everyone. Like I have to be selective about where my time goes. In order to be all who God wants me to be and do all that God wants me to do. I can’t say yes to everyone, or do everything or be at every event, I have to do the things that I’m called to do. Now, there are some exceptions to this and we can’t be legalistic. But you’ll need to learn how to say no, and just be more focused on the life that God has called you to live. And a good book about this is essential ism, essential ism by Greg McKeown, he’s a Christian, but this is not a Christian book, but it’s still a very good book. The next tip I have for designing your days is to thematically batch your days together. In other words schedule similar or related tasks together on the same day. So for me, my entire Monday is dedicated to service preparation. So I’m picking sets, I’m sending set notes to my team. I’m looking at the schedule. I’m you know, making sure the chord charts are printed out. I’m making sure that the Ableton Live sets are built in the computer. Everything on Monday is about services. Tuesdays are mostly for me about content creation, whether it’s for the podcast or for my worship ministry, or for an online class that I’m teaching or a sermon that I’m teaching Tuesdays are usually about creating content. Wednesdays are typically meeting days for me and Thursdays are all about our Thursday night service prep. So my days are batched by theme, and you should try to do that as well, because it keeps your head in the same space all day. Now, it’s not always possible. But if you can do it, it would be helpful. The fifth tip I have for designing your day, is to be aware of your energy levels throughout the day, and then schedule tasks accordingly. So for me, I never used to think about this. But this has been a game changer. For me, I started to like pay attention to when my mind was most mentally alert and focus, and when it was most sluggish. So for me, I’m most mentally alert from 10am to 2:30pm. That’s when I do the best brain work. But by 3pm, the brain fog starts setting in and I can get sluggish and I can’t think clearly. So what I want to do is I want to schedule activities that need my best mental energy in that 10am to 2:30pm time slot. That’s when I’m most mentally focused. And I want to do my best work in that area when I have the best energy. And I can do all the brain dead things like answering emails, or doing laundry or working out at the 3pm brain fog time slot. So by being aware of your energy levels, and planning accordingly, things will be easier for you and take less time, you’ll get a better result in less time. So be aware of your energy levels and plan your tasks accordingly. And then the last tip I have for designing your day is to use reoccurring tasks. You know, you don’t always need to plan your day from scratch, a lot of life is a routine. So use reoccurring calendar events, or reoccurring tasks to remind you to do the things that you know you need to do. But you often might forget things like take out the trash, or pay the rent or oil, change the cars or rotate your car tires or do something extra caring for your spouse, put regular reminders on your calendar or on your task app and let those apps help you live the life that you want to live. Now, when you plan out your day, you can do it on a paper calendar, you can do it on a spreadsheet, you can use a digital calendar like Google calendar or Apple calendar. And what I would encourage you to do is each night before you go to bed, look at your calendar, look at any tasks you have to do. Hopefully you have a task management app, look at any big upcoming projects, and then plan out your next day. And very important list your top three priorities for that day at the top of your page, or at the top of your task app and then list everything else underneath it. What absolutely needs to get done tomorrow, in order for you to be a good steward of the things God has called you to what are your top three priorities, and make sure you get those done first. And by planning out your day, the night before, it allows you to be proactive instead of reactive. You go into the office with a sense of purpose and with a plan. And you know what needs to get done and you understand why it matters. And anything that doesn’t get done that day, you just move it to the next day or you assign it to another day or another week, and you do it then. And everything on your to do list should have a due date. Because if it doesn’t have a due date, it’ll just sit there forever. And if you’re the type of person who constantly forget stuff, which there are a lot of those types of people in the world, it’s really simple to overcome that. If you forget stuff all the time, it’s very simple to overcome that. I’ll tell you how the key is this one simple thing. Every single time you think of something you need to do, you need to take out your to do list and add the item immediately

Alex Enfiedjian 33:39 right then stop what you’re doing. Write it down or put it in your to do list every single time make it a habit. When you think of something you need to do put it in there. When someone asks you to do something, put it in there, put it in there, put it in there, put it in there, big or small added and the benefit of doing that is number one you won’t forget. And number two, you won’t have that low grade anxiety of trying to remember all the things you need to do in the back of your brain. Like get it out of your brain your to do list acts as your second brain and that’ll free up your mental energy and it’ll give you peace, the anxiety will go away because you’re not worried you’re gonna forget something. It’s all in your to do list. Okay, so for me, how do I plan my days? Well, personally, I plan my entire week, every Sunday night, I have a paper planner. I love this planner called Michael Hyatt full focus planner. And I like the paper planner because writing on paper something about physically writing it down helps it solidify in my brain like I’m choosing to do this I’m acting on this and I love that I love that. So what I do I sit down with my favorite planner on Sunday night. I look at the week ahead and I look at all the tasks on my digital to do list, the reoccurring ones and the ones I added over the last couple of weeks. I use tick tick for my to do list because it also shows your calendar so I look at my to do list I look at my calendar, which ticktick is also showing me and I look at any big projects that need to be worked on. And I fit all of that stuff into the six days of the week that I work. Okay, Saturdays, I work on stuff for my family, or for our businesses, or, you know, on our home, so I fit everything into the day that it needs to go into. And I have completely mapped out my week, I make sure to include my habits like spiritual and physical health. And I map out the plan and then I follow the plan, build the plan, and then follow the plan. That’s what it means to design your days. So you’ve determined your destiny, broken those down into actions, and then you design your week every week. But that’s not the last step. The last step is to destroy your distractions, because your distractions are going to keep you from doing the things that you know you need to do. So you need to destroy your distractions. Now, I don’t need to tell you that we live in a world of constant distraction. Even writing this episode was hard for me, I wanted to keep checking my email. Now we can all relate because we know how unbelievably hard it is to stay focused. In this hyper connected world we live in tech companies are literally fighting for your attention using psychological techniques, which splinters and fragments your attention into smaller and smaller bits. They’re trying to get the seconds out of you. And now the average human attention span is shorter than a goldfish. Okay, humans, nine seconds, goldfish. 12 seconds, goldfish beat us by four seconds, that’s 25%. Okay, that is not a good sign for the human race. Our smartphones are wonderful and making us dumber. Okay. So what we need to do then is fight back, we need to work hard at focusing so we can live the lives that God is calling

Alex Enfiedjian 36:53 us to, you know, sociologists and business analysts are saying that the ability to focus will be the key attribute that will set successful people apart from the rest. And it’s not just about being successful, it’s about achieving the things that God has laid on our heart to accomplish. Like, if we want to be who God has called us to be and do what God has called us to do, we need to destroy distractions. Now, distractions are the things that take you off course from achieving your desired destiny. So think about the word distraction, it has the same root as the word traction traction, like the thing that keeps the tire on the ground moving in the direction of momentum, that’s traction. So distraction means something that is taking away your traction from moving in the direction of your goals. So anytime you’re distracted, you’re not getting closer to the life you believe God has called you to. Anytime you’re distracted, you’re not getting closer to the life you believe God has called you to. So in essence, a distraction is keeping you from the life you want. I want you to think about distractions in that way. From now on, think about distractions like that, the next time you’re tempted to indulge in a distraction, say, this will keep me from the life that I actually want. This will keep me from the life that I actually want. And in order to make the best use of our time, as the Apostle Paul tells us to, we must ruthlessly cut out distractions, cut out everything that will keep you from the life God is calling you to. You know, Jesus sort of uses this idea when he’s talking about fighting lust, he says, if you want to get into heaven, cut off your hand or gouge out your eye if you have to. So in essence, Jesus is saying if heaven is your goal, then cut out everything that will keep you from getting there. Well, that’s what we should do for our goals as well. Okay, not just having but like here on Earth as well. So let me give you a few tips for cutting out distractions. And number one, and number two are going to massively multiply your time. Okay, number one, for cutting out distractions is turn on Do Not Disturb. Turn off all your notifications, all your phone notifications, all your computer notifications, even your smart watch notifications, turn off all your notifications use Do Not Disturb. Every time your phone rings, it breaks your concentration. And every time your concentration is broken. You have to start all the way over to get back to the state of flow. And Microsoft did a study on its employees and they found that it took its employees 23 minutes to return to a place of focus after being interrupted by an email 23 minutes just to get back to where they were because they were interrupted. So stop letting your phone interrupt you turn off all notifications. I personally leave Do Not Disturb on at all times. Yes, you can set certain people to get through. But by and large just get rid of all notifications. Try that out at least for a week. Do Not Disturb 24 seven see how your brain feels. See how it helps you stay focused and move towards your goals. The second way to destroy distractions is do Not multitask, do not multitask. And this is hard because multitasking feels more efficient. But it’s not. Instead do one thing well, with your full attention with your full focus, you’ll get it done faster. And with better quality, higher quality in less time. Let me just give you two quick examples. Example number one, let’s say you’re writing an email with your thumb, your left hand thumb on Your Tiny smartphone screen, while you’re brushing your teeth with your right hand, listening to a podcast and also telling your kids to get in bed, I have done this very thing. I did it a couple of weeks ago. Now, it might feel efficient to be doing all four of those things at once. But here’s what’s actually happening. Number one, you’re not even hearing what the podcast is saying. So it’s a wash, you might as well not be listening to it. Number two, your email will probably not be as thoughtful, as if you had just sat down somewhere quiet to focus on it. Number three, you probably took four times longer to type that email with your thumb than if you sat at a real computer. So you wasted time. And you probably missed a few spots while brushing your teeth. So your teeth aren’t as clean and you’re gonna have to go to the dentist, that’s going to take more time, and your kids are not getting your best attention and energy at bedtime. So it’s a lose, lose lose situation when you multitask. Just do one thing and do it.

Alex Enfiedjian 41:17 Well. Here’s another example. You wake up early to do your DeVos your time with God, right? You’re spending time with the Lord, you’re reading his word on your smartphone. But then you know that it comes and you check your social media and then you go back to the Bible, and then you check your text messages. And then you go back to the Bible. And then you check your email and you go back to the Bible. Well, you spent an hour reading the Bible, but it was all broken and fragmented. Did you really even get anything out of it? Or was your attention too broken, to really receive and hear from the Lord. Now if you were fully focused, you might have had a really deep fellowship with the Lord and gotten a lot out of his word. And because your attention wasn’t split, maybe it only took 20 minutes of your time. So you’re getting a better result in less time, because you’re focusing on one thing at a time. That’s the power of focusing on one thing at a time. Do not multitask. multitasking is an impossible way to do things fast or well. So stop trying. Let me give you a few ideas on how you can stop multitasking. Number one, when you work on your computer, make the app fullscreen so it takes up the whole screen, it takes up your whole attention. And it’s harder for you to jump between windows, okay, fullscreen your apps when working on your computer. Remember to quit any messaging or email applications while you work. So close your email, close your text messaging, close your Microsoft Teams, or slack or whatever I am thing that you use close all the messages so that nobody is dinging you. So you can focus on your work. Number three, use a pomodoro timer a pomodoro timer is something that you press Start and it gives you a 30 minute timer. And then it gives you a 10 minute break. And then you go back into 30 minutes of work. So it keeps you in a rhythm of work, break work break. And while you’re working, you just stay focused on the task at hand. Okay, try a pomodoro timer, or try an app called focus. There’s also an app called freedom, which blocks distracting apps and websites for either set periods of times or in scheduled time blocks. So it will literally keep you from being able to open your email client or open your text messaging app. So try focus or freedom. Those are apps to try they do cost a little bit of money. But it’s worth your time because your attention is worth a lot. Okay, just a few more ideas for destroying distractions. Number one, delete social media, delete social media, do you really need to see what your friends ate for lunch? Is your life really better? Did it really move you towards your goals? You know, I’ve been off of Facebook and Instagram for seven years and I haven’t missed one single thing that has mattered not one single thing that has mattered. In fact, being off of social media actually makes me call my friends to find out how they’re doing. You know, social media is a passive relationship. Friendships require active engagement. So get off social media, and call your friends. Now if you just can’t do that I understand some people can’t. But at least delete the social media apps from your phone and just check from your computer that will help you to stay so much more focused. It’ll limit the amount of time that you waste on social media. Just check it on your computer, delete them from your phone, there are apps that allow you to still post to social media from your phone without being able to check the social media and just mindlessly scroll through it. One of those apps is called buffer, you can get buffer you can post to your social media channels, but you just delete the actual social media apps, so you can’t check them

Alex Enfiedjian 44:44 except from your computer. Okay, the other thing you could do is delete email from your phone and only check it at your desktop. This will also keep you more focused when you’re away from your computer. The other thing you can do is to set specific times each day when you check your email and you just deal With it in bulk, instead of letting each incoming message break your attention and your flow, deal with them at, you know, 12, noon and 4pm, and deal with them in bulk. And that’ll keep your attention more focused. And then delete unnecessary apps from your phone, delete unnecessary apps, do you really need all those apps, first of all, turn off the notifications. But second of all, just delete them. And I would say be brutal, at first be extremely brutal, only keep the must haves, the absolute must haves, because here’s the thing deleted and see if you even needed it. And if you need something like really need something, you can always reinstall it, okay, but delete unnecessary apps from your phones. And then the last thing that you can try, and I do this, personally, is to use parental controls on your phone. So at 9pm, my phone won’t let me use like most of my apps, and it won’t wake up until 730 in the morning, then I can then I can check my apps, because that gives me enough time in the evening to spend time with my kids and my wife. And in the morning. It gives me enough time to spend time with the Lord. And my wife has the passcode for that. So I can’t even do that. So it makes the apps unusable. Android has a feature and iPhone has a feature. You can hide the App Store have your spouse or your significant other or someone your accountability partner hide the app store so you don’t just waste time scrolling through that, but use the parental controls on your phone. Okay, so those are some ideas for destroying distractions, okay, and there are many articles written about it. There are many books written on it. A couple books that I’ve read that you can check out their non Christian books, but in distractible in distractible, deep work, deep work and make time make time. And none of those are by Christian authors. But maybe it’s time for a Christian to write a book about these things, probably. But here’s the key you guys as we end, God wants to use your life for His glory. God wants to use your life for His glory, and every second is a gift from God. So invest those seconds those minutes those hours into actions that will result in God honoring outcomes. Live your life with intentionality. Avoid squandering this one precious life that God gave you on distractions that will take you off mission and ask God for wisdom to manage your time well for His glory, because the more effective you can use your time, the more you can do for the Lord. There’s an old hymn I’m going to end with this. It says, The days passed so swiftly. The months come and go, the years melt away like new fallen snow, spring turns to summer than summer to fall, autumn brings winter and death comes to all, only one life so soon it will pass only what’s done for Christ will last. I hope this episode helped you be more intentional with your time I hope and pray that you will use 2021 well for the glory of God and for the good of your church. And if you were helped by this podcast or if you think of somebody who might be helped by it, please send them a link to this episode. And encourage them to listen to it. And thanks for being part of this community. Again, you want to check out the new courses I created for worship leaders. They are at worship ministry training comm slash courses, and you can check the links in the show notes. Alright, that’s it you guys. I will see you next month for another helpful episode. God bless

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