Be Busy, not Overwhelmed.

It is said that pieces of our lives are like fridge magnets. Each one is always present on the door, but they get shifted around-often. After time away at a conference, one might shift her off-day as to assure time to reconnect with her family. We’ve all been there. Juggling our priorities of family, church-work, self-care, and some semblance of a social life can be a chaotic act.  Here are my top 5 for keepin’ one’s serve alive while staying sane.

  1. Be in the Word & Pray

No blog can instruct another in creating his days; for that is between him and God. With that said, prayerfully eliminate obligations that are not bringing you closer to the spouse, parent, friend, and minister you wish to be. If the dance you do with spiritual disciplines is a little out of step, seek out an accountability partner to assist you in finding the beat again.

  1.  Know & Love Yourself Well

This is not news to you, but there is not a single parishioner who feels it is her divine vocation to maintain your emotional health.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a committee of beloved church members whose sole purpose was to manage this?  (Sign me up!) Don’t get me wrong, they love you and your ministerial leadership, but taking care of you is up.To.You. Nurture your soul, so God can create soul-nurturing moments through you.

Love yourself well! Now, we’re not just talking about resting, working, and playing well (although these are of mighty importance); but love yourself well by honoring how God wired you. Due to our unique personalities, we all aim to fill our days with a variety of values. We all see the world through different lenses. To set ourselves up for success, we must honor how God made us and then organize our days accordingly; and by doing so, greatly decrease our stress levels. There are many great resources for this, and one that has recently enhanced our staff’s life is the Servant By Design assessment. Check it out, because burnout does not occur when one gets too busy, it occurs from living a life that was not meant for him. Live fully! Live fruitfully! Live true to your wiring!

  1. Tame Your Brain

As one who gets a rush by checking things off a list and detests doing laundry, I have begun watching Ted talks while folding. I came across Mel Robbin’s 5 Second Rule, and it has truly improved my serve at home and at work. Neurological evidence points out that the brain prefers to operate on autopilot. One way to prevent this (and to achieve one’s creative potential) is to follow the “language of the soul” (ignore the fickle feelings of self-doubt) and act within the first five seconds after a goal hits one’s mind. This act can be as small as telling a coworker, or making a note in your calendar to research it later. So many life-giving ideas are not acted on due to one’s brain getting in the way. Why does this matter for maintaining sanity in the midst of busyness? This simple tool in taming your brain diminishes one’s anxiety and is that not the secret of being busy, but not overwhelmed?

While we are on matters of the brain, studies show that we are the happiest when we are fully (emotionally)  in the moment. Yet, we are not even present fifty-percent of our lives, according to Matt Killingsworth’s Ted Talk. One will thrive under the plethora of hats she wears once she becomes truly present in each moment. Some fantastic tips are given in this brief video as we aim to “let tomorrow worry about itself”.

  1. You Are Who Your Friends Are

It cannot be denied, one’s identity is shaped by those with whom he surrounds himself. Fill your calendar with interactions that fill you up. The more you fill your days with life-giving moments, the better you will handle the ones that are  life-draining.Be choosy, my friend, be choosy.  Intentionally build respectful, trusting working relationships where transparency is expected. Yes, this will take work.

On a similar note, let’s talk toxic personalities.  Establish clear (and unapologetic) boundaries with such persons. Lovingly inform them of when and how is the best way to communicate with you. Set clear margins with them on how long you have for each meeting. Pray before, after and during said meeting. Also, make your exit much easier by holding the meeting in a place outside of your office.  Regardless of the ease of the relationship, master the art of “Giving the Work Back”, as taught by the Kansas Leadership Center. Know yourself and the gifts of your team well enough that discerning the proper time to delegate comes easier and easier to you.

  1. Meet Your New Assistant, Technology.

While it occasionally gets a bad rep for making us all lazy, if used with purpose and in moderation technology can help you balance your many ecclesial tasks quite well. Try Rotunda for automatic volunteer scheduling and automatic reminders. Speaking of schedules, can I get an “Amen!” for Doodle?The Chrome Extension, Boomerang lets you schedule the time and date you would like an email to be sent (and resent, and resent if needed). It’s glorious!
Syncing calendars and sharing/accessing docs have never been easier than it is with Google; but of course, this is coming from an Android fan. It’s a breath of fresh air to simply speak into my phone, “Give me a reminder next Wednesday at 3:00 to pray for Joleen’s surgery.” or “Text Peter-worship planning tomorrow at 11?”. Streamline your lines of communication by downloading Google Voice. This automatically morphs your voicemails into text messages. Simplify your apps to solely those that are helpful and ditch the rest. The same with email-mark it is as spam and clear the clutter! I am sure the IOS and Windows worlds offer many helpful tools. Share ‘em below!