How do you decide to do something or not? Should I go to a meeting? Should I go on a trip? Should I serve on a board? Is your decision based on how you feel at the moment, or is there a reason for your answer? I find most people do not know how to say “no” to unnecessary things because they have not discovered what to say “yes” to. How should we spend our time, since time is really valuable and there is only 24 hours in one day?
1. Discover your assignment
What is your purpose? What has God uniquely called you to accomplish right now in your life? Most of us bog down right here. Before we can plan our day we must discover the plan for our day. My assignment is to love Pam, be a dad to Abram and Callie and to lead New Life Church. These three are priorities and get the first and the best of my time. I am writing a book and I am praying about serving on the board for a national ministry, but neither can interfere with my primary assignments.
2. Say “yes” to your assignment
When our assignment is clear, our schedule should reflect our priorities. If marriage and children are primary, they will get a lot of our time. Then I say “yes” to anything that is strategic at work. For me, I must have time to study and pray because I speak and teach every week. That time is set aside in the mornings. In the afternoons, I have meetings with pastors, leaders and elders. I also have time set aside during the week to meet with members of New Life and I have time set aside to meet with other pastors and leaders in the city. Also, I have time set aside to rest and enjoy the Sabbath. If we do not prioritize our schedule, the strategic things that we should be doing will be choked by meetings that are not necessary in the first place.
3. Say “no” to distractions
I say “no” to some meetings for one of these three reasons:
a. If they are not strategic or do not build key relationships. I love all the people at New Life, but most of my time is spent with established leaders or emerging leaders.
b. If guilt is a motivator. If I am saying “yes” to a meeting because I will feel guilty for not attending, I say “no” and get over the false guilt later.
c. If fear of man is a motivator. People expect me to attend everything and I simply cannot, even if it means that people will be upset or disappointed.