Like many other people, it took a financial crisis for me to understand the importance of financial stewardship. I used to operate under the thinking that if I had money, I could spend it. If I didn’t have money, I would either borrow it or not eat for a few days until payday. That’s easy to do when you don’t have a family to feed but I had to make a change when I realized that I have children who depend on me to provide them with food and shelter. Being a good steward of time is just as important as stewarding finances well. Sometimes handling time poorly can even translate into handling money poorly.
During my weekly mentor meetings, I tend to be hit by at least one morsel of wisdom more than anything else he says. Our conversations are full of great stuff, but there’s always that one thing that stands out from each meeting. This week he mentioned the stewardship of time. It wasn’t even a long part of our discussion, but it stuck with me.
What does the stewardship of time look like? How can I better steward my time? What areas of my life to I need to prioritize better? All of these questions instantly flooded my mind when my mentor said those three words: “Stewardship of Time.”
The stewardship of time goes beyond time management and scheduling time for higher priorities. Good time stewardship involves using time wisely and being proactive more often than reactive. Great leaders are great stewards of time. Leadership is not just about being a great communicator and being able to inspire people to achieve goals. Great leadership requires being more proactive than reactive and prioritizing well to use time wisely. An 80-20 balance between being proactive and reactive is a great ratio for stewarding time when leading others.
When a majority of time is spent reacting to issues and situations, how much progress forward can be made? The picture I have of a leader is someone who moves a group forward. Constantly reacting to things in the past or hidden hurdles slows progress to a crawl. When a leader proactively seeks out innovation and prepares for the hurdles that they see in the future, the group they are leading can progress quickly and efficiently.
When looking at the make up of an organization, the top-tier leadership should have something close to an 80-20 balance. Chances are that as you move down the ladder towards the support roles, the ratio begins to flip. Moving ahead in any role requires a display of leadership. The more proactive someone can be, the more likely they are to move up in their organization. Finding the right ratio is key though.
In my position at the church, I am a part of team that leads volunteers to run the production side of our worship services. We take the vision of the pastors and make it come to life with visual and audible support. We teach our volunteers how to create environments where the congregation can more easily connect to God through worship and the teaching of His Word.
Looking at my role, I would say that I have almost a 50-50 balance between being proactive and reactive. Some weeks it seems that I have to react more to where the leadership above me wants to go, and other weeks I am taking the lead on improving the environments that I can have a direct impact on. A 50-50 ratio in my position is probably about the right place to be. To be more proactive would likely make me seem pretentious. I don’t want to appear that all I care about is moving up the corporate ladder. That might be ok in a the secular corporate world, but I believe that there has to be a sense of humility, especially in the church. To be more reactive would mean just maintaining the status quo. I do not want to live my life by just maintaining.
Today I have begun my intentional journey of learning to better steward my time. I’ve prioritized and created an agenda for my day, and I am looking forward to using my time more wisely. What kind of balance do you have in your life? Are you more proactive or reactive? How do you prioritize?