Time Management Series
“Minister's Time Management Assessment” (SL#25)
by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® 12.1 - Time Management
and from Time Management for Ministers, Mark Short, pp. 21-22

Mark Short published an excellent manual regarding time assessment, Time Management for Ministers; with Margie Short's permission, I have adapted and changed his assessment form. Using this form, take a snapshot picture of your practice of good time management. The process is brief and simple; it may affirm strengths or point out needed improvements. Be honest with yourself as you appraise your time habits, as if someone were looking over your shoulder. Print a copy and circle each item from 1 (poor) to 4 (excellent); then, score your responses at the close.

  1. I have clearly written objectives/goals. 1 2 3 4
  2. I set my priorities and stick to them. 1 2 3 4
  3. I do advance planning on my personal schedule. 1 2 3 4
  4. I consistently balance my work and personal schedules. 1 2 3 4
  5. I regularly write daily “to-do” lists. 1 2 3 4
  6. I avoid “blind alleys” and time-wasters. 1 2 3 4
  7. I have a keen sense of my life’s purpose. 1 2 3 4
  8. I regularly delegate tasks to others. 1 2 3 4
  9. I practice an effective decision-making process. 1 2 3 4
  10. I can easily retrieve needed material. 1 2 3 4
  11. I set deadlines and meet them. 1 2 3 4
  12. I try to leave my work at work. 1 2 3 4
  13. I can usually facilitate casual “drop-in” people. 1 2 3 4
  14. I maintain a pocket calendar/“daytimer”/ “raspberry.” 1 2 3 4
  15. I allow time for emergencies/opportunities. 1 2 3 4
  16. I know the “time zone” for my best work. 1 2 3 4
  17. I tackle my most important task then. 1 2 3 4
  18. I usually do not delay problem solving. 1 2 3 4
  19. I batch or organize my tasks for better use of time. 1 2 3 4
  20. I am on time for 9 out of 10 of my engagements. 1 2 3 4
  21. I include professional development in my schedule. 1 2 3 4
  22. I have a regular physical exercise program. 1 2 3 4
  23. I have a regular meditation/devotional time. 1 2 3 4
  24. I make meetings meaningful and productive. 1 2 3 4
  25. My task assignments are mirrored in my work schedule. 1 2 3 4
    Column Totals __________

    Assessment Total __________

    Assessment Scoring: Add your circled numbers together and select your time management assessment. This is your snapshot estimate; refer to it throughout the study.

    • 85--100: Excellent time manager; may be too time-conscious.
    • 65--84: Good time manager; pick your practices to improve.
    • 45--64: Improvement needed; give time-use a higher priority.
    • 25--44: Get help; there’s a better world out there for you.

    Time Management for Ministers by Mark Short

    Nashville: Convention Press, 1987 (119 pages)
    A resource abstract prepared by Lloyd Elder
This brief resource abstract provides background information for the time assessment presented in this article. A statement of Short's philosophy as well as selected excerpts are provided from one of few books written for ministers to help with the practice of time management.

A Philosophy of Time--Short, page 15--calls for each minister to develop a sound philosophy for time management: “The minister who best utilizes the gift of time will develop a philosophy of time that assures the best use of each day. A conscious effort to constantly establish priorities in light of predetermined goals is essential. It is imperative that the minister understands that good time management aids success, while improper time management leads to failure.” Short's philosophy is a good starting point:

Everyone has twenty-fours in a day. Why then do some people seem to accomplish so much more? We rationalize that another minister can get by on only six hours of sleep a night. Or, he has a big staff. Excuse making will not relieve us of our responsibility in wisely using time! We can do all the things we really need to do if we approach time management properly. Remember, you will manage your time, or it will manage you.

Practical Concepts
Short’s book is biblical, brief, practical, and thoroughly researched. It explores 10 topics on time management, each one of significant help to the minister. Content includes the following topics:

The minister and time management
A time analysis
Successful scheduling
The organized minister
Coming to grips with procrastination
Learning to delegate
Decisions and time management
Effective meetings
Planning for leisure
The Christian concept of time

During his lifetime of distinguished leadership and service, Mark Short was a constant student of Christian ministry and its demands. He considered time management as one of its most critical skills. His widow, Marjorie, was pleased to have these brief materials used. Compare some of his insights embedded in this assessment and abstract with your own experience and findings. Your might be pleased to find that such concepts and habits are already being practiced in your life and work.

© 2006 servantleaderstoday.com; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at www.servantleaderstoday.com
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership

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