Somedays, I wake up with enough energy and motivation to run a half marathon, write a book, and build a bookcase by hand. Other days, I wake up and just wish I could move my fridge into my living room so I could watch ten hours of tv without getting up for food or drinks. Some days I have more “Go” than “To Do”, but most days, I’m running behind on motivation and energy (what I call “Go”).
I imagine I’m not the only person who struggles with balancing the things that need to get done with the energy to do them.
Here’s how I try to manage my “Go”
Learn Yourself – Before you can really figure out balancing your ‘Go’, you’ve got to learn a few things about yourself. What tasks take more energy for you than others? Why are they more exhausting? What tasks energize you or give you more “Go”? Here are some steps to help with this:
- Track Your Work – At the end of your day (or perhaps week), pause for 5-10 minutes and write down all of the tasks you completed. You can also do this during the day.
- Scale Your Work – Put a numeric value next to the tasks you checked off that corresponds to the amount of “Go” you spent or gained. (This will make more sense in a moment, when I show you). This doesn’t need to be a scientifically balanced formula. Just something to give you reference. Here’s an example:
- Read 10 chapters in a book (+4)
- Wrote and emailed church newsletter (-1)
- Contacted tech support for church website (-3)
- Emailed update to worship leaders (0)
- Returned phone call for Army (-1)
- Mowed Yard (+2)
So you can see that from the things I’ve listed, I came out ahead on my “Go” (4+2-1-3-1=1). You can also tell that there are some tasks I abhor (the emails and phone calls were for good things, but they take time away from doing the other things I’m excited about.)
Build Your Schedule – One of the most important things to remember in ministry (and life) is that you are the one ultimately in control of your schedule. I know that there is a lot of unpredictability with ministry, but you have a lot of say in how your week unfolds.
I try to map out my days and weeks aiming for a Net 0 for energy (I don’t like feeling like I could have done better/more). So that means that I need to schedule tasks that I enjoy, like sermon writing, blogging, and coordinating ministry with leaders mixed in with tasks I don’t, like sending emails or pastoral visits.
I also build my week with a Sabbath in mind, designed specifically to recharge me. Having a day set aside specifically to recharge is helpful, because it means that I don’t mind running a bit of a deficit if I know I’ve got rest coming.
Give Yourself Grace – It’s important to understand that sometimes weeks (or even months) won’t go the way they’re supposed too. Sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do everything you need to do, no matter how much you will yourself to do it. Remember that life is a long term sport and not over quickly – a marathon not a sprint. You can have bad miles and still run the race well.
There you go. Three things to help you find some motivation.
I love y’all and there’s nothing you can do about it.