The most valuable commodity for a woman in leadership is her time. It can also be the most difficult to protect. Often our day is perfectly planned, our to-do list organized to maximize completion. Then someone stops by unexpectedly for a chat; a task takes longer than expected; or a crisis call comes requiring that we drop everything to handle it. This is a normal part of the job when you are ministering to others. However, disruptions can become a cause for concern if we allow them to become an excuse to put things off.
Not everything that lands on our desk is urgent. Consequently, because we are busy we place these low-priority items at the bottom of the to-do list. Prioritizing is essential in leadership but parking too many tasks in the “later” lot can cause a traffic jam of unhealthy proportions. The convenience of postponement can quickly become a pit of procrastination.
You may not even realize you are not appropriately managing your tasks. Stop for a moment and think. Have tasks been left undone for weeks at a time? Are you doing the easy things while avoiding the difficult ones? Have you been asked several times for an answer to a request? These and more can be an indication you’ve stepped over the line from prioritizing to procrastinating.
These verses speak volumes about this very thing: “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, and carry on business and make money. Why, you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:13-16, NIV). While we know none of us have any assurance for the next minute in our life let alone the next day, we aren’t operating in that belief when we persistently put things off.
The best way to handle the numerous tasks that are part of our role is to regularly evaluate our response to our responsibilities. Proactive planning and proper prioritization can help us manage a to-do list that will keep growing. Our work will never be done, but we can be aware and seek the Lord’s help as we continually order our life. It is always better to finish as much as possible today as tomorrow is a gift, not a guarantee.