Hardly a week goes by without me having a personal conversation, or an email discussion, with a leader who feels like he’s lying on the beach getting hit in the face with wave after wave, never being able to catch his breath.  Busy has become tired, has become exhaustion, has become “I’m not sure I can keep doing this for very much longer.” 

If we paced ourselves better, would we need to take a month to three months every few years to recuperate?

In some of these conversations, I’ve mentioned a book with the title “Crazy Busy” by Kevin De Young. You know something is not quite right when an author can write a whole book on this subject. Obviously the author and the publisher believed it would resonate with a lot of people, in general, and with leaders, in particular.

Many of us are super freaking busy, slammed most of the time and chasing our own tail in the traffic of life and there doesn’t seem to be any letup in sight. We are in the cage with the rats and it’s spinning faster and faster. We are on the merry-go-round and it’s going at such a speed that jumping off can get us seriously hurt!

Here are ten things that (by His grace) I try to keep in mind and practice regularly to avoid becoming a casualty:

  1. Plan each day with margin instead of filling each day so full that there is hardly white space anywhere on the page.
  2. Continually ask myself, what are the most important things I should be working on right now?
  3. Practice saying no to lots of things so I can say yes to a few things.
  4. Stop feeling like I have to apologize, explain or feel guilty for telling somebody no to a request.
  5. Keep my purpose and vision in mind as a filter, blueprint and guideline in deciding what to do or not do.
  6. Ask when somebody needs an answer in order to buy time to think, pray and consult with others before making a commitment to do something or be somewhere.
  7. Ask others for help with the things that I am not especially good at or like to do. I know it sounds strange that there may be people who love to do what I hate to do, but it is nonetheless true.
  8. Remember that He is “Lord of the harvest” ~Matthew 9:38~ (the end results) and I’m not. Taking on that role will wear me down and wear me out faster than anything else I know.
  9. Create finish lines for each day when I will intentionally shut down my computer and power off my cell phone and only do those things that will replenish, refill, relax and refurbish my soul. All work and no play may not only make Jack a dull boy but a dead boy if not careful.
  10. Keep in mind that the need is not the call and that there is a difference between what I’m concerned about and what I’m responsible for. I can be concerned about an issue without assuming personal responsibility to do anything about it. I am concerned about taxes, hunger, poverty, orphans and war, but have no plans to personally attack any of these issues and make these issues a part of what I give substantial amounts of time, energy or money toward (whereas others might).

I don’t have the emotional, physical or mental capacity to get involved in every concern or issue I am aware of, but need to focus on my vision, calling and gifts. I need wisdom and courage to stay focused on a few things and not spread myself too thin, becoming perennially sick and exhausted and not being of much good to Jesus or anyone else.