Is your time management messy? (Pexels/kurniawan dwi putra)

I get distracted very easily, so to get things done efficiently and enthusiastically, I need a good plan, which I will share next week. Today I want to share seven of my least productive habits, because failures are much more fun to read about.

Answering Texts Immediately

Little did I know during the first half of my ministry that an era was quickly ending when pastors did not have a phone with them all of the time. At first cell phones were fun and empowering to have anywhere, anytime.

Eventually, my cell phone became a ministry leash that grew shorter each time someone used or shared my number.

Keeping a List in My Head

I don't trust anyone's memory, especially my own. People are not computers, but we do all have one in our pocket, pack or purse.

When someone says, "I will try to remember ..." all I hear is that they don't think what I said is important enough to write it down. Whether you are a server at a restaurant or a pastor of a church stop trusting your memory. If you try to keep up with the list in your head, you will inevitably lose it.

Responding to Every Email

Like most of you, I have a love/hate relationship with email.

I love email because of its efficiency. People can plan anything from anywhere without being in the same room. Minutes from these virtual meetings are kept for later use.

I also hate email when I feel like I have been drug into a group discussion that has little or nothing to do with me or my ministry. I have wasted countless personal and kingdom hours sifting through emails that I should have forwarded or deleted immediately.

Becoming a Social Media Butterfly

I enjoy social media to the point of distraction. Social media can be a great shepherding tool, but sometimes I allow my soul to be lost in a black hole of curiosity. I often do not realize the extent of my over-engagement until I see how much time has flown by.

Attending Meetings With No Agenda  

If you are in charge of a meeting that has no agenda or time limit—repent. Next week, I will share how I avoid this trap.

Studying Whenever I Can

Pastors struggle with sermon fatigue, in part because they have stopped devoting themselves to the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). An open-door policy baits members and staff into hijacking God's clear, biblical agenda for your week.

Working Through My Sabbath

Sabbath literally means to stop.

Sabbath is a gift, as well as a command. It is God's plan for you, pastor, not just for your people. If you ignore this cease-and-desist order, you won't be the only one who pays the bill. Overworking until you are overwhelmed is not heroic—it is insubordinate and inefficient.

I hope you will learn from some of my mistakes. I am curious to know, what are some of your least productive habits? Surely, I'm not the only one who has mismanaged my time. Next week I will share my seven most productive habits.

This article originally appeared at

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