categories: Uncategorized, development, personal, time management
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July 6th, 2011

by Craig Groeschel

The Imaginary Deadline

For years I struggled with managing my time effectively. One tool I learned that dramatically increased my effectiveness is the “imaginary deadline.”

If I’ve got a project without a deadline, it’s easy to procrastinate or work halfheartedly. When an assignment has a hard deadline, I start faster, work smarter and focus better.

  • Instead of thinking, I need to have my sermon finished before I preach this weekend, I have a Wednesday-at-noon deadline. It’s not anyone else’s deadline. It’s mine.
  • Rather than saying this video needs to be finished by next week, I complete all videos by Wednesday at 2 pm. Again, this is my deadline.
  • Instead of deciding to read my Bible plan some time during the day, I have mine read before I leave my house.

These are all imaginary deadlines. But when I treat them as real, my productivity and efficiency increase.

I’d love to hear from you if you do something similar.


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categories: books, time management
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April 6th, 2011

by Bobby Gruenewald

A Weird Approach to Time Management

Over the next few days, I’d like to share some of my favorite parts from Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working. In the book, Craig looks at what it means to be weird in five key areas: time, money, relationships, sex, and values. Today’s excerpt tackles time:

We’re always rushed, always on the move, never having enough time. Almost everyone I know has little room for error in their schedule. Tragically, most people have little time for the things in life that they would say are the most important to them. When we overschedule ourselves in the belief that we can do everything, we stop being human and try to become godlike — not only impossible but also incredibly arrogant. Most of us are living at a pace that is not only unsustainable; it’s also unbiblical.

Instead of our typical conclusion that we simply don’t have enough time, what if we embraced the truth — no matter how weird or counterintuitive it might seem?

You have enough time to do everything God wants you to do.

God has given you everything you need to accomplish all that he wants you to do, including enough time (see 2 Peter 1:3). We don’t need more time. We need to use the time we already have differently. You have time for what you choose to invest your time in. Every day most of us say, “I just don’t have time to work out . . . to read the Bible . . . to go to church this week . . . to meet for lunch . . . to add one more thing.” But the truth is, we find time for what’s important to us. If golf is really a priority to us, we find time to play golf. If going to dinner with our friends matters, we make it happen. If tanning, working out, or getting our hair cut is a priority, we seem to find time. Catch yourself the next time you’re about to say, “I don’t have time” for something. Tell yourself the truth: either it’s not a priority and you’re guarding your time for good reason, or you simply aren’t willing to choose to spend your time on it.

Great challenge for me. How about you?

If you are tired of being normal…you should get weird! You can get it in print or download it from:


Barnes & Noble



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categories:, communication, development, leadership, staff, team, time management, working together
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November 2nd, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

Letting Go of Control

To move forward, you often have to let go of something significant.

Too often, what we hold tightly keeps us from following God’s promptings toward something new.

This week I’ll write about a few things leaders need to let go. We’ll start with control.

Too many leaders try to control too much. Our perceived need to control is one of the greatest limiting factors to what God wants to do.

When we control everything:

  • We train people to do what they are told rather than think.
  • We build followers instead of leaders.
  • We put a lid on our ministries.
  • We put our faith in our abilities to manage rather than in God and other people.

What are you controlling that you need to let go of?


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categories: time management
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November 17th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel


If you’ve been around churches for any time at all, chances are you’ve been a part of some inefficient, ineffective, and downright painful meetings.

This week, I’ll share some tips I’ve learned the hard way about how to lead effective meetings.

My first and biggest recommendation is this: Work to keep your meetings small and communication from meetings large.

Too many ministries make the mistake of including too many people in too many meetings. The purpose of the meeting should determine the size of the meeting.

If the purpose of the meeting is to make decisions, keep the meeting as small as possible. Our Directional Leadership Team (the group that runs the church) consists of five people including me. Many have suggested that we make the group larger. I simply won’t budge.

(I also like odd numbers. To me, 3 or 5 is better than 4. For some reason, relationships seem to gel better in odd numbers.)

If you have a board or elders, I would work to keep the group no larger than 12. In my opinion, 9 is better than 12, 7 is better than 9. (We have 11.)

This doesn’t mean you don’t seek tons of outside input. What you’re doing is building a cohesive team that can move quickly.

More to come.




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categories: time management
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August 29th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Unusual Time Saving Tips (5 of 5)

Don’t Take Incoming Calls

On very busy days, you might choose not to immediately receive incoming calls.

When I’m crunched for time, I’ll give my cell phone to my assistant, Sarah. She’ll screen calls for me all day. Generally she can find out what a person needs. When I come out of the office, she might ask me a few quick questions and she can respond to my calls for me.

Instead of handling calls as they come in, you can return them all at once. I like to return calls when I’m traveling in the car making that time more productive.

What suggestions do you have on this subject?


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categories: time management
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August 28th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Unusual Time Saving Tips (4 of 5)

Do Fewer Meetings

Most people in ministry do way too many meetings.

Instead of scheduling a typical 1 or 2 hour meeting, you might try a 15 minute touch-base meeting. You may cover even more in that brief time.

Or better yet, cut the frequency of your meetings in half. Instead of meeting weekly, try meeting every other week. If that is not possible, you might cancel 1 of 4 meetings a month.

Doing fewer meeting forces you to think further ahead and encourages better planning and intentional communication.


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categories: time management
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August 27th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Unusual Time Saving Tips (3 of 5)

Plan for Shorter Appointments

For some reason, when someone schedules an appointment with a pastor, they generally assume it will be a one hour appointment.

Most one hour appointments could be handled in much less time.

Years ago, I shortened my appointments to 45 minutes. We’d explain ahead of time that I have 45 minutes allotted for the meeting. No one complained. We got to the important stuff a lot faster.

After some time, I shortened most meetings to 30 minutes and some to 10 or 15. It is amazing how much important ground you can cover when both parties understand how much time you have to work with and you get right to the important issues.

It also helps to back appointments up to each other. If you have a 1:00 p.m. appointment, you might schedule your next one at 1:45 instead of 2:00. When some people want to go past their time, someone else can politely interrupt and explain that your next appointment is waiting.


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categories: time management
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August 26th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Unusual Time Saving Tips (2 of 5)

Let’s Have Lunch in My Office

Eating out can be a huge time waster. (I’m not saying that having a nice, long lunch isn’t occasionally important, necessary, or enjoyable.) Travel time to many restaurants takes 15 to 30 minutes (or more). Many restaurant meals can take 45 minutes to an hour. A simple lunch can easily eat an hour and a half of your day.

I suggest some other options:

  • If you don’t have a lunch appointment, consider bringing lunch from home. Not only can you save money but also time. You can eat in a few minutes in your office and continue working.
  • If you don’t have a lunch appointment and didn’t bring your lunch, you might ask another team member to bring you a sandwich if he or she is going out.
  • If someone invites you to lunch, you might suggest they join you in your office. If you have an assistant, he or she can grab lunch for you; or you can order-in for delivery. You can spend 45 minutes or an hour of quality time with someone without leaving your office. (If you invite someone to lunch, you’ll probably prefer to honor them and travel to a place that is convenient for them.)


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