“Never let somebody waste your time, twice.” -Unknown

Every leader will face incredible obstacles. Every great leader will overcome these obstacles through remarkable motivation, innovation, tenacity, and perseverance. I also believe that every leader will face different challenges at each level of their leadership. For progressing leaders, what seemed like a monster then, in hindsight, was like a tiny hill in comparison to the opportunity they’re facing now. However, there is one common tension that every leader on every level has to contend with and manage uniquely, an obstacle we can ALL relate to. That obstacle — TIME. Time, as we know, is undefeated. There’s no athlete that’s beaten it, no man that’s outlived it, and no company that’s stopped it. Time keeps on ticken, ticken, ticken … And the reality for every leader: Time is of the essence and it is fleeting, quickly. We often ask questions like: Is my legacy in tact? Is our future secure? Is my family okay? Will I have any regrets? Did I do all I was supposed to? Did I leave anything on the table? Many of us fear that we will get to the end of our lives and look back with regrets. No good leader, no sane person wants this.

Time can haunt us if we don’t treat it with great dignity and respect.

So how do we treat time with respect? Well, there’s a variety of ways, but one of the best ways to treat time with respect is to not waste it. Wasting time hurts your family, your organization, your team, your money, and your future. The thing is, people are incredibly valuable, but they also take a lot of time. While it is necesarry and important to spend our time loving, developing, and encouraging people, we also have to guard our time or some of these same people will hurt the very mission we are attempting to serve by continuing to waste your time.

That said, I put together a list of five prevalent Time Wasters that hurt our organization, our personal life, and our development — here they are: 

1) Chasing talent over character. 

-Less talent and more character is better than more talent and less character any day of the week.

-When we promote people without any character or accountability, we lose creditability and eventually lose the trust of those with the character that sustains the organization, ministry, and team we are positioned to serve.

-High turnover in your organization is often a sign of top leaders tolerating bad character.

-For your time, put an expiration date on talented people who aren’t developing any progress of character after spending time with you, your team, and your work.

2) They ask advice but are not invested.

-Do they serve in your ministry?

-Do they work hard at your suggestions?

-Do they give consistently through your church?

-Are they teachable?

-Do they celebrate with you and are they disappointed when you are?

-Do they reflect potential and share the intrinsic values you desire out of your culture?

-If not, they might have an agenda … A consultant is one thing, a consumer is another. We are not developing consumers on our teams and in our inner circles, we are developing contributors that multiply themselves into others.

-We call these individuals, “Ask holes.” They ask but have no intention of following through. Identify them and keep them on a short time-leash.

3) Giving a position without positive patterns.

-1 Timothy 5:22a “Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader …”

-Do they have a history of success? If you’re not sure, give these individuals an opportunity to prove themselves.

-Craig Groeschel says (paraphrase), “if you thought hiring was expensive, you can’t imagine how expensive it is to fire someone.”

-Here’s a question to ponder: Do these people care about the progress of the organization more than they care about the position they fit within the organization? 

 4) Wishes don’t come true, spending too much time in the clouds. 

-Disney is for kids. Wishes don’t come true. You’ve got to put legs and systems to your dreams or they stay in your dreams and never become a reality.

-Dreams come true because people wake up and do something with their vision.

-Our culture consist of a lot of people wanting to be heard and wanting to discuss an array of topics without any intention of pursuing the solution. I say, stop wasting time talking about who you are and what you want to do and go do something worth talking about.

-Excuses like: I wasn’t privileged, I wasn’t resourced, no one helped me, I had a bad upbringing, I’m hurting, I failed before, and on and on and on and on … They keep us wishing, but never lead us to victory. We have to accept what’s happened to us or didn’t happen for us and make moves that matter. Excuses never built anything expect a sky line of regrets and excuses waist precious time.

5) Making decisions and solving problems you shouldn’t. 

-Delegate as many decisions as possible, only do what only you can do. This has become a bottleneck in the organization that I lead, because I can do and see many things better than others. But, unless we give it away, it can’t grow much beyond our capacity. Hoarding responsibilities and opportunities is the making of a dream killing culture. For many leaders, this is what keeps them frozen and frustrated — we’re afraid to give it away and take the risks of trusting our team. If you have the wrong team, it’s your fault. If you have the right team with the wrong results, it’s especially your fault. Build your team and trust them or change your team and then equip them.

-Problem solve as little as you can because problems take up dream space and leadership capacity. The bigger our organization has gotten, the more I’ve had to say, “I don’t care, I trust you.” I have so many dreams in my heart, but if I keep consistently deciding small things that aren’t necesarry for me to make, I’ll never have the time to write books, be more creative with my communication, work on the future, or be with my family … Minutia is for your team, mountains are for you.

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I’d love to hear from you as to some time wasters that you deal with and how you’ve overcome them. Comment below!