Life and leadership are always changing, our responsibilities and priorities, inevitably, are going to shift. Even our unique abilities are under constant refinement, still being discovered and developed as we lead. This is why we need the 4th “R,” Refocus Time.
Refocus Time is dedicated to working on the mission, not just in the mission. This time is used to assess, adjust, and innovate for the future; to make the necessary tweaks to your plan so that it continues to work for you.
The main questions you want to ask yourself during Refocus Time are:
2. Am I getting quality Results Time, sufficient for advancing the mission and protecting the health of my church or organization? What are my priorities for the coming period of time?
3. Am I structuring and utilizing my Response Time efficiently to care for my team and serve their needs when possible? Am I available to my key leaders?
4. If not, what do I need to do to make the necessary adjustments?
Regularly break away from your routine and ask God these questions, reflect on your personal life and your profession, and I guarantee you will come away with fresh insight.
So how often should you refocus? Here are my suggestions:
Refocus weekly. Some Refocus Time should happen routinely at the beginning or end of every week. I recommend one to two hours per week.
Refocus Monthly. Each month, take one day, or at least a full morning, to get away from the to-do list and refocus. Pick a regular time each month and stay consistent. I have found this so profitable in my own life and leadership that I have told our entire staff they can take one half-day per month to get away from the office and refocus. I want them to have time to reflect, dream and listen to God. It is crucial that they habitually come up with new goals and make adjustments to their personal priorities.
Refocus Annually. At least once a year, go on a retreat for a combination of rest and refocus time. Better yet, take three separate but short retreats. Dedicate one to your “main things,” one to personal enrichment and one to your spouse.
When I retreat to focus on my “main things,” I go to a quiet location and spend 4-5 days planning all my sermons for the coming year. I bury myself in the Scriptures all day and my goal is to come home with 52 sermons selected, titled, and organized for the coming year. This pays big dividends all year long as I approach my weekly sermon preparation. You can do the same. It might not be sermon prep for you, but you can use this time to do similar big-picture planning and strategize how to get on top of your main thing.
When I retreat for personal enrichment, I focus on replenishing myself in some way. As a leader I constantly give of myself. I don’t want to end up an empty well. I use this time to stretch myself, learn new ideas and renew my energy.
When I retreat with my spouse, I spend some quality alone time with my wife – no kids allowed! I know that I am a better leader when I have a healthy and happy marriage. This relationship is vital to my success. If you are not married, take this time to enrich other relationships with key people that offer you support and encouragement in your leadership.