Working 9 to 5 or 7 or 9 or midnight?

How many hours do you work on an average day?  

The standard 9 to 5?  Eight hours a day? 

Or is it more like 10 hours a day?  

Or even 12 hours a day?  

And when you get a big project, it could be working til midnight, around the clock, to meet the deadline. 

We know that prolonged overworking is not good for us, our families or the ministry.  

But that's not always easy to monitor when you're in the midst of it.  The projects keep coming.  Sunday morning always returns.  VBS rolls back around.  Camps relentlessly return.  More volunteers are always needed. And just when you are caught up on your emails, a slew more coming dinging into your inbox during the night.  

Even though we know extended work hours can cause a setback and be harmful over the long-term, we still find ourselves trying to find a healthy work and life balance.  

If you are going to finish the race, you must find a pace that is sustainable for the distance.  One of the big questions I ask to the people that I'm coaching in the Advance Children's Ministry Coaching Program is this.  

What is your current pace?

A walk?  A jog?  An all-out sprint?  

Can you sustain your current pace long term?

Ministry work can be high-demanding, exhausting and stressful.  There are always meetings to attend, phone calls to make, emails to answer, counseling appointments to lead, services to plan and events to prepare for.  And if you are not careful, all of that can drain the life out of you.

Here are some steps you can take to NOT be a 9 am to midnight worker. 

 1. Take a hard look at what you are current situation is.  What is causing you the most stress?  What is causing you to be unbalanced?  What is causing you to work lots of extra hours?  

What are you having to trade for this?  Time away from your family?  Bringing your work home?  Not getting a day off?  Not using your vacation time?  Missing your child's ball games?  

How is this affecting your health?  Your relationships?  Your well being?

2. Working extreme hours can affect you mentally Do you feel these emotions on a regular basis?  





Knowing the extreme hours you are working can cause negative emotions as you realize your work is taking away from your work-life balance.  But often you feel helpless to change your situation because of the demands that have been placed on you by someone else or even yourself. 

3. It may be time to reprioritize your life.   It's time to put things into perspective and determine how you need to adjust your priorities.  Ask yourself these questions.

Am I putting work before my family?

What will I regret if I continue at my current pace?

What am I doing that I should give away to someone else?

Am I controlling my schedule or is my schedule controlling me?

Does my calendar show that I am out-of-balance? 

Is my family the most important thing in my life?  Do my actions and time spent reflect this?

4. Make some changes.

Have an honest conversation with your boss and ask for support in adjusting your life and work balance.  If you are self-employed, have a conversation with yourself.  Not in public of don't want people to see you talking to yourself. 😀

Talk with your family and commit to making some changes.  More time with dad or mom?  Your kids will love it. Not as many late nights at work?  Your wife or husband will love it.  

Let your day off be your day off.  Put down the cell phone.  Spend extra time with your family.  Say "no" when someone asks for the time you've already committed to your family.  Use up ALL of your vacation time.  That's what it's there for.

At the end of the day, your priorities should look like this...




You only get one shot at this.

Don't blow it. 

Get to and stick with 9 to 5.