The Sprint

I’m still full of turkey and I’m going to have to digest it quickly, because this part of the year is a sprint.  With Christmas less than a month away the pace of how we doing things personally and professionally speed up.  There have been many times where I’ve woken up on New Years Day asking myself, “Wait, what just happened?  Where did Christmas go?”, realizing that all the margin I had harvested this fall had disappeared.  I’ve also found myself worn out, exhausted and tired.  And it’s a bad time to be unprepared because with New Years Resolutions and a new motivation people are ready to jump on board and be a part of your vision.  So we need to keep pace, we need to avoid burnout…but how?
In running one of the best things you can do when picking up the pace is control your breathing and focus on your posture and movement.  When you do this you may be pushing harder but if you are efficient with how you move, you will expedite less energy.  Ministry is very similar but to be efficient you need to be aware of your margin, schedule, actions and health.  So:

  • Maintain Margin:  Some of it’s going to disappear but plan to have some when you are done.  Emphasis on the word plan.  If you don’t plan to have margin in the New Year it’ll disappear.  Granted something crazy can happen to wipe it all out but most of the time we don’t have margin after the holidays because we didn’t plan for it to be there.
  • Stick To The Schedule: There might be some added things on your agenda, some things you might need to do differently; however, don’t let go of what you do on a weekly basis.  You might have to drop things here or there, meetings might go a little longer than usual, but get back up and keep moving with your schedule.  It’s like when you lose weight you might have a day where you break the plan, best thing to do is get back to it.
  • Be A Cheerful Servant: If you aren’t naturally cheerful, don’t act out of character, but it’s important to be positive.  Christmas is a season of joy and some people need the extra cheer to get through the stress.  Don’t be obnoxious and overwhelm them but see if they need any help getting a project done, see if they could use a cup of caffeine, see if they just need someone to pray for them.
  • Sleep, Rest and Be Smart: The part of this season that’s hardest for me is the temptation to watch late night holiday specials, eat delicious but sugar loaded food and to do more.  When building up for a race one of the best things you can do is get enough sleep, not over do it and be smart with what you do to your body.  I know it’ll be hard but again it’s important to have that on mind.

Again, the best way to survive a sprint season is to be conscience of what you are doing.  Be aware of when you are pushed, when you are pulled and when you need to stop.  With a new year on the horizon we want to make sure we are prepared to give people new hope and a fresh start.  I hope during this holiday season I can help you be aware, so be sure to check back for some more seasonal sprint tips.