Skip to main content

In one of my consulting opportunities I was asked to help someone think strategically. We were looking at this person’s ministry, trying to design a system, which would allow for continual growth and improvement. The ministry had grown rapidly and the leader barely felt she could keep up with her current demands.

She recognized the need to delegate, grow new leaders, and spread out responsibility and ownership, but she couldn’t seem to get past the current demands of details to develop a plan to do so.

Have you ever been there?

While attempting to create a system with her, I think we may have gotten to the root of her problem (and one I’ve had many times personally). She looked at me with complete sincerity and said, “I just don’t have time to prepare…”

Have you ever had that thought?

Do you see the problem with her statement? If you don’t we have a bigger problem on our hands.

Unfortunately, it’s a common misperception of all parts of life. We don’t feel we have time to do the required preparation to do the job right, so we continue in the mediocre success, while drowning in details. The reality, however, is that preparation time is often the most important part of the work.

As corny as it may sound – an inch of preparation is worth a mile of success.

It’s Monday.Take a few minutes to prepare.

It will make the rest of the week much easier and more effective. I start each week with some clear objectives. I want to know what I need to accomplish for the week. These are usually broad and I list them in the form of a checklist. (Sermon, write quarterly newsletter, prepare for staff meeting, prepare for finance meeting, etc.) Once I have this list I break them down by day. Some items, such as my sermon, may require time from multiple days. And, then I start each day with its own checklist.

It’s not complicated, but it is strategic. I find the more deliberate I am to pre-plan my day and week the more productive I feel at the end of the week.

You have time to prepare. I would say you don’t have time to waste not doing so.

Related Posts

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

More posts by Ron Edmondson

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • There are few things as important as preparation. I have several published articles on this subject. Here is an excerpt from a blog post of mine.
    My preparation consists of the following:
    1. prayer.
    2. reading daily devotional with my wife. We use Leadership Promises, by John Maxwell.
    3. write and verbalize my affirmations.
    4. write and verbalize my life mission statement.
    5. read at least 15 minutes.
    6. write and verbalize my 10 action steps.
    7. write and verbalize my short and long term goals.
    8. make sure my planner is current through the week.

  • patriciazell says:

    I just went through a semester at school where I didn't have time to prepare curriculum for a class when the students covered everything I had planned in a relatively short time. They were the only year-around class (rather than semester) in that course and they got things done fast. I really floundered because I was not prepared and I believed I didn't have "time" to think things through. Fortunately for me, they eliminated that section, so I don't have to worry about it this year. You are so right–thank you for reminding me to take the time to really prepare.

  • Very true Ron – thanks for sharing. I think we've all been there at some point. I know I have. In fact, I recently wrote a list of "Signs you may need to take a 'minute' and pause at work" (

    Here's a few things I do to create opportunities for preparation:
    1. Block out time – I find my most creative thinking is in the morning. Therefore, one day a week, I try to lock out 2 or 3 hours, early in the morning, for strategic planning and meeting preparation work.
    2. Avoiding the inbox until noon – I check for any high priority email or voicemail about hourly. However, I try to avoid going through any other messages until noon. This creates the chance for me to address items I planned to, first.

    Of course, I don't always get these items done either. However, I find that if I plan for these items, I generally am better off than when I do not. I hope these tips help a few others.