Woman on balcony doing vision planning on laptop
  • Balcony time is an intentional, weekly practice of spending time working on your ministry rather than just in your ministry.
  • Often, doing church ministry and other non-profit work can feel like putting out one fire after another and prioritizing what feels urgent over what feels important.
  • Balcony time helps alleviate those issues by increasing the intentional time spent on vision planning and preventative maintenance.

Imagine you could get an arial view of your ministry. What would you see? Not physically, but what is the 30,000 ft view of what is happening, and coming up, and challenging, and successful in your ministry. That’s exactly what the practice of balcony time will give you. How would you operate differently if you sat in the balcony and looked over the edge to see what is happening, what just happened, and what is coming up without putting out fires, responding to emails, ordering supplies, and just generally making it all happen?

I’ll tell you how this affects me, personally. When I spend this strategic time weekly, I don’t wake up at night wondering what I’ve forgotten or who I will disappoint. I have a confidence in knowing that I’ve looked at everything and the important tasks have landed on a list that guides me throughout the week. Then, when emergencies happen, I can make a conscious choice about what can be deleted, delegated, or postponed.

How Balcony Time Works:

  1. Find a place and time where you will be free from distraction. If you can, make this a weekly appointment on your calendar, and guard that time.
  2. Create a Master Task List. This is a mix of the great ideas and urgent tasks that swirl around in your head throughout the week. Tame them by putting them on paper.
    • Write down everything you can think of, from the down-the-road ideas to immediate and urgent tasks
    • Add projects with just a name or break down these large ideas into their minute details. This list is yours and whatever helps you move your tasks from swirling around your head to having a place on paper, write it that way.
  3. Use your weekly balcony time to review and Update your Master Task List.
    • Read emails (but don’t respond right now) capture all tasks on your Master Task List. Appropriately file or flag emails so that you can respond later.
    • Review your calendar for the upcoming week (and add tasks to your Master and Weekly Task Lists as necessary).
  4. Prioritize any unpleasant tasks and determine when you will complete them.
  5. Dream and pray over the Master Task List and then pick a limited number of items to put on this week’s Weekly Task List.
    • Ask what needs to be accomplished in your ministry this week and for your ministry this week.
    • Ask what else can be accomplished in the remaining time you have available so that you’re intentionally planning to have time for other people and places, too.
  6. Create Today’s Task List.
  7. Give yourself permission to be content with the week you have planned, and let the other tasks on your list wait patiently for their turn.
  8. Review next week’s schedule and make sure you have a slot for your balcony time
  9. Spend a few more minutes dreaming and praying for your ministry

Establishing the habit of weekly balcony time is a strategy that will give you space and confidence to rise above task management and get into a regular rhythm of dreaming and praying about what is next for your ministry.

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