Summary: Leaders invest their time in what produces the greatest return.
The Ultimate Timing
Leaders invest their time in what produces the greatest return.
It is said that the leader of an organization gets paid the highest salary in the corporation for making only 2% of the decisions. And that very simply is his or her job description.
Get your fields ready and plant your crops before starting a home. Proverbs 24:27 (CEV)
"We will have all eternity to celebrate the victories, but only a few hours before sunset to win them." -- Amy Carmichael
Without the limitation of time, there might be no need to prioritize. But time limits you and forces you to make choices.
The more time you spend on the wrong things, the less time you have to invest in what’s right - the longer it takes to succeed. But when you learn to spend your time wisely on the things that bring your life the most fulfillment and success, you often end up with time to spare.
If our spouse is the most important asset we possess, we don’t want to wake up one day to find that we’ve spent more energy in making a living that making a marriage. We might just find that we get what we’ve worked for and lose the rest.
If our children’s preparation training for life is important to us, if we are a loving and concerned parent, we will spend time, energy, effort in training them or else we might wake up one day to find that our own children are thrown into life’s storms without the equipping to handle them.
In short, being successful is not about how hard you work; it’s about how smart you work.
A man was told that if he worked his very hardest, he would become successful and rich. The hardest work he knew was digging holes, so he began digging huge holes in his backyard, each one bigger than the one before. But in the end, he didn’t get rich; he got a backache. He spent a lot of time working hard, but the work had no purpose.
[ACT 6:1] In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.  So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them  and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."  This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.  They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.  So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
ORGANIZE OR AGONIZE
We never outgrow the need to prioritize. It is something we keep doing whether we are leading a family, small group, pasturing a church, running a small business, or leading a billion-dollar corporation.
Stephen Covey says, “A leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, ‘Wrong jungle!’”
Generally speaking, there are five ways that people decide how to spend their time.
Once Peter understood the right way to organize his time, he made a huge impact.
Determine which one best describes how you spend your time:
I. URGENT - LOUD THINGS FIRST
Peter could have easily fallen into the trap of attending to urgent needs first.
When the Grecian Jews were voicing their complaints, he could have taken matters into his own hands to shut them up. But he knew it would have been a waste of his time. Instead, he sent others to take care of the matter for him and barely broke stride.
You’ve no doubt heard the saying: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well, that shouldn’t always be the case in leadership.
Over time, you will probably encounter a lot of "squeaky wheels" in the form of requests, suggestions, or complaints from the people in your area of responsibility.
Some of them will be valid and merit spending some of your time on them. But often, oiling the squeaky wheels in your life isn’t the best use of your time.
You will no doubt get urgent phone calls for help just as you are headed out on an important date. “I need a ride into town because I have to go to the bank.” “I need to talk to you right now, it just can’t wait.” Meanwhile you’ve just promised your husband that you would go out with him tonight and you’ve planned this for a whole week. If you let the urgent take over rather than the important, you will not only loose the precious time needed to build a strong marriage, but even if you can get away from the phone before the night is over, you’ll be so preoccupied with the issues of your friend that your marriage building time will not be productive. We cannot and never will be able to save the whole world ourselves. That is God’s job. We can however save and build that which is given to us to do so.