3 Tips for Surviving Busy Seasons

Our 2021 Vacation Bible School (VBS) hasn't even started and I'm already tired.

Don't get me wrong, I am beyond excited for it, but if you're like me your anticipation of busyness wipes you out almost more than the busyness itself. This isn't just for those of us serving for VBS though. We all go through these seasons of nonstop action, and it can be simply tiring. 
I personally have more busy seasons than slow seasons, it's part of my own personality, but it's also driven by my choices. Busy seasons aren't inherently bad, but if we let busyness just happen to us, then we can quickly get over-run. So I want to offer a few practical tips for not only surviving, but thriving through our busy seasons.

1 - Pay attention to your pace.

One year I was on my High School Cross-Country Running team and I found that if I started off slow, my whole race would be slow. The inverse was also true, if I started too fast, I would wear myself out early.

There was an ideal pace for me. It normally started really fast, so that I could get my legs going and not get lost in the crowd, but within about 100 yards, I needed to slow that sprint down to a pace I could keep for the long haul. The pace moved around as the race went on, pushing up hills, relaxing down on some straightaways and ending with a push of everything I had left.

How did I know when to speed up and when to slow down? Experience and Coaching. My coach encouraged me to pay close attention to how I felt during practice and to use that experience to inform how I ran my race. When I was exhausted, he didn't say "stop" he said "slow down, pay attention, and change it next time."

Pacing ourselves in busy season takes careful attention to the specifics. When do we feel tired? when do we feel energized? When do we need to take a breath? When we pay attention it helps us set a healthy pace. Invite God into it. He will coach you well because he knows everything about you [Psalm 139:1-6] and he will use each busy season can help you set a healthy pace for the next. 

2 - Plan your rest in advance

Every busy season must come to an end, and if it doesn't there is a problem. I can't pace myself well if I don't know whether I am running 100 yards or 28 miles. Those are radically different paces. We can best plan ahead by scheduling breaks and moving heaven and earth to make those breaks happen. Guard them like it's life or death, because it is! When we fail to set aside time to rest, we are acting like we are in control instead of God.

I am just as guilty of this as the next guy. I can easily get lost in busyness and think that at some point the busy season will naturally end, but the reality is that there will always be more work, more demands on your time, and more busyness. Planning breaks in advance, whether it is a Sabbath-day every week, a mental health-day, or an upcoming vacation, will help you to set a better pace during the in-between time. 

3 - Prioritize your purpose

Just like we need to stop to notice our feeling, and make time to plan our breaks, we need to consider why we are busy in the first place. We are limited creatures, and none of us are capable of doing everything. When left to chance, the urgent things in life will always claim our time over the important things.

The best way to make sure that the busyness is not wasted time is to prioritize your purpose. Don't simply do things because they are there to do, instead write down a list of what is most important for you to do in this season (day, week, month, year) and start taking things off your to-do list that don't make the cut.

I can remember when I went to Seminary, I was working a full-time job and had a full-time course-load. I was also in a band and was leading a weekly church service. These are all great thins that I enjoyed, but I simply could not do them all, at least not well and not without killing myself in the process. I decided that I needed to step out of the band and the church service. That was a hard thing to do, but it was the only way I survived that impending busyness. 
I would love to hear what tips you have for surviving busy seasons. Leave your ideas in the comments section or share this with someone you think it would help. I look forward to enjoying the busyness of VBS this year, because for me it is 100% worth the time and effort. Afterwards I plan to take a nice and long nap!

Ryan Rovito

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