I had the opportunity last year to spend some time with the incredible ministry coaches at the Blessing Ranch in Colorado. As with any great coaching or training event, I learned some new things about me. One of the most obvious (to apparently everyone but me!) was that I need an end to my day.

I manage a wonderful staff and cadre of volunteers and much of my leadership, management, and mentorship needs to fall outside of their work days. So my day was beginning about 6 am and typically ends with the final phone calls around 9 or 10 pm. The coaching staff was right. I was tired and the schedule wasn’t just affecting my relationships but my creativity and planning. There were times that calls were even received with a sense of dread — definitely not how any of us wants to feels when we are doing something we love.

So I decided to try to end my work day with dinner around 6 or 7 with a several short evening meeting spots planned for my staff when needed. It took some time for all of us to adjust and a few problems popped up. In our line of work, some critical and troubling issues come up unexpectedly. Though most of these problems did not develop overnight and can wait one more night for resolution, we quickly realized that some of our leaders often wish they did not have to wait a night to be get input, to verbalize, or simply to vent. There are times when its just hard to sleep with some of these things on our minds.

I don’t want this wonderful group of people feeling like they can’t call if they need to call. And, I want them to sleep. Their sleep is as valuable as my sleep to our team. We need them rested, at peace, creative, and proactive.

So we made a simple rule — if you can’t sleep, go ahead and call. How simple is that? If the task at hand needs input, if you really need to talk about an issue, if this thing really needs to be done so that you can do a great job and sleep well, call.

All of us at Three Taverns are volunteers. It’s a different type of work that has some incredible benefits and some demanding hours. We need to guard our family time and our volunteer hours while dream of being millionaires so that we can work full time together but we also need to open off hours to each other when the need exists.

How do you end your day? If you don’t manage volunteers, when do you ‘clock out’ and stop working so you can stay great at what you do?