4 Keys To Thriving In A Fast-Paced Work Environment


We’ve all heard it said, “So-and-so is a high-capacity employee.” The first time I heard this in reference to a person, it felt a little impersonal. Clinical, even.

It wasn’t until later that I was able to actually assign a definition to it: A high-capacity employee is someone who can work in an extremely fast-paced environment efficiently and effectively.

These people are extreme assets to any team, but it’s easy for them to become tired and burned out. If you are fortunate enough to have people like this on your team (or if you’re this person!), it’s important to take the following precautions to maintain health and ensure a long tenure.

Here are 4 keys to thriving in a fast-paced work environment.

1. Run Hard, Rest Hard.

Some say the best way to ensure a stabilized, balanced life is to go at a sustainable pace. While I don’t disagree with that, I’ve found it’s sometimes just not practical. As church leaders, some seasons are just going to be busy. There’s no way to escape the ebb and flow of life.

Rather than stress about those seasons, lean into them. Work hard. Work long hours. Get your job done and done well. Then rest equally as hard. Rest long. Take a vacation. Don’t be afraid to say, “No.” This is the way to equalize all of those 2am mornings at the office the week before Easter Services or that giant youth event you’ve been planning all year. I’d argue that you can burn the candle at both ends – but only for limited periods of time. Then it’s time to step back and make sure you’re rejuvenated.

Rejuvenation looks different for every person, so it’s important for you to know yourself well enough to know what will bring you the most life. Whatever that looks like, don’t be afraid to make it happen. The fruitfulness of your ministry depends on it. 

2. Communicate.

As “high-capacity” people, it’s common to try to do too much. Many even fall into the lie of believing that they are the only person who can do a job effectively. While that is a completely understandable thought, you couldn’t be more wrong. You can’t do it all, and someone else can and will do a great job. It all comes down to your ability to communicate. Working hard can only get you so far, but working with a team will get the job done every time (this is why it’s important to make the right hires). Working with a team will not make you any less of an asset – on the contrary, it will actually enable you to get more done and therefore be more useful to your organization as a whole.

3. Prioritize, Let Go, Repeat.

I joined my church’s staff bright-eyed and ready to conquer the world. I stressed over every detail of every project and worried incessantly about anything that wasn’t completed to complete and utter perfection. As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before I realized I was going to end up hospitalized if I continued down that road.

I learned a hard lesson – some things are just not worth doing. Some details truly do not matter. Some great ideas have to be pared down to enter the realm of what you’re actually capable of accomplishing. Don’t hear me say you should give up on great ideas – never do that! But prioritize your great ideas so that you can complete them without the all-nighters. If this means doing less in order to do fewer things well, I’d say that’s a sacrifice well worth making.

4. Create And Maintain Community.

This key is possibly the most under-valued aspect of our lives as Christians. You need community outside of your family (find out how not to do small groups here). I’d even recommend finding it not only inside of the church at which you serve, but outside as well. You need people to relax with, people who will help make you better and assist you in your growth as a person and a follower of Jesus, and people to listen to you rant about the crazy hours you’re working (which, of course, none of us would ever do).

These people will love you through the tough times and celebrate your wins. They will encourage you as you walk through life and be brutally honest when you are working too much but don’t want to admit it. For many, time with this group of people is actually a crucial part of their rest process. Don’t miss out on this. Find people who you can learn from, those on the same playing field as you, and those you can teach, and live the heck out of life with them. You won’t regret it even for a second.

These are just a few of the ways I’ve found to ensure longevity in a fast-paced environment. What are your suggestions?

If you like this, then you’ll also like 7 Characteristics Of Highly Effective Employees.