I love the new year! Out with the old and in with the new. As I chuck the past and lean into the future, there is one area that I have been increasingly sloppy in and therefore becoming less and less effective. This area is my calendar. This is the document that helps me maximize my time, keeps my social media time to a minimum and keeps me focused on my vision, values, and tasks for ministry.
Too often the tyranny of the urgent overwhelms our calendar and then we end up never getting the the important things we long to do in ministry, or even worse, we end up doing most of our ministry half assed. For me, I have let misc. appointments crowd out the appointments I must make and keep to keep my ministry moving forward. I have found myself wasting many hours wandering our office and campus visiting people, and just wandering.
I have found when I limit my office hours, then I crank out what I need to crank out, and then am free to meet with who I need to meet with. As I have erased my calendar, started from scratch, I have come up with a plan that will help me get after all that God has put on my heart to do in 2015!
In general, here is the breakdown:
- 10 hours program: This includes, church, youth group, sunday school, set up and tear down for those programs.
- 20 hours office: These are the hours where I am in the office, at my desk, planning, writing, emailing, phone calling, meeting with staff, support staff, etc. It is when my car is parked in my spot at the church.
- 10 hours contact: These are the hours I meet with students and leaders individually, and in groups. Some for intentional formation, and some for fun.
- 5 hours misc: There seem to always be emails, evening appointments and basketball games to get to. So instead of being surprised or busy or fighting with the wife for working too hard, I have limited some of my other hours to plan for the unplanned parts of ministry.
- 5 hours spiritual formation: These hours are both personal and professional, but must be in your calendar. Your personal bible reading, study, prayer, solitude, whatever it is that recharges your walk with Jesus.
A hard thing to remember when mapping out your calendar and hours is that your work hours are your work hours. We should honor our church and those people whose tithes are paying for our salaries and work hard for the hours we are assigned. This means that when we run, surf, hike, pray, get our teeth cleaned, go to the doctor's office or the store, these are our personal hours. Everyone else in the world does these tasks after work and on weekends.
Many of us professional youth workers have gotten in the bad habit of combing work and personal hours and then play, "Oh, poor me, I work 60 hours a week." I am pretty sure you don't. :)
This new year, let us have balance and intention in our hours and in our lives so we can fully get after all that God has put on our hearts for life and ministry.
Below is a calendar that I use to help keep all this straitened out and holds me and my staff accountable for our time and tasks. I would love to know what you do! Blessings!