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Clear Your Calendar

Chris Wesley —  December 13, 2012 — 9 Comments

It’s the end of the year and for many of us the days are moving faster and the amount of work is multiplying at a neck breaking speed.  In youth ministry you have those seasons that pull, push and beat you up.  The ones where you wonder whether or not you can hold on for another round.  You try to tell yourself, “This season will be over soon and then I will rest.” But the end never comes and the busyness continues on.

The solution to combating those busy seasons is by simply CLEARING YOUR CALENDAR.  That’s right take an eraser, whiteout, samurai sword or hand grenade and blow that thing up.  Actually, take a breather, refrain from using those measures and try these four steps instead:

STEP #1: Prioritize Your Week - Look at what you do and categorize them in the following ways:

  • Must-Do
  • Negotiable
  • Totally Unnecessary

If everything appears as a must do then sit down with a trusted friend or coworker and have them analyze your schedule with you.  Let them ask why and whether something can be adjusted or eliminated.  Put what’s important in your highly motivated times.  Delegate and eliminate the unnecessary and watch your calendar breathe.

STEP #2: Frame Out Your Days – It might differ depending on the day; however, by marking down consistent start and end times into your schedule you will create a framework of discipline.  The reason your day runs long is because there are no boundaries.  With no boundaries chances are you are taking too many breaks because you do not feel the pressure of a deadline.  By finding that you can work 40 hours in a week and still be effective is liberating.  It allows you to have a life outside of youth ministry.

STEP #3: Build In ME Time - You might be incredible at scheduling your professional life; but, how are you at your personal?  It sounds wrong to plan in quiet time, family time and even when you eat; however, if you find work bleeding into home life you need to take drastic measure.  By building in ME time you’ll find your relationship with God and others drastically improve.

STEP #4: Revisit Consistently – Granted you can’t always plan a busy season; however, as you feel the pace of your schedule change take the time to look at your calendar.  Repeat steps 1-3 and make the adjustments that are necessary to survive and thrive.  Have someone you know analyze your calendar with you.  Allow them to tell you where they see holes and areas of improvement.

While you can’t clear you calendar completely, you can take better control of when you need to do what you do.  It’s not the most attractive discipline; however, by managing your time you enable yourself to grow as a leader and youth minister.

How do you guard your time?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)

 

  

Chris Wesley

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9 responses to Clear Your Calendar

  1. AWESOME!

    The most effective way I have found to guard my time is to assign a time frame to each “assignment.” I.E. In the morning, I will give “Calls” a 30-minute time frame. If I don’t get my calls done in 30 minutes, then I’ll finish tomorrow.

    I’m in a busy season of ministry (like all of you) and this article helped immensely. Keep up the great work!

    • Andrew,

      That’s awesome to give calls a framework. It’s so important to set limits. Even if they need to be bend or broken, they give us an idea of when we are at our limits. Thanks for your reply.

  2. “That’s right take an eraser, whiteout, samurai sword or hand grenade and blow that thing up. ”

    Well, that’s the best sentence I think I’ve ever read on a YM blog. Nice work.

    I renamed my to-do list. Now I call it “The list of things I need to get done and then I can take Friday off.” That’s what makes me work when I work so I can rest later.

  3. I learned this in college: lay out a 7×3 grid: 7 days and 3 blocks of time for each day: morning, afternoon, and evening. Then take a minimum of 6 blocks of time (out of the 21 total) for down/off time. 3 of those blocks need to be together (one day). The other 3 blocks can be placed strategically; whatever works best. No matter what, 6 block minimum is non-negotiable. When I was growing up, my dad was married to the ministry and I saw the results of that, so guarding downtime is a soapbox of mine.

    When I am working, I follow an acronym, cuz I’m a sucker for acronyms:
    D = Desk/work surface clear of clutter
    R = Reply to emails/voicemails/texts, etc.
    O = Objectives for the day/week: What are they?
    W = Work with passion/intensity to completion
    N = Next day preview: what’s happening tomorrow? Get ready

    Forgive the morbidity of the acronym, but it works well for me and has for years now.
    Great post!

    Jerry

  4. I was turned on to teuxdeux.com this past year and I love it. I have it as my home page. My wife can add groceries to the list so I know to stop on the way home. If I don’t finish a task it is automatically moved to the next day AND it syncs to my phone and ipad and is free and web based. It’s a great to do list tool.

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