One of the critical skills of a youth worker is time management. The wise old saying is true — if you don’t manage your time it will manage you. We’re actually not even sure if that is an old saying or not, but we heard it somewhere, and it makes sense! We’ve also heard youth workers (ourselves included) lament about their lack of time management skills. Because it’s an important skill, and because most of us aren’t very good at it, we thoughts we’d share a few basic tips to help you out:
Write stuff down
Ah, the power of technology! You can use Microsoft Outlook, iCal or Google to help you schedule your life. They sync your computer with your phone and can even be shared with a spouse or church secretary so everyone can be in the loop on what you’re up to. Not into technology? Pick up a Moleskin notebook or Day Planner and physically write things down if you would like. The point is time management starts when we start trying to remember everything and we start writing stuff down! As the great time managers, En Vogue, would say: “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”
Manage your meetings
When someone asks for your time, it is helpful to get an idea of what the conversation is going to be about so you can be prepared for how long it will take. Don’t assume meetings need to be a full hour (like Outlook, etc all do by default). Instead, get in the habit of scheduling meetings that vary based on the specific need. Be generous with your time, it is a valuable gift to give someone else. At the same time, don’t be afraid keep meetings on track and timely.
Make meals matter
One of the best opportunities you have in your schedule is lunch! You have to eat — and so do the people you want to meet with or want to meet with you. If you’re looking to meet with a mentor or ask for time with your senior pastor or supervisor, get them to food and chances are it’ll help you get to them!
Be OK with a day that got away from you
Recently we have both had days that got away from us. At dinner that night, or even later in the evening, you ask yourself “what did I accomplish today?” and you can’t really put your finger on anything significant. These kind of days are part of youth ministry, and will never be completely eliminated. Managing your time and schedule is important, but make sure that you are listening to God’s leading and asking Him to show you who needs His love through you today.
What are other best practices to help manage your time? We’ll be back tomorrow with our favorite tools that may be helpful for you, too!
This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.