So here you are. It’s Monday morning. The beginning of the week. You look at your desk and survey the piles of work you have left over from last week; phone calls to make, students to follow up with, parents to talk with, and a list of church to do’s a mile long. This may not be the best way to start your week, but you’ve got to get started. But where?
I like order. I like having things set out before so I know what I need to do. So each Monday morning I try to do the same three things.
1. Clean Up the Mess.
– Our youth group meets on Sunday nights. That mean’s there is usually a few things that need to be straightened up before the week can officially begin. Take a few minutes to do that. Clean up the space you’ve used, put away the game props, and sort through the paperwork that was created the night before. We ask visiting students to fill out CareCards with their contact info. The cards need to be sorted and the data entered into the database. Parent comment cards and permission slips all need to be filed. I like to take care of those things first. It’s busy work, but usually something small enough that you can take care of in a few minutes.
I also try to go across the office desk and file what needs to be filed, trash what needs to be trashed, and order what needs to be done. This helps to remove the stress that mess often causes. Plus there is something soothing about a neat and clean desk.
2. Set Your Calendar. Now I lot of guys are the “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of guys. But I am not. I like to know what I am doing and when I am doing it. This helps me to block out my time in a healthy way. Blocking my time helps me manage my week. I know what needs to get done every week and roughly how long those routine items take. I deal with them first. The most important items come first, such as; personal quiet time, studying and prepping for our weekly youth meeting. I set aside plenty of time to study, read, write, and pray. Then I tackle some of the peripheral things such as games, video clips, announcements, skits, and worship music. All of this usually happens late Monday morning and into the afternoon. Once I have the important stuff done, I fill in with whatever else needs to get done, phone calls, mission trip planning, activity planning, one-on-ones, coffee with leadership, etc.
When you set your weekly calendar, you take control of the week before the week takes control of you. One thing to keep in mind, is to always leave some undesignated time. Invariably you will have office visitors, the unexpected crisis, or impromptu office party. When that happens, let it happen. You can always move things around and still stay in control of your week.
3. Watch Your To Do List. To Do Lists are list of items created to help us remember what needs to be done. Some weeks my To Do List can run into multiple pages. But there is something to be said when we create the list that never ends. What are we trying to accomplish? And how do we feel when at the end of the week there are still Dos to do?
I learned a long time ago, that To Do Lists are help only when we use them to be a reminder of what we need to do. My To Do List items usually get added to my weekly calendar as part of the work week. That way I stay in control. I also learned that my To Do List isn’t always the same as God’s To Do List. If I am working for His purpose and glory, why do I have 50 things that I want to do?! Before you create that To Do List this week, take a few minutes to be still and quiet. Ask God what His agenda for you is this week. Then slowly list the things you feel God is leading you to do.
Being busy isn’t healthy when we are just running around trying to conquer the mountain we’ve set before ourselves. Take control of your week. Hang out a bit with God and see what He has in store for you. Being organized isn’t a bad thing when you use it as a tool to accomplish the ministry set before you.
I hope you have a great week!