I know that when some of you read the first word of the title for this post (“scheduled”) you had tremors run through your body. However, scheduling is not the enemy. It actually is what helps us accomplish things throughout the day that are meaningful and helpful to those we’ve been called to pastor. Before I started scheduling out my week I found myself frustrated because there never seemed to be enough time to accomplish what I thought I wanted to accomplish. But the problem when I didn’t schedule out my week was that I didn’t really know what I wanted to accomplish. I just lived and worked in each day, working on things that came to mind rather than working toward a vision with specific goals to accomplish. So when I began to schedule out my week every Sunday I found that I got more things accomplished that actually mattered. I found that my family had more quality time with me because it was scheduled in my calendar. I actually even had regular times with Jesus in his word because I scheduled it in my calendar. Here are some of the things that helped me, and still help me, keep track of my day and focus on the tasks at hand.
1. FIND WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU. Some people like a day planner so they can actually write out their schedule. Some people would rather use a calendar that is on the computer or on their smart phone. Whatever works best for you is the best thing for you to use. Don’t try to be like someone else, but rather find what is best for you and use it.
2. SCHEDULE ACCORDING TO YOUR KEY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. I got this idea from Doug Fields in his book, Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. You need to sit down and figure out the key roles and responsibilities that you have so that you schedule according to those things. For me, I’m a husband/father (personal), preacher, supervisor, leader and shepherd. So I make sure to schedule my week with each of those roles in mind.
3. START WITH THE NON-NEGOTIABLES. The first things that go on my weekly calendar are my times with Jesus and my family. I’ll then add my times to workout and some personal time. Then I start going through the most important things that I need to get done every week. So, since I have the responsibility of preaching every week at our midweek worship service, I plan the worship service in my schedule as well as my study and prep times. I keep moving through my schedule until my week is filled and my goals are met.
4. BE DISCIPLINED. There is no point in scheduling out your week if you’re not going to keep to it. I do struggle in this but I work really hard at staying on task. If I schedule two hours to work on my sermon on Tuesday afternoons, I stop when those two hours are up so that I can get home to be with my family.
5. BE FLEXIBLE. This may seem like I’m contradicting myself in point number four, but I’m not. As I pray through my schedule for the week, my prayer is always, “Jesus, interrupt my day so that your will is accomplished.” There will undoubtedly be things that happen unexpectedly that you need to deal with. So put down the schedule and deal with it. However, everyone else’s crisis may not always be urgent. Pray through what is necessary and help. If it can wait until later, do not feel guilty for putting it to the side to deal with at a better time.