BY MAX TORRES
Early on in ministry, I remember sitting in meetings and watching effective leaders writing in their detailed, page-per-day calendars. I wish somebody would have asked me, “So how do you schedule your days?” I wasted so much time! Effective planning requires know how, a good planning device and discipline. There are a number of methods you can use, but establishing the discipline of planning will be a mainstay in your life, and ministry. Take time to plan using these guidelines!
1. Use only one calendar! Transfer key church, youth ministry, family, etc. information all to one calendar.
2. Plan tomorrow’s schedule TODAY! At the end of each day take ten minutes to plan your tomorrow. Write in the items that you were unable to complete today, note the essential meetings and calls and delegate appropriate items.
3. DO THE MOST DIFFICULT ITEMS FIRST! If you’re like me, it is so easy to fill your day with phone calls, meetings and seemingly “urgent” items. This fills the day with busyness, but not always effectiveness. If I’m to be effective, I must do the most important things FIRST.
4. Be Flexible! Allow time for those “unexpected” things that inevitably come up. Planning your day with back-to-back appointments is not always a good practice. Remember to allow for travel time, traffic snarls, arriving early (wow), and the occasional “power nap” or as we know it, A SIESTA!
5. Make appointments with God! This is an opportunity to schedule time in your week to commune with God. Reading scripture and praying for personal spiritual renewal, not just preparing to teach a Bible Study. Quoting a great spiritual leader, “No amount of activity in the King’s service will substitute for time spent with the King Himself!”
6. Make appointments with your family! Allow your wife and children to see that they are valuable. A weekly date night is key if you are married and a monthly date with each of your kids is a good rule of thumb.
7. Just say “NO!” “NO!” to the requests that just fill up the blank spots in your calendar. There is a Spanish “dicho” or saying, “El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta!”
8. Avoid the Messiah Complex: the tendency to think, “If it’s going to get done right, I’ll have to do it!” Allow others to emerge.
In my last column, I mentioned the pocket computers and organizers. Many of these have built-in planning calendars that are integrated with alarms, phone directories and search functions that help you find specific dates or names. If you go the hard copy route; a page per day, week or month format will help you keep organized. I suggest you try the “page per day” format so that you can plan your work and then work your plan! Call Franklin/Covey at 800.360.8118 for the latest in time management systems.