As ministry leaders, stewarding our time is vital. Time affects our personal walk with Christ, our families, our ministries, and our congregations. We do our best to manage our time wisely. Calendars are one of the most basic tools we use to keep ourselves organized. Calendars keep us where we need to be, when we need to be there. Whether on your desk or desktop, there are three mistakes you might be making with your calendar.
Mistake #1- You add tasks to your calendar. Instead, be sure to only include appointments, and important days (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) By the very nature of a calendar, time marches forward with each passing day. If you add “pick up dry cleaning” on Thursday to your calendar, and you get interrupted or distracted, the task gets left behind and you are bound to miss it. We rarely take a backward look at our calendar. So Sunday morning rolls around, you walk into your closet and realize whose dry cleaning is now having an extended weekend away. Try using a task management site/app like Todoist where you can schedule tasks. Bonus: It will even remind you when a task is overdue.
Mistake #2 – You don’t look ahead. How many times have you had a birthday or an appointment “sneak up on you”? Stay ahead of the game by working your calendar like your email inbox . Get into the habit of looking at your calendar a day in advance, a week in advance, AND a month in advance. Being aware is half of the battle. If you look over the whole week on Monday morning and see you have that Friday afternoon counseling session, you’ll have all week to get the book you said you’d have.
Mistake #3 – You don’t schedule planning time. Set up a weekly appointment with yourself to plan out the time for your tasks, appointments, study time, visits, etc. for the week. Treat this appointment with as much importance as a counseling session with a church member. It doesn’t need to be an inordinate amount of time, but it needs to be consistent. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Just like any other tool we use, sometimes they need routine maintenance. Keep your calendar clean by keeping it appointment/date driven. Look ahead to avoid any “sneak ups”. And schedule a time to plan. By doing so, you might find yourself with more time than you originally thought you had.