How Effective Planning Can Jump-Start Your Week
As you shut down your computer on Friday and reflect on your workweek, you either feel a sense of fulfillment or you wonder where the time went. We’ve all had weeks when we kick butt and take names. We’ve also all had weeks when we busily go from one thing to another but have nothing to show for our efforts at the end of the week. With some effective planning on the front end, you can jump-start your workweek and feel satisfied as you roll into the weekend.
1. Determine where you’re going.
Stephen Covey eloquently said,
“Begin with the end in mind.”
As you begin your week, visualize what you want to achieve. Sure, it would be great to plan that next big event, write months of curriculum, personally disciple every student in your ministry, and create a killer social media strategy, but with only 168 hours this week, you won’t be able to get it all done. You can’t do everything in one week, but with some planning you can do some things. Pull out your calendar, pray for God’s will to be done, and write down your goals for the week.
2. Choose your most important tasks.
The work of ministry is never truly done—you can always have more conversations, improve your systems, and spend more time in the Word. So choose and write down a few big tasks that are both important and urgent for this workweek. If you’re planning a service project, finding transportation is important, but the details you first need to determine are date and location. On Friday, you don’t want to look back and see all the little tasks you accomplished as you failed to complete the big and urgent goal.
3. Break your big projects into steps.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23 NASB).
If you try to accomplish big projects without breaking them down, you’ll become overwhelmed. Jim Wideman, pioneer and father of the modern children’s ministry movement, is quoted as saying, “If God leads us in steps, why don’t we think in steps?” To jump-start your workweek, take your most important tasks and break them down into measurable steps. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a week when you make a plan and stick to it. You may finish planning the next big event . . . and then outline your social media strategy, take the first four steps, and build a team to make it happen.
4. Schedule and build in time for margin.
One of the fastest ways to sabotage your week is to plan every hour without margin. Ministry is hard to plan. You know how it goes—your phone will ring, a meeting will go long, or a student will have a crisis. You don’t know when a crisis will happen, but you do know it will happen. Why not schedule time in your calendar for the unplanned. If your phone stays quiet, use the extra time to get ahead. If the texts come flooding in, use the margin you built in and still meet your goals.
Do you know what’s distracting you from your work? Are there time wasters pulling you away from what you’ve been called to do? Have you bitten off more than you can chew? Did you keep your priorities? Are you being effective? You will never know the answers to these questions unless you take the time to evaluate. Look back on your workweek to see your progress on those big projects. Look over your steps, and evaluate your margin. Ask yourself if you feel fulfilled. Ask God if he is pleased with your work.
A little planning at the beginning of your week can help you to have an effective workweek. Schedule a weekly planning appointment in your calendar today, and make that your first step in this marathon of ministry.
Corey Jones is the lead children’s pastor of Southern Hills Christian Church in Carrollton, Georgia. In his spare time, you can find him at a local coffee shop or fighting crime in Gotham. Corey wants to encourage and equip those around him and can be found on social media at @coreyrayjones.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.