Scheduling Yourself for Success

August 14th, 2017

As many of us in the ministry world are about to head back into the fast paced environment of school year ministry, we have to be extra diligent in making sure that we are scheduling ourselves for success and not burning out in our ministry roles. Be it traditional church ministry or parachurch ministry, I have found that ministry will take up any and all of the time that you give it. This means that you have to put parameters on the space that you will allow for ministry to have in your life so that you can make sure that you are living a whole and well-balanced life. Oh, and a note about balance. I have learned that balance does NOT mean that everything gets the same amount of time, it means that all of the important things in your life get the time and attention that they deserve. As we grow in this area we can manage to finish the school year excited about the summer instead of on the verge of a breakdown. So here are some quick tips on how you can schedule yourself for success this school year!

1. Schedule Yourself First

Schedule your days off, any trips, important dates like birthdays and anniversaries or other special family times, and annual check-ups, doctor’s appointments, and therapy visits. While all of these are important in helping you to maintain good balance in your life, those doctor’s and therapy appointments are key. My health changed drastically in a year’s time and if I hadn’t already had certain doctor’s appointments scheduled we could have missed some key health issues that were cropping up until it was too late. We have the privilege of doing such incredible work and we owe it to the work that we do to bring our best and healthiest selves to the table. Also, I would encourage you to treat therapy appointments the same way that you would treat all other check-ups. Again, we have the incredible privilege of doing some amazing work with young people. That privilege opens the door for us to share in some of the greatest joys as well as the deepest pains of the people that we are serving. And while we have prayer and small groups to help us navigate through these dark spaces with people, we have also been blessed with trained therapists and counselors to help us effectively navigate these situations and the impact that they have on our mental, emotional and spiritual health.

[bctt tweet=”As youth workers, w have the privilege of doing such incredible work and we owe it to the work that we do to bring our best and healthiest selves to the table.” username=”ys_scoop”]

2. Assign Time Frames for Your Work

This is basically block scheduling. If you need to work on message prep, give message prep a block of time on your calendar. If you need to create a parent newsletter, give yourself 90 minutes to work on it. Whatever you have to work on, designate a time frame within your day to work on it. The reason for this is that when we feel like we have “unlimited” time to work on something, we end up wasting half of it. However, when we have a designated 60 minutes or whatever to work on something you will generally focus on it for the time that you’ve given it.

Pro Tip

Schedule your social media breaks as well. We all know how easy it is to get lost in the rabbit hole of social media. We get online to check one message and then 45 minutes later, we’re taking the latest Buzzfeed quiz and sharing the color of our aura with our Facebook friends. The key is not necessarily to give up social media altogether, it’s to put parameters around it. So if it’s 10 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes before you head home in the evening, that’s fine. The key is to put parameters around it so that you don’t waste time on it.

3. Schedule Consistent Breaks in your Schedule/Life

We need consistent spaces of self-care in our lives. My recommendation for this is 1 uninterrupted hour each day, 1 day each week (Sabbath y’all), 1 weekend each quarter, and at least 1 week a year. I know that in the beginning, this can seem like a lot. Life coaching clients that I have worked with looked at me like I was crazy when I told them to take an hour for themselves each day, so I said hey, start with an uninterrupted 15 minutes. The point is to build margin in our lives. We need to create space for deep breaths, big smiles, and moments of delight and peace in what can sometimes be a slightly chaotic life. That moment to read a fun book, color, sit in the sunshine, listen to a new album, or watch a show on TV helps you to relax, relate and release and come back ready to give it your all again tomorrow. I’ve also learned that when I’ve come back from a vacation be it for a weekend or a full week, I am way more energetic, engaged and filled with fresh perspective and new ideas. You owe it to yourself to schedule breathing room in your life.

Following these three tips have been game changers for me. They help me to give my all when I am working and they help me to relax more easily when I am not because I know that I gave my all when I was. I don’t feel guilty about focusing for the 90 minutes that I have assigned to a task. I also breathe easily during my 1 hour of reading, running, or watching YouTube videos because I’ve scheduled it. Following these tips have added to my peace, joy and productivity and it’s made me an all-around better person to be around. Here’s to hoping for the most productive, joy-filled, and exciting year yet! And if you have any questions or you’re having some struggles setting up your schedule for success, please feel free to connect with me on the interwebs!

Kristin D. Hemingway is a Detroit native currently residing in Atlanta, GA. With over 12 years of youth ministry experience, she currently serves under-resourced middle and high school students in the metro area. She loves traveling and helping people to live a life that they absolutely love!


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.