One of the hardest things for me to learn in youth ministry was how to set a schedule. Busy seasons would turn into the norm and instead of feeling excited about what I do I grew tired and resentful.
I know I’m not alone, it’s something I hear from youth ministers I talk to regularly. Setting a schedule is difficult and if you don’t set one yourself someone is going to set it for you. If you are feeling like your schedule is a little crazy (Or doesn’t exist) make sure you start:
PLANNING IN ADVANCE AND GIVING IT PRIORITY
You cannot afford to keep moving through life without a schedule. Take time to sit down and look at the week, month and year ahead. Plot out big events and deadlines so that you can pace yourself.
Make this a regular event and include others in the process. Not only will you be able to give yourself margin, but clarity to get the jobs done.
To give you an example I usually will not plan anything major during Advent season. My schedule is super busy and my capacity is limited. To schedule something big would only lead to unnecessary frustration and tension.
PROTECTING TIME OFF
Everyone needs a Sabbath, and everyone wants one. The problem is protecting that time off. There will be seasons where you work everyday of the week, but you need to make sure it’s not a regular occurrence.
Find times during the week that are non negotiable. Unless circumstances dictate that you need to work during that time, make sure people know that you are unavailable. It might mean missing out on some opportunities, but in the end you’ll have time to refuel and refresh.
COUNTING HOURS SPENT
Time is like money, if you do not count it you won’t know if you are using it wisely. Like a budget look at your hours and where you have them allocated. If you have to dedicate more time to one area over another use it.
If you find the 19, 25, 30 or 40 hours asked of you is not enough approach your pastor. Talk to him about developing a plan where you can either increase hours, delegate responsibility or find support.
If you struggle to keep a schedule you need to find someone to help you. That means asking a friend, spouse or coworker to sit down with you and plan out your week, months and year.
Have them approach you if they feel like you are spending too much time in one area over another. Let them give you advice on what’s realistic and what’s too much. They will also be able to assist you in maximizing your capacity by helping you find assistance.
FEEL THE TENSION AND KNOW THE BALANCE
There will always be tension, but it is possible. There will be seasons where you will need to work a little longer and mess with priorities. It’s during those times when you need to communicate with others and not take anything for granted.
Keep a schedule and find that you can survive those busy times. Track your time and discover how to maximize it. It will be hard, but you can do it.