Most of us feel overworked, but in reality I think we are just drawn out. A couple of weeks ago I did a survey asking the question, “How many hours do you work?” Most responded between 40-60 hours a week, which seems pretty standard. But I wonder if we make the most of those 40-60 hours each week or if we really could maximize our production while minimizing our hours.
The only way to find out is by:
Creating A Weekly Calendar
What’s your immediate thought? Sounds great, but I don’t have time to make a calendar? Yeah, I hear you but in reality it’s an investment an instantaneous return. But before you go throwing a schedule together know what it is you should be scheduling:
- Your Big 5 – What are the 5 most important subjects you handle in your ministry? For me it’s writing/research, connecting with parents, inviting students, program development and minister recruitment. I try to block out significant (2-3 hours) and focused time for these areas. Above all else these come first on your work list.
- Lunch – I’m so guilty of eating lunch at my desk. It’s very beneficial to take a few minutes away from your desk for lunch, most times we feel like we have to woof it down. If you can eat away from your desk you will not only eat slower but you can invite other coworkers to join you, this way you can build community.
- Emails and Phone Calls – Never schedule these first thing in the morning, if you catch a nasty call it can ruin your day. Plan out a time of day when you have energy to respond immediately, read thoroughly and respond appropriately. Planned communication leads to healthy communication.
- Margin – Always give yourself more time than you need, because you never know when you might hit writer’s block or encounter an emergency. When you plan margin you’ll create a more sustainable pace.
- Beginning and End Times – There is a lot to this segment, but to be simple when you go into work and when you leave will effect how you are in your personal life. Creating a concrete start and finish time will guard you against brining work home in a unhealthy way. It will also hold you accountable to work as hard as you can for the limited time you are in the office.
Seriously, this takes 30 minutes to do. It won’t be perfect, but your calendar will never be because it should adapt with each season. Sometimes you’ll have to schedule more time, but by taking the steps to do so it’ll help you communicate with family why you might be at the office a little longer. It’s also healthy to have someone review your schedule so they can help you see what’s realistic and what isn’t.
What else needs to be scheduled into your week?
Which of the five that I listed do you struggle with scheduling the most?