Creating Your Ideal Week
Similar to a financial budget, time must be directed intentionally in order to spend it well. We often meet clients who are overwhelmed by their schedules and load of meetings with little time left to get other important work done. One of the best ways to steward your time is to create an ideal week template.
Ministry Desk offers the following best practices for managing your time with intentionality:
- Open an empty calendar on your Google or Outlook platform for the purpose of crafting your ideal week template.
- Block out time for existing essential/unmovable weekly commitments (this could include standing meetings, school pick-ups or drop-offs, etc.).
Make a List
- Write down the essential weekly meetings over which you have scheduling control.
- Write out your essential weekly commitments or tasks that require a block of time to complete (this could include checking email, planning agendas, making phone calls, writing or preparing for a sermon, etc.).
- Which activities energize you and which deplete you?
- When do you have the most energy: morning, after lunch, beginning of week, end of week?
- What are your ideal start and end times each day?
- How much time do you like to allocate for different types of meetings?
- How much padding do you prefer between meetings (do you like to save time by having them back to back, or do you prefer margin between meetings?).
- Fill in your new calendar template. Structure your days according to your energy levels and work context (e.g. if meetings bring you energy, schedule them at a time when your energy is normally low. If you prefer a full day of sermon prep vs. multiple pockets of time every day, plan a chunk of time for focused work rather than context shifting between multiple tasks).
- Reserve margin in the week for unexpected issues that arise.
- Schedule time to check your email instead of checking throughout the day.
- Schedule time for the deep work that requires uninterrupted mental focus (typically when your energy and attention is highest).
- Consider time wasted in-between meetings. If you allow 30 minute gaps between meetings, what happens during that time? Is it long enough to complete tasks? Would a shorter margin (5-15 min.) be most effective?
- Push non-essential meetings further out on your calendar than what colleagues request.
- Steward your 1:1 meetings with colleagues and subordinates. Encourage them to save discussion items for scheduled meetings, and be sure to allocate enough time for those conversations, rather than having multiple meetings, or endless email threads, throughout the week.