One of my favorite aspects of pastoral ministry is the preparation of the lesson or sermon. Depending on the week, there could be three to four lessons per week that need to be prepared. However, there's always the 'growing' to-do list. Here's a small sample of what my to-do list could look like after a typical Sunday morning:
Not only will I have four lessons to prepare for for the upcoming week, now I have an additional five things (on an easy Sunday). However, I often noticed that my list grows with each day of the week. Action items pile up and the next thing I know, I'm late with the annual review; I failed to call the key volunteer; I didn't make the 25 copies the first grade class needed; we go another Sunday without coffee during our Leadership Team prayer time; and the new Leadership Coach still doesn't have a job description.
After a few years of a growing to-do list and items not being completed, one of the ways I've found effective is to actually schedule my to-do list on an online calendar. Here's how it works:
1. Create an online calendar - I personally use Google Calendar. I have downloaded the app on my phone so I can see my calendar on my phone and also on a desktop computer.
2. Action Items - When an action item arises, I immediately find a time to plug it into my calendar. If I'm away from the office, I immediately take my phone, open the Google Calendar app and enter the task. If someone has asked me to do something for them, I ask them to stay with me while I enter the task into my phone/computer. If not, I can easily be tempted to do something else and forget to even enter the requested task on my calendar.
3. Priorities - Because I've already entered in the items that I feel are most important (at the end of the previous week), I am able to make sure that the to-do list doesn't take over my calendar. See www.drakecaudill.com/blogs/leadership-set-your-schedule
4, List - I still have a to-do list. But it's for long term items like long term ministry planning, programs and events. But for items that need immediate action, they are scheduled on my calendar.
For this season of life and ministry, this has been effective for me. What are some ways you deal with your to-do lists to make sure each item is completed?