Visualize your priorities with red, yellow and green

Traffic light for bikes.

Prioritizing is of crucial importance, especially when your to do list is overflowing, as most of ours are. We’ve discussed several methods of prioritizing so far:

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to come up with a way to visualize your priorities, so you can see at once which tasks have priorities and which don’t. Again, there are several ways to do this:

  • Put the high priority tasks at the top of your list
  • Categorize by A (high priority), B (medium priority) or C (low priority)
  • Use an app like Evernote to separate high, medium and low priority tasks

[Read more…]

Setting priorities with the INO System

family

You can’t do it all. You know that deep down, but still you try. We all do. As youth workers, our to do list is often unending and things we cross off at the top, are being replaced just as quickly at the bottom.

That means we have to choose what we do. We have to set priorities and work according to these.

We’ve talked about two ways of defining priorities before: the 80/20 rule and Covey’s time management matrix. But on the Harvard Business Review Blog, I came across another method that you can use to decide how much time to invest in something: the INO system. [Read more…]

How the Zeigarnik Effect can help you battle procrastination

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We all have those tasks on our to do list that we just can set ourselves to do. Sometimes it’s because we don’t like doing this (for me, making phone calls is a biggie since for some reason I really dislike calling people), sometimes it’s because the task is so big we just don’t know where to start or it may be that we wonder how we’re ever going to finish it.

Whatever the task is that you dread doing, chances are it will results in big time procrastination. So how do you get yourself to do the things you dread, especially if they are bigger tasks that require more time?

The solution is as simple as can be: just start. If you just take that first step, the rest won’t be as hard.

Believe me, I realize how stupid this sounds, but hear me out. In psychology, there’s a phenomenon known as the Zeigarnik effect, named after psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik who first studied it. She noticed that a waiter had better recollections of still unpaid orders and did further research. The Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.

It seems that as humans, we are designed for closure, we have a built-in desire to finish what we have started. If we don’t finish a task we’ve started, we experience dissonance and we keep thinking about that task.

[Read more…]

Get more done with Gene Schwartz’ 33 minutes rule

hour glass

For the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a productivity tip called Gene Schwartz’ 33 minutes rule. It’s a ‘system’ designed by famous copywriter Eugene Schwartz that allowed him to write many books, successful ads and much more in just 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. So I gave this rule a test drive and I have to say the results have been far better than I expected: I’ve worked more focused and gotten more work done in less time.

Intrigued?

[Read more…]

Stress management in youth ministry

stress

This is the fourth and last post in a short series in dealing with stress in youth ministry. We’ve been talking about the stress that is youth ministry and why youth ministry may even be extra stressful compared to other jobs. In the last post we’ve discussed how you can acknowledge, recognize and identify the stress in your life and youth ministry. This brings us to the fourth step: preventing stress.

Let me start with the bad news: you’ll never completely eliminate stress from your youth ministry job, whether you’re a volunteer or on staff. Working in a church, working with people and especially young people will always result in some amount of stress. But there are things you can do to keep the stress level acceptable and healthy.

[Read more…]

Preventing stress in youth ministry

stressed man

We’ve been talking about the stress that is youth ministry and why youth ministry may even be extra stressful compared to other jobs. So to summarize: youth ministry is stressful, even more than other jobs. The question that needs an answer is then what we can do about it. Is preventing stress in youth ministry even an option and if so, how do we go about achieving that?

Step 1: Acknowledging stress

Preventing stress in youth ministry isn’t an easy-breezy thing to do. It starts with taking stress seriously and not just saying or thinking that stress is normal or that it’s just part of your job. Yes, a certain amount of stress is normal in youth ministry, but not to the point where it affects your health or makes you consider quitting. So acknowledge what you feel isn’t normal and go from there.

[Read more…]

Why youth ministry is (extra) stressful

stressed

In the previous post on The Stress that is Youth Ministry, we saw some shocking statistics about pastors and stress. But let’s face it: even though the scope of responsibility may differ, being a youth pastor isn’t that different from being a pastor. Especially in bigger churches, leading the youth ministry can be a lot like leading a church. Which means that those statistics may very well be or become a reality for youth pastors as well.

[Read more…]

The stress that is youth ministry

stressed out man

Youth ministry seems to be synonymous with stress. Ask a youth pastor how he or she is doing and the most likely answer will be ‘busy’ or ‘very/extremely/absurdly busy’. Or maybe when they feeling like sharing, they’ll even say ‘stressed’. I have met very youth pastors or youth workers lately who weren’t overworked, busy, and/or stressed to the point where it really wasn’t funny anymore.

See if any of the following sounds familiar to you:

You’re working (far) more hours than you should or have to

You’re experiencing constant stress

You often feel tired, exhausted even

You often feel overwhelmed to the point of either panic or the inability to act at all

You’re experiencing spiritual drought [Read more…]

Creating a weekly schedule that works for you

beach chair

With the start of a new youth ministry season, now is the perfect time to put some energy into creating a weekly schedule that works for you. It’ll help you set priorities, find time for God, your family and yourself, and it will help prevent stress and burnout.

Think about last season, how did your weekly schedule work for you? Did you accomplish what you wanted to? Did you indeed have the time for the things that had priority? Was there enough personal time, time with your family, time to rest?

If not, now is the time to make some changes. Here’s how to go about making a weekly schedule that works for you, your situation and your (youth) ministry: [Read more…]

The 7 habits of effective meetings

It's not always possible of course, but sharing a meal together as part of your meeting is a great idea if you want to add some fun, community and sharing to your meetings.

[This post is part of the series on Time Management in Youth Ministry]. Meetings have gotten a bit of a bad reputation. That’s because a lot of them are bad. They’re too long, unfocused, have way too many attendees and afterwards no one really knows what the point was. For many people, meetings feel like a complete waste of time.

But when meetings are done the right way, they cannot only become effective, they can actually become something to look forward to. Meetings are actually a very practical and good way of getting things done, especially in youth ministry where it’s always about people first. So how do you transform meetings into effective, something your leaders actually look forward to?

Here are the 7 habits of effective meetings in your church or youth ministry:

1. Always start and end with prayer

You’re not the local hockey club, you’re the church. That means that God should always be front and center whenever you meet. Never run a meeting without taking the time to pray, ask for His blessing and guidance. Always communicate your dependence on God. In fact, I think a whole lot of Christian meetings could benefit from less talk and more prayer!

It's not always possible of course, but sharing a meal together as part of your meeting is a great idea if you want to add some fun, community and sharing to your meetings.

[Read more…]