I love the start of the work week.
Weird, I know. And I can honestly say, that until recently I haven't been able to say that. But now, I love the start of my work week. Of course, where I work and what I do have something with that.
I'm a youth pastor. It's what I was created to be. And nothing makes me happier than doing what I am doing. That makes coming into the office a joy for me.
But there's another reason why I love the start of the work week; a clean start.
I learned a long time ago that how I begin the week often translates to how I end the week. What does that mean? Well, quite frankly, what I do on a Monday helps to shape and guide the rest of my week. And if I do Monday well, then chances are the rest of the week will fall into place.
Let me explain.
There are a couple of things I like to do every Monday, to help organize my week and set a plan that helps me to focus on what needs to get done. Let me share these things with you, in hope that one or two of my habits might be helpful to you.
1. CLEAN OFF THE DESK
I work best when my desk is clean. No clutter. No piles. No extra junk taking up the space around me. When I walk in to my office on Monday, one of the first things I do is clear my desk. Usually after a Sunday morning of Sunday school, worship, and being with people, I leave my office with the materials, papers, and various items from the morning on my desk. It's typically not a big mess, mostly just the clutter from Sunday. So it get's cleaned up.
2. ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE
For me organization leads to productivity. And often the more organized I am, the more freedom I have to be productive. So Monday morning is a time of organizing. Papers, books, files, game props, promotional items, book shelves; with in a few minutes I can go through the loose items in the office and organize them in ways that work for me. Sometimes it's in pile that I will sort later in the day, and sometimes it's items that can just be put away.
3. SET MY SCHEDULE
Fortunately, I do not have a super overwhelming schedule. I have only been in my current position for about 5 weeks, and my ministry is still fairly small. But I was once advised to be the one to be in control of my calendar, before my calendar took control of me. So each Monday morning, I take the time to look at the week ahead and block out specific time to accomplish certain tasks. Some tasks take place the same time everything. Other tasks are flexible and I can move them around to times that better fit the week I am in. The point is, to make a plan for that work that will allow me to get the most done in a timely, efficient, and productive way. This also works when meeting with people. Students, parents, friends from the church; I set my schedule, including when I can meet with people.
4. STACKING MY DAYS
In my current position, I lead our high school ministry on Tuesday evenings and the jr. high ministry on Wednesday evenings. That makes the beginning of my week pretty intense. In my previous youth ministry, we gathered our students on Sunday nights, leaving the end of the week more intense. So I have decided that I will stack my days. In other words, I have decided to take Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesday and block them out for weekly prep and planning. These days are the days I focus on the student ministry. These are also the days I log the most hours. Monday and Tuesday morning are spent preparing for Tuesday evening. Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday day are spent preparing for Wednesday evening. Nothing else happens on these days, unless everything needing to be done for Tuesday or Wednesday evenings is complete. Again, setting my schedule and blocking out times to accomplish certain task is a huge part of overcoming the work load within these three days.
5. THE FLEX DAY
Each week, typically Thursday, I set a flex day. The flex day is the day that serves as a clean up, or extra day. After getting through the three intense days of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Thursday becomes my day to rest. Since I am only 5 weeks in, right now Thursday is a mix of working, usually in the morning, and then taking the rest of the afternoon off. My hope is that in the very near future, Thursday might be my weekly sabbath. Friday can also serve as the flex day, depending on what the week looks like. But we usually run ministry events or visit the Friday night games at the high school, so Friday ends up being a full work day.
So far, I have been able to keep Saturdays and Sundays as family days. Sure there will be the occasional student event or retreat that will require my having to be at the office or with students, but those days will be less than more.
So there you have it, why I like the start of the new work week. And the best part of it all is, when the week falls in line, the time and effort I give to the beginning of the week, helps to make the free time at the end of my week just a little sweeter.
Jay Higham is a 24 year veteran of student ministry; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently the Youth Director at Hickory Church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for 19 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, 4 boys and 1 little girl. You can learn more about their ministry to the family by visiting their family blog at, www.TheHighamFamily.com!