Have you ever started a day or week with a short to-do list, only to find that you are soon swallowed up by requests and minutiae?
Time abhors a vacuum.
So, what’s a minister to do when so much of her work is about being available to others and taking care of those details that no one else knows about but that make the ministry run smoothly?
Make the calendar your friend. Schedule blocks for sermon prep, curriculum writing, big picture planning, visitation, open office hours, and even self-care (afternoon Dunkin Donuts run, anyone?) just like you do for committee meetings. And just like with committee meetings, you can push your plans aside if a truly pressing pastoral need arises. Otherwise, feel free to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do such-and-such right now. I have an appointment.” Because you do.
If we don’t block out time for visioning and self-care, those two things are almost always first on the to-do list chopping block. Yet those are perhaps the two most critical pieces of longevity in ministry.