Friday, May 20, 2011

21 Unit Time Management Chart for Pastors

Time is  your most valuable resource..
God has given everyone the same
amount to use.
21 Unit Time Management Chart for Pastors

Consistently I have struggled with managing time due to the schedule of "church life." Just the nature of church life demands many hours of non-traditional scheduling related to others work life. To accomodate this, several years ago I adopted the twenty-one unit method of time management. I will be the first to say that it is not perfect but it has advantages to theories. First it divides every day into three time "units" or sections of about four hours: morning; afternoon; and evening. Then it allows for the scheduling of time in blocks rather than hour by hour. Scheduling in blocks is beneficial for those of us who arrange our lives around such events as weekly worship or Bible studies since they typically talke longer than an hour and usually involve preparation time, as well as time before and after the activity.

Most jobs, if scheduled this way, would involve ten "units" (five days, two units each day). For ministry since there is the expectation that we have of our lay ministers and volunteers to give up at least two units  a week for worship and ministry, I try to schedule twelve units per week, and never try to schedule more than fourteen. This is equivalent to working a normal "40-hour" job and then volunteering for at least two other units.

Unit scheduling allows for me to find times of intentional rest and Sabbath and als encourages me to be intentional about what I do with the remaining units. When I schedule like this I find that I am more productive during the "working units" because I have scheduled the "rest units." When I fail to schedule rest I find that I end up working all the time. Here is an example of a typical weeks schedule:


Personal Reflection and Self-directed study
Message review and final draft
Dedicated Family Time
Message Preparation
Scheduled Shut In Visitation
One afternoon us available to be scheduled for meetings, church business, etc.
Dedicated Family Time
Scheduled Meetings

Bible Studay or mid-week activity

Review for Sunday Worship
Late Night/ Early morning

Bolded items are dedicated time slots that are not adjustable.  These are usually set on the church calendar or church schedule. As you can see about half of the times are inflexible.

Italicized Items can be adjusted but will be made up at a different time if an occasional church related event is scheduled during that time. Notice that this is the typical Jewish Sabbath practice rather than the customary “day off” idea. You have to decide what works best for your family and your personal lifestyle.

Each pastor has to manage their own week based upon their ministry gifts, church needs, and other demands. This system also strives to protect family evenings by limiting the number of nights away from the home. 

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