Welcome back to the TYM blog for 2017! I hope you had a lovely Christmas break with the people that matter most to you. We did!
In terms of ministry, we’ve been doing an overhaul of everything we do at Youth. We want to streamline what we do to make it more efficient, have meetings for a purpose and not just for the sake of it, and really connect with our students on a new level. We’ve done heaps of planning and are ready to take on this new year and rock it!
To kick off this new year on the blog, today I’m sharing 10 ways that I’m getting organised to prepare for this new year in ministry. We volunteer full time in Youth Ministry, plus Charles works a regular job and I’m a stay at home mama (and I run this blog). We’re busy, so being organised from the get go is a must! Being organised at home goes a long way in being organised for ministry! So anyway, here’s what we’ve been doing to get our family, home, and ministry ready for a new year:
When it comes to organisation this one is a no brainer, so I’ll just briefly mention it. For Youth, this means getting out the calendar and booking in any important dates in church. It means planning out our term in advance and getting the rosters and planners done. It means planning financially for camps and conferences. At home it means booking in family events (weddings and birthdays), meal planning, and organising babysitters. I even plan out which days of the week I vacuum and do the laundry!
Revisit old systems.
Things that worked last year won’t necessarily work this year. We’ve made some changes in Youth because what we did last year won’t work for where we want to go this year. We miss the closeness that we had when we started out with just a handful of students, so this year we’re making small groups a regular thing. Some of our students have also had a Student Leadership role for the last 20 months, but as our group is growing and becoming more diverse we need to change what we do with that role. What works for 5 students doesn’t work for 15!
I’ve needed to revisit my weekly systems at home, too. My toddler is growing up, becoming busier, and requires more of my energy and attention. He’s also becoming more independant and capable, so there’s some things I can get him to help me with, meaning tasks may take longer. Blogging this year will take a slower pace as my system for that has changed with my other systems.
Tidy your desk.
I have a little office space set up in our spare room and I love it. But it has been a journey to get this space to work for me. My original desk was tiny and had 4 drawers down one side which provided heaps of storage space- yay! However, it didn’t work for me because every random scrap of paper got tossed in there and became lost in the vortex. So I sold that desk and used the money to buy a new one with a huge surface area and two small drawers. This desk works! I have plenty of room to set up the laptop to work on a message (or blog post) and still have room to have books and papers out to flick through, too (did I mention my old desk was tiny?!)
For me, having a tidy desk is crucial to being organised. If it’s a mess then my brain feels like a mess too. I’ll stock up on (working) pens, cards and envelopes, and notepaper. By getting my desk and office space organised at the beginning of the year it gives me the chance to start off with a clean slate, fresh organisation systems, and pens that I know still work.
This is something else I’ve been journeying through, too. Just like I figured out that a messy desk makes my brain feel messy, having clutter everywhere has the same effect! I’m still a work in progress here (I wish you could see how far I’ve come though!) but here’s a few decluttering hacks I’ve discovered along the way:
- Go through your wardrobe regularly (every 3-4 months) and prune the excess.
- Organise books by colour so they look more cohesive on the shelf.
- If something isn’t working (my old desk) figure out why and get something that does work.
- Get rid of excess kitchen appliances/utensils/dishes etc. especially if you never use them, or cleaning them is a nuisance.
- Use baskets to keep things tidy on shelves.
- Throw out your old highschool papers. You will actually never need them again.
Decluttering, to me, is not just about getting rid of excess stuff, it’s also about having things that you like and like to look at too. I don’t like to look at mess because it makes my brain feel messy, so I use the ideas above to help me out!
Have a central calendar.
We actually do this two ways. On the kitchen wall we have a monthly calendar. On it goes things like church and family events, and student and family birthdays. It’s quite general.
The other ‘calendar’ we have is on our phones. We use an app call Cozi Calendar as a joint calendar. I love that it’s compatible across multiple devices (and Apple/Android) and you can add in details for what each person has going on. We get quite specific with this calendar and don’t clutter it up with the likes of birthdays. Charles can book in a meeting with someone and know it’s not going to clash with what I’m doing, and vice versa. Also, if he forgets to tell me about said meeting I’ll see it come up in the calendar anyway! #winning.
Book in family time.
When we get really busy we will book in a day coming up for a ‘family sabbath’. This pretty much means we don’t make any plans on that day except to hang out as a family! It’s so great. This year we’re going to be a bit more intentional with this and book in a family fun day once a month as well.
Youth Ministry is awesome, but it’s not our primary ministry. Our marriage and family comes before it. And sometimes we need a family day on the calendar to help remind us of that in a crazy season!
Turn off notifications.
I used to get every notification show up on my lock screen. And it made me feel like I had to look at it right then. It felt like such a huge time waster! (It really was). Now the only notifications I have show up are for Messenger- everything else is completely off. And it is SO GOOD.
I’d encourage you to do this too! Honestly, I don’t know how many times I used to check FB or Insta during the day just because of one little notification button. Now I check it when I want to, not when I feel I need to. I thought that turning off notifications would give me major FOMO, but actually the complete opposite has happened. I don’t even think about missing out on something because there’s been no notification to tell me that I am.
This is one of my faves. On the bookshelf in my kitchen I have a folder with heaps of printables in! I use it most days. It has printable sheets in it for monthly goals, to do lists, planning events, meeting notes. It’s so handy having everything in the one place and a printable ready when I need it. It’s such a simple way to to stay organised on a daily basis. I’m currently designing a set specifically for family & ministry life.. so watch this space!
Year-round gift shopping.
This one isn’t about beating the Christmas rush. I keep a small supply of cards and gifts on hand because there are times when you just need to send a word of encouragement to someone, or you forgot a birthday, or you the Holy Spirit prompts you to give.
To me, this is a ministry must-have! The gifts are ones I pick up as a little extra when I’m out shopping anyway. I keep them to about $6 and under so it’s not going to blow our budget (and I’m not buying them every week, either). The cards are a mix of DIY, cute $2 ones from our local dollar store, and postcards (by the way, have you seen the postcards I got to design in collaboration with Devotions Delivered?).
Revisit quiet time.
I love quiet seasons because it gives me space to look at how I do my quiet time and if necessary establish a new routine before the year kicks in. This year I’m making a ‘Bible book basket’ for my quiet time (inspiration here). It’s essentially just a basket which holds all my quiet time supplies that I can easily take to whatever spot I’m spending my quiet time in. I find that if I have to go around gathering up everything first I’m more reluctant to get started!
- Which of these 10 things will you be doing to get organised for ministry in 2017?
- What else is on your list to help you get organised?
- What things work for you to keep you organised with family, a job, and ministry?