Episode 077

πŸ’ͺ Get More Done: Time Management for Youth Pastors


December 28th, 2023

19 mins 25 secs

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About this Episode

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πŸ₯± Are you tired?
🫠 Overwhelmed?
🏁 Even if you’re not, don’t you just feel like the rat race of church ministry never ends?

πŸ•₯ Don't let time slip through your fingers; start streamlining your schedule today to make the most of every minute you invest in your ministry and the lives of young people.

πŸ’ͺ Prepare to be empowered, motivated, and equipped to take your time management skills to the next level. By implementing the strategies shared in this video, you'll be well on your way to becoming a more organized, efficient, and impactful youth pastor.

⚑ If you're ready to take charge of your time and elevate your ministry to new heights, hit that play button and let "The Ultimate Guide to Time Management for Youth Pastors" be your guiding light.

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Technique #1: Make a list



Technique#2: Calendaring

Technique #3: Make appointments with yourself

Technique #4: Schedule your relationships

Technique #5: Delegate, Automate or Eliminate
~psst... these are my 9 favorite DYM products!




00:00-02:21 Get More Done
02:21-04:57 The 3 Core Tenets of Time Management
04:57-07:15 Technique #1: Make a list
07:15-08:48 Technique #2: Calendaring
08:48-11:18 Technique #3: Make appointments with yourself
11:18-13:06 Technique #4: Schedule your relationships
13:06-15:25 Technique #5: Delegate, Automate or Eliminiate
15:25-16:04 Avoid Sacrificing your Family on the Altar of Youth Ministry
16:04-17:44 Hack 1: Evenings Count Double
17:44-18:11 Hack 2: Take Advantage of Slower Seasons
18:11-19:24 Hack 3: Take Advantage of your job's flexibility

Try Transcribing for Yourself at Rev.Com

Nick Clason (00:01):
Time management for youth pastors? Is it even possible? I mean, think about it. It's like you and I, I'm a youth pastor too. We have multiple jobs. We have pastors, we have executive pastors, we have parents, we have stepparents, we have spouses, our own spouses, we have our children, we have our youth kids that we're trying to minister to. We have the youth leaders. It's like we're answering to so many different people. It can feel so confusing. Who do we try to make happy? Who do we try to cater to? And at the end of the day, how do we make sense of any of this? Because the reality is we have the most important job in the world. Think about it, a hundred years from now, no one's going to care what kind of whipped cream you bought at Walmart for the hot cocoa bar for the upcoming Christmas party, but a hundred years from now, what matters?

Nick Clason (00:50):
What hangs in the balance is the lives and souls of these students, and you've probably heard it before, 94% of born again Christians have made a decision to follow Jesus before the age of 18. I know that that stat alone is the reason why I do what I do. And in this episode we're going to talk about the pillars of time management, what you need to understand from kind of like a philosophical standpoint. Then we're going to chat through the Surefire framework, and then finally, I'm going to give you three hacks to avoid sacrificing your family on the altar of your job. And here's why this is important and here's why I can even talk about this right now. I am currently offering a two-part video series to YM 360 once per month. I'm writing a weekly teaching series for them. I'm also doing weekly YouTube videos right here on this channel.

Nick Clason (01:39):
I'm posting two times daily on social media. I have my very own free ebook, which I'm following that exact strategy for myself on this channel as well as in my student ministry. You can download a copy of that for free link in the show notes. I try to create a weekly game for download youth ministry, and by the way, I have a real job as a youth pastor as well. My boss asked me, do you just never sleep? Do you work all the weekends? How do you get it all done? The reality is I follow these techniques and I want to encourage you to subscribe because we are dropping. This is part one of the 2024 on-Demand Youth Pastor Masterclass, time management. Welcome to the Hybrid Ministry Show. Okay, so there are three kind of core tenets, philosophical things that you actually to understand when it comes to time management.

Nick Clason (02:29):
These aren't tips, these aren't tactics. These are things that you have to understand first and these have to inform the tips and the tactics. No amount of tips, no amount of tactics will be helpful to you if you don't understand these things. So core tenant number one is that you are 100% responsible for your time and again, like I said at the top, it may not feel that way. It may feel like you have multiple different bosses and that is true. The reality is you are going to be answering to different people and there are going to be times where they are going to dictate

Nick Clason (02:58):
What do, but at the end of the day, your boss is not flushing out your 40, 45, 50, 55 hour a week schedule. He's just not or she's just not. You are responsible for your time 100%. So you understand that basis. You can then operate out of that. If you are waiting for someone to tell you what to do, then this time management thing is going to just be fleeting and you're not going to be able to get any of this stuff done because you're going to be playing the victim mentality as opposed to taking agency and control for your time. Core tenant number two is this is your overwhelmed. The reason that you may feel overwhelmed, have anxiety, not know what to do, be confused about which task to tackle. It comes from this. It comes from the fact that you have no direction. We're going to get to more about that in a second, but that lack of direction, you need direction.

Nick Clason (03:52):
That direction is what helps give your brain clarity, focus and the ability to just crush tasks on what comes next and get things done. Number three, not all time is created equal. Here's an example. I'm a morning person. You give me two hours in the morning from like 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM I can crush just about any youth sermon. It will be good, it will be coherent, it will make sense, but if you give me that same block of time from 3:00 PM to say 5:00 PM I'm toast. I'm not getting the same amount of work done. You need to know what your key hours are, the hours that you can get the most amount of optimal thinking time done so that you can knock things out. Now let's move on. If we understand those things that you're in charge of your time that you're overwhelmed comes from the fact that you may not have any direction.

Nick Clason (04:41):
And then number three, not all time is created equal with those as the core tenants, with those as the philosophy. Let's build on that and let's get really practical, really hands-on and some things that you can implement in your time management skills in your workweek today. So technique number one is start with a list. I know it sounds basic and you're like, bro, we're on the hybrid ministry show. I thought you're going to give me some bougie next level digital tool. Sure, grab a list that's digital if that's what you want to do. That's what I do. I use Microsoft to do. I hate Microsoft. It used to be called Wonderlist and I use it because it has the ability to be shared. So my wife and I do our groceries on it, but then Microsoft took it over and I still use it, but it's a digital list.

Nick Clason (05:27):
I can use it on my phone, I can use it on a computer. You can use anything. I mean you can use the notes app in your phone. You can use a Daytimer. You can write it down physically with paper, but make a list of everything you have to do and get specific. For example, if you say Plain Wednesday night, yes, you have to do that. You're a youth pastor, that's part of your job. But what goes into planning Wednesday night? That's not very specific because specifically you to write a lesson, you need to send the leader email. You need to schedule your tech team. You need to schedule your greeters, you need to plan the worship set. You need to play in the game. You need to set up chairs. You need to set up the cafe, make sure that the cafe is stocked.

Nick Clason (06:10):
You need to make announcement slides. You need to post a social to remind people about Wednesday and to crush social, you should grab my 100% completely free ebook. It's right down here, link in the description, but nonetheless, you see that, right? You see how Wednesday night planning versus all this other stuff. You see how that is an example of a good to-do list versus a bad to-Do list. Again, if you're like, I know I need to get done with Wednesday, break it all apart. List down every single thing you need to do because you know this as well as I do that as a youth pastor, that's not your only job because in addition to planning Wednesday, maybe you have to plan Sunday and all the little elements that go within that, maybe you have to meet with a volunteer. You need to grab coffee with the student.

Nick Clason (06:55):
You need to have a check-in with your senior pastor. You need to fill in the blank. You know what you have to do, and that's the problem. Not only do we have multiple different jobs, not only do we have multiple different kind of fighters that we might feel like we have to put out, but we also have multiple different focuses in our time. So get them all on paper. That's step one. Step two, calendar. If you are not using a calendar, and once again this is the hybrid ministry show, you got to figure out what works for you, but your calendar needs to dictate what you're doing not only beforehand, but also then you can look back and see how well am I keeping these things if I give myself or you give yourself one hour to craft your Wednesday night, but you have all those tasks to do and it takes you a full day, then you can go back next week and be like, all I'm going to need more hours than one to get ready for Wednesday night.

Nick Clason (07:49):
You can use your calendar to go back and audit how much time it actually takes. You don't shortchange yourself. And that's one of the keys. One of the reasons we get overwhelmed is we try and cram too many things into our calendar and it's just not humanly possible. So look ahead on your calendar, but also look back on your calendar and whatever you do integrate your work and your personal, it's one of the ways that you don't sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry. You don't have to have a calendar that's work and personal together. But when big major things that your personal and family calendar need to be aware of or vice versa, put those things in there, right? If you have a child's doctor appointment during the day, during the weekday when doctor's offices are only open, put it in there so that no one schedules a meeting with you.

Nick Clason (08:38):
No one sees you're out of office, that you're not available, that you are available when you're really not. So make sure that those things talk and communicate with each other. The second, third thing, I'm sorry, third thing, make appointments with yourself. A lot of times people calendar when there's an appointment. I have a meeting with my senior pastor that's on my calendar from nine to 10:00 AM Okay, well, when are you going to write your sermon? Well, just whenever I'm not in that. If you get a notice or a text message from someone and they say, Hey, I want to meet with you, then you can say, Hey, I am available from this time to this time. Because what we often do is pull open our calendar and see a bunch of blank space and be like, I'm free all day. What that's doing is when you're giving someone else control of your calendar, they're going to take whatever time works best for them as opposed to whatever time works best for you.

Nick Clason (09:30):
And so if they take morning sometime between six and 8:00 AM let's say they go to work and they want that morning appointment, well, for me, that's going to eat into my prep time and I'm not going to say no, I'm not going to decline meeting with them, but I am going to drive and dictate and point to where I am most available. I like to do lunches because I can get my work done in the morning and then I have an opportunity for lunch. And if a person's only available for breakfast, then I might have one breakfast slot per week where I will allow someone into there as opposed to let that be prep time. But you can use things like calendly.com and you can give that to people for them to book times with you. And so as long as your calendar is up to date, you've made appointments with other people and you've made appointments with yourself, then now other people can slide into those things.

Nick Clason (10:22):
It is okay to tell somebody no that you're not available to meet with them, not because you don't want to, but because you're busy, but because you've made an appointment with yourself. And then as you're blocking out your calendar, you need to figure out what works best for you, but you need to leave either 60 to 70% margin unscheduled time, and you can block it. You can put it in a calendar, but you can call it margin. You can call it buffer, you can call it reach ahead time. You can call whatever you want to call it. But one of the reasons that we get stressed out is that we schedule ourselves with no margin at all. And so if plan Wednesday night is supposed to take six hours and it takes seven and it eats into the next task that's supposed to come after in the seventh hour, we start to get overwhelmed.

Nick Clason (11:12):
But if we leave a little bit of space, we can leave some of that flex time. We can allow interruptions and we can allow people. Number four, make sure that you do in fact schedule your relationships. Don't just make your calendar, task, task test, test, test, test task, right? Relationships often are the things that feel like interruptions, but if you can account for them, if you have space for them, listen, here's the fact you're probably in youth ministry because you're a relational person. You probably prefer relationships over tasks. I'm more of a task guy. I like prefer tasks over relationships. So you need to figure out your zone and what works for you. But for me, what works for me is I need to relationships. I need to grab lunch with leaders. All right? So a couple of times a week, I got lunch in there for leaders.

Nick Clason (11:58):
I got lunch in there for students. I got space in there after school for students, whatever the case might be, but know where you're going to slide those things in. And again, if you leave that margin, then you can account for the interruptions. If you work on a little bit slightly bigger staff, I know I do. There'll be people, especially people I work with who pop into my office, have conversations. Those can feel frustrating and those can feel like interruptions. But the fact is, if I don't schedule my calendar my week at a hundred percent tasks, then when someone comes in, I can stop. I can pause, I can be present, I can get back to my tasks when that conversation's over and when they are ready to move on. So schedule time for those things. And like I said, a tool that you can use hybridize, this thing is Calendly.

Nick Clason (12:40):
It is a great way, especially if you're like, Hey, I want to grab lunch with you here. Grab a slot here that works for you. Then you take all of that back and forth out like, what about Thursday at six? No, it doesn't work. How about Wednesday at two? No, no, I got appointment. Then you go back and forth, back and forth. You can just be like, Hey, want to grab lunch? Sure, here's what I have available. They book it, boom, you're done. And then they slide right in to your calendar. And then the fifth and final thing in this framework is I stole this from Michael Hyatt and he's the productivity king and guru, but delegate and automate every single thing that you can. He actually challenges you to delegate, automate, and then terminate. So is there anything in your to-do list that you can just be done doing altogether?

Nick Clason (13:30):
Additionally, let's go back to our good example from earlier. Plan Wednesday night, write a lesson that might be a you and you only task, but every single thing else, check this out. Send the leader email. You could probably hand that off to a high level admin, maybe a volunteer, maybe even an intern. Schedule the tech team. Well, that should be the tech leader's job. If you don't have a tech leader, enlist a tech leader and then make that the tech leader's job. How about scheduling the greeters? Well let that be your greeter team lead's job and then planning the worship set. You can hand that off to a worship leader. If you don't have a paid worship leader, you can get a volunteer worship leader that you trust to plan the worship set maybe for a while they run it by you, but then you officially hand that off onto their plate planning the game.

Nick Clason (14:16):
Well, you can hand that off to a high level student who you even want to host. You can let them grab games off of DYM, give them your password, and then boom, they're off and running. What about setting up chairs? Well, that can be your student work crew who comes in once a week and maybe you're giving your student work crew a discount on camp this summer to come in and set up chairs. How about setting up the cafe? You can hand that off to your admin, maybe a cafe. Volunteer team leader. What about making the announcement slides? Hand a student, your Canva Pro password, link to that right here at the top of the video and give them the keys to making your announcement slides. What about posting to social media to remind people about it? Give that job to your students and grab my free ebook so that you are not just posting announcements, but you're posting them in a fun, relevant and witty way.

Nick Clason (15:06):
You see, that's the thing. You can delegate all of that. And so in that list, all you're doing is you are preparing the lesson, but all these other delegations, you have to set those up. They take time. It will take more time to set those up on the front side, but once it gets up and running, you will be a task master. Inevitably part of the job in youth ministry because it's relationships based and because we do our ministry when other people are not at work, when other people are not at school, you and I are going to have moments where youth ministry invades elements of being a dad, of being a family person of relationship with your wife. So how do you avoid sacrificing your family on the altar of ministry? Well, here's three principles and three ideas that I personally live by and that I try to implement in my ministry to help me.

Nick Clason (16:03):
The first one is this is keep in mind that evenings count double. I remember one time a pastor was like, well, if you work on Wednesday night, just don't work Wednesday morning. And that's true, and I'm going to give you that hack here in just a minute as well. However, a Wednesday morning time at home, which I record this podcast every single Wednesday morning, super early in the morning, as soon as I'm done, I'm going to go hang with my family, drive my kids to school, and then hang out with my wife and my youngest who's going to be home. But when I'm not home tonight because of programming, they would rather me be home in the evening. I would rather me be home in the evening, evening hours, count, double. So use your evening hours that you inevitably have to use. You have to use evening hours, but use them sparingly and don't be so quick to give them up.

Nick Clason (16:51):
Be very, very measured in your evening hours. One of the rules of life that me and my wife stumbled into haphazardly because we were giving up way too many evening hours early on in our marriage, was no more than three evenings out per week. We like to be home. You figure out what works best for you, but there's seven nights a week. We can be out three. The other four, we want to be home more than we're out. And that includes youth ministry that included our own personal grow group together as a couple. And then one other thing. And so if someone would ask us like, Hey, do you guys want to get together? We would look at our calendar and for like, well, we're already full this week. We would kick 'em to the next week or something like that, but we knew our limit.

Nick Clason (17:35):
So know your limit. If you're out every single evening and you're just trying to make up for that by being home in the morning, just remember that those count double. The second thing is this, take advantage of slower seasons. Okay? The fact is, Christmas season may be a busy hefty season for your church, especially your worship team, your tech team, your worship leaders, people setting up the stage. But for student ministry, it's often a little slower. So take advantage of that because the reality is those people are not going to be at summer camp, come June when you are and you're away from your family. And so budget for those things and lean into the different rhythms of life. And the third thing is take advantage of the fact that your job has flexibility. You might have work from home capabilities. I know I try to work from home a lot of Thursdays, which is a nice thing that I get to do or I can even do when my kids are at school lunch or breakfast dates with my wife.

Nick Clason (18:27):
It's cheaper. Don't have to pay for a babysitter, don't have to bring our kids with us. And also, I can comp my Wednesday mornings because I'm going to be working late on Wednesday night, or I might comp a Thursday morning if I work a full day, like a full 12 hour day on Wednesday because of programming. I may come in a little bit late on Thursday. And the fact is, you can make some of those things up. You are responsible for your time, so take advantage of those things. Get approval, make sure your supervisor's okay with it, but take advantage of the flexibility that you have because the thing is this, healthy leaders lead healthy ministries, and we're going to talk about that in the very next episode, which is going to be up here on the screen talking about how to grow your youth ministry, which is one of the things that your boss wants, and probably you want not just for vanity metrics, but also because you want to make an impact on the kingdom of God. So as always, don't forget we're making digital discipleship easy, accessible and possible. Stay hybrid, my friend.