The skill and discipline to manage your calendar is an essential leadership tool. I don’t know any pastor who feels like they are accomplishing everything they wish they could. Our to-do lists are often endless and they start over every Monday. How often have your felt like your calendar was managing you rather than you maintaining the ability to manage your calendar? Calendar rules will help.
This article is a repost of classic content.
My pastor taught me to divide the day into three sections for morning, noon, and night. His philosophy was to work 14 of those sections and take 7 of them off. It’s a rule that ensures that we balance rest and work. But, it doesn’t address all the things we need to work through to be sure our calendar doesn’t manage us.
Al Ells, of Leaders That Last Ministries, introduced me to the idea of calendar rules. Calendar rules are boundary statements that help us manage our calendar. Ells defined calendar rules as “a discipline that guides your time.” After listening to him, I realized that I have some calendar rules. But, I hadn’t called them that or thought them through in the way he presented them.
One of the calendar rules that I have is to get out of town once per quarter. It might be a vacation, an out of town meeting, or a trip to visit family. Keeping this rule helps me release the stress of my day to day responsibilities.
Another rule I follow is to use all my vacation each year. I’ve known too many pastors who work continually and burn themselves out. One retired pastor I know had a rule that he never socialized on Saturday evening. He used the time to relax and prepare his mind for the heavy responsibilities on Sunday.
Ells suggested that calendar rules can be written for during the week, weekends, quarterly, annually, phone calls, email, social media, games, weddings, baptisms, and funerals. You might want to develop rules about sermon preparation, meetings, community service, or study.
You have more to do than you can get done. Calendar rules will help you keep your priorities and your sanity.