A friend of mine, Adam, recently did a post on his planning and preparations for a new year of ministry. He has a reading plan, growth plan, etc. You can check out his blog here: http://threehundredwords.org. He is always worth a read and has great thoughts on many things.
I’ve always found planning ahead to be helpful in keeping me focussed and I am working on my long term plans in a number of ways – preaching, personal growth, etc. My process isn’t as thorough as Adam’s, however there are some other things that I do to prepare for the new year beyond planning that I thought I’d share. Perhaps you’ll find some value in these practical things.
Last year on January 2nd we closed the church office down from phone calls, left the door locked, etc. We’re in the office, but the focus is a bit different for that day. We’re doing that again this year. The goal is to get ourselves organized for the year to come. Each person will organize themselves differently, but having a day to start off the year with this focus to me is helpful. Over the course of the year some of my organizational habits get messy or a bit behind, and I find a new year allows for a fresh start. This helps me transition my thought process, increase my efficiency, and get my things sorted out organization wise. If the time isn’t set aside I find I don’t accomplish what I want. I want to share a few things Ill be doing to prep for the year to come that day, as well as over the next few days.
1) Unsubscribing from unwanted emails. It never seems to fail that somehow my email inbox starts to get congested with unwanted emails. I go through the different emails and unsubscribe from any email lists I don’t read or am no longer interested in. The goal is to reduce the amount of email I need to sort through each day.
2) Delete unneeded emails I’ve saved and archive the ones I want to keep, but don’t need to refer too. The goal is to make space for all the emails over the coming year without being cluttered by the ones from the past that are unimportant.
3) Update contacts with any new info you need, remove out of date contacts, and correct any errors you are aware of in one’s you will be keeping.
4) On my iphone I’m going to delete text messages I don’t need. I’ll also update my contacts on the phone based on the text messages I’ve received.
5) I’m going to look ahead and update my calendar with all the key events, plus I schedule in dates when I need to start planning for major events. To me updating my calendar with when to start planning is almost more important than listing the date an event is on.
6) On my computer I’m going to ensure all my files are organized from the year, and delete any extra files I don’t need. Old files will be archived away.
7) I’m going to back up my main information/files offsite in case of an emergency.
So those are the steps for getting started in the year! They’re a mix of sorting, cleaning up, and preparing. On top of the tech side, there’s also some other office organizing I hope to do. I find getting myself sorted out, organized, and prepared is the foundation for me being able to achieve my goals. If I do not have that foundation to build on, then things like goals can’t be stable. These steps for preparing are more than administrative, they’re truly enabling my ministry, my goals, and my prioirities to thrive in the year to come.