Monday, December 9, 2013

6 steps to a smooth new year

As we round out 2013, yes we only have 2 months of it left, it's time to put your planning hat on! Whether you have a team of staff, or it's just you, there are a few steps that can make your new year a little easier. Here are a few tips that can get you pointed in the right "organized" direction. As an example I will use the Harvest Carnival.

1. Calendar your year - while I'm sure this is done for most already, it's key to get the dates on a visible calendar. This gives you an idea of how much you're doing and allows for a bird's eye view of potential conflict and flow.  Ex. Harvest Carnival, October 31st. - connects to the invite for Christmas events.

2. List the elements - Once you have everything on your calendar, a list can be made of elements needed to complete those tasks. My list often includes things like: publicity; design; recruitment; room reservations; training and appreciation. This will of course be based on what the task is.
Ex. design publicity, recruit volunteers...

3. Work backwards - all of the elements can now be added to your calendar as you start at the event and work backwards. Ex. design publicity - August 1st (this now becomes my deadline)

4. Go mobile - There is nothing worse than a well planned year that disappears! All of this info is done and plugged into my electronic calendar for 3 reasons. 1. If my paper calendar is lost; I have a backup (yes.. I love and still use my paper calendar) 2. I can set reminders; A cell phone buzz to keep you on task just works! 3. I can share it - my administrative assistant can see as well as other leaders I share with.

5. Dream a little - It is once all of this is done that I can see what needs updating; to be eliminated; or where we have room to do other things. Tasks 1-4 are usually done for the next year by November 1st; this allows me a couple months to set new goals, make ministry changes (or prepare to) that I have been praying about; as well as cast vision.

6. Claim your gold Stewardship star - as we all know, things are cheaper in the off season. If I know that I will need 400 paper visors for a July event in January, I can buy them on the end of season "summer clearance" sales rather than top dollar with overnight shipping in June. We have seen ministry dollars stretch as a result of this. The key is to keep organized and label things.

 I encourage you to plan well and as far in advance as you can. We all know that God changes plans from time to time, so maintaining the flexibility to accept that while being a good steward of the time, budget and talent you have been entrusted with is the key. I hope you plan a fierce new year, and hold it very loosely. Sometimes we as leaders like to maintain a death-grip on our work, forgetting that our savior can make it more spectacular than we ever could or imagined if we will just hand it to Him.

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