For optimal effectiveness in accomplishing your goals, set aside time for a regular planning rhythm. Yes, it takes time, but in the long-run it saves you time by maximizing your results. It’s counter-intuitive, but the more you have to do the more necessary it is to plan. We think, “I can’t possibly take time to plan because I have too much to do.” But in fact, the more you have to do the more you have to plan– to be sure you’re really focusing on the things that matter most.

Engaging a regular planning rhythm is a strategy that will help you set aside the tyranny of the urgent. Below is the planning rhythm I used when I was a senior pastor leading a staff team. I found it helpful for focusing on both long-range and short-range planning.  Plus, by setting aside regular times on my calendar in advance, I made sure the planning rhythm actually happened. Feel free to adapt this system to whatever works best for you.

  • Weekly I set aside 1-2 hours for reflection and planning.
  • Monthly I set aside 4 hours for reflection and planning.
  • Quarterly I set aside a day for reflection and planning.
  • Yearly I set aside 3 days for reflection and planning.

The plan itself is nothing. Planning as a process is everything. The plan itself will likely start changing as soon as you begin implementing it. But planning as a process helps you engage with God and others as you reflect on what God is doing. It helps you be intentional and proactive about what you are doing with your time and energy. So start small, experiment, refine, build on what you’re learning, move to the next logical piece, and see how the clarity increases as you move forward.