The “5 by Five” Approach To Setting Priorities

As a Kidmin Leader, there are a ton of responsibilities you have to juggle on a daily basis.  Those who are tasked with overseeing Nursery, Early Childhood, Elementary, Family Ministry, Outreach & Evangelism, and all of the other departments that often fall under the leadership of the Children’s Ministry often have a difficult time keeping everything straight.

Time management is difficult.  Keeping “the main thing” in perspective is equally as difficult.  How does one organize and prioritize the week without losing sight of the details and ultimately failing to get some things done that MUST be done?

There’s not a sure-fire way to handle this.  But, I would like to share with you one method (albeit an OLD-fashioned and possibly outdated method) that I have found to be extremely effective in my ministry:  The “5 By Five” list.

At the beginning of the week, generally on Sunday afternoon in my office, I look at the tasks and priorities that need to be done in the next week.  I look at the work week in terms of 5 days since the average full-time Kidmin Leader has one day off and Sunday is…well…Sunday (hello!).

I compile an exhaustive list of all the tasks and items that need to be completed that week.  Some weeks there are upwards of 20+ items.  Then, I go over the list and pick the FIVE most important things in the list.  These five things are THE most important.  If I don’t get these five things done in the next five days, I’m toast.

I place those five items on my “5 by Five” list.  I place that list in a prominent place in my office (generally right below my monitor facing me, just above my keyboard).  When I start my week on Monday, I work off of that list FIRST.  I don’t do any of the other items until THAT list is complete.

Our tendency is to choose “easy” items first – things that are accomplished quickly or things that we enjoy doing.  This is not good.  We can end up accomplishing many of the easy, less significant tasks and running out of time to accomplish the harder, more important tasks.

If we follow the “5 by Five” method, we will accomplish the MOST important things first, then start rocking on the less significant items.  It’s amazing how much less stress we feel as we go through the week once we know that the MOST important things are DONE.

Thoughts?  What method do you use for prioritizing?  Share your ideas with us.  Let’s become more productive as we carry out our mission to reach kids for Christ!

10 thoughts on “The “5 by Five” Approach To Setting Priorities

  1. Great Post! I’m a list guy, but like you mentioned tend to start with the easy, fun tasks . By higihhting the 5, I can assure that the important stuff doesn’t get missed.
    Another practice I do is choose 3 major tasks for the day. I block out three 90 min time slots with a 20 min break between each one. No emails, phone calls or other distractions are permitted. I found that my focus and effectiveness skyrocketed. Thanks Brian!

    on one

  2. I, too, tend to do the things I enjoy early in the week, and I hope to have extra energy later in the week for the things that will require a lot of deciding, before actually executing. Knowing that I do this, I have felt that slashing the routine would allow me to not worry about how long my list was. It is rewarding to see things are being accomplished, so even a list that is all checked off is my reward, as I forge into those decidion-making sessions. One thing that I often overlook is asking God to give me His thoughts and decisions, but it sure helps make all my lists manageable. I don’t know why I forget, because it’s always so much smoother when He’s involved from the beginning. So, maybe the first thing on my list should say, “consult God first”! 🙂

  3. I will have your “5 by Five for the Home” list waiting for you when you get home today 😉 Just kidding – Lol! Love you, and proud of you that you do such a great job at managing your time well. Thankful – because it allows your time with us to be much needed quality time!

  4. Good thots, Brian. My favorite on the list is #5. I use an app called “reminders.” It’s basically a to-do list but let’s me them in catagories based on which ministry it’s in. If my morning goes as planned 🙂 this is the first thing I look at when I go into the office.

    • That’s the part of this plan that is outdated – the fact that it’s on actual PAPER (ha!). I also use “reminders” app for my general task list. I like to keep the 5byFive in front of me and visible all week. Thanks for sharing, Dan!! I appreciate it!

  5. This is Awesome! Everyone around me makes fun of my “Old School” “Things to do list” that I have written out on actual paper. I have one for weekly tasks and then I have one titled “things I would like to do” and it consist of those things not so important but things that eat away at me and keep me up at night. 😃I keep these both in a folder titled “things to do today” so it’s the first thing I look at every day. Between these two list, post it notes on the door frame leaving my house and on my car radio, and last my reminder App-I’m usually good to go (usually) Loved your wives reply-Priceless!

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