The Sprint is that season when everything that has to be done in order for you to kick off your new year of ministry, has to be done immediately. Right now. Today! (Or more like yesterday!)
For me, The Sprint starts sometime around August 1st and goes until Labor Day Weekend. The dates will look a little different for each of us, but the task list probably has some similarities, things like:
- Confirming commitments from your team
- Finalizing your fall calendar
- Building margin in your messages
- Promoting and publicizing programs
On top of an increasingly growing “to do” list, you feel as if time is flying by at an insane rate. You’re panicking, the pace is unruly, and you stay awake at night wondering, “Will I make it?”
The pace during this time of year will always feel the quickest; however, it doesn’t have to drive you crazy. In order to handle the building pressure of preparing so that you can start the fall running, you need to make sure you do the following things:
Now that might sound like an impossible task. But even small breaks work. For example, take 20 minutes to eat lunch away from your desk. Get up for a brief walk or grab a cup of coffee. By stepping away from your desk you allow your mind to rest.
Have A Shut-Down Time
Even if you have to bring work home, make sure you have a set time where you shut it down for the day. My recommendation is that you do it several hours before you sleep so your stimulated mind can slow down. Enlist a roommate, friend, or spouse to hold you accountable.
Ask someone if they would ask you regularly, “How are you doing?” This way if you are in need of help, you have someone ready to pitch in. Make sure this person is persistent so that they don’t accept your not so truthful response of, “I’m fine.”
Don't Aim For Perfection
The great thing about ministry is that it’s organic. If it’s healthy, it’s growing. Which means you can always tweak, fix, and adjust as you go. Some great advice I follow is to not get lost in the details. Instead, make sure the big stuff gets done first. List it out in order of importance, and start working down the list.
By necessity, you’ll probably still find yourself moving quickly through The Sprint. You just need to make sure you prioritize and build support. The worst thing to do is burn yourself out before you even get started. Lean in, rely on God’s grace to carry you through, and keep moving forward!
What are some tips you would pass along for surviving The Sprint?
(Previously posted in fall 2014, but hey, it's still really good advice.)