Like most mid-thirties guys, I’m thinking about being healthy.

One of the way I try to do my part to be eating pizza and drinking coke until I’m 70 and the grandfather of the youth group is by working out. And also, eating less pizza and drinking less coke.

I go to a class because people get me motivated. I’m not much for working out by myself.

Usually, I’m rushing to the gym in order to make the class in time and something I am ALWAYS fighting with is rushing to untie my shoes.

No matter what I’m wearing that day, be it tennis shoes because I’ve got an event later on or dress shoes because I need to look presentable to a parent, I change my shoes to work out. In my mad dash to get ready to do something healthy and important, I find myself slowed up by the fact that I just quickly tore off my shoes when I was done with my last workout without bothering to untie them.

Then it hit me.

What if I just untied my shoes when I’m leaving the gym?

That way, I save myself the rush and the agony of being late (again) to class! 

The same idea can save us a lot of stress in ministry. There are lots of “small things” that we can do to help us get organized, prepare ourselves for the next day of ministry and keep us from rushing around when we could be spending time with students. 

Here are some of the things I thought I might do.

Contact the new student before I leave for the night

I don’t want any student to feel like they aren’t connected to the group. So, after I get a student to fill out our connection card (DYM has a great one of these!), I go ahead and send them an email before I leave.

I’m notorious about forgetting things like this and I don’t want to be. If I save it for tomorrow, I may forget it all together. So before I leave for the night, I want to email, text, or contact the new students before I go. 

Bonus points for having an email already written that you can change out the names or add a quick personal message at the top!

Get my desk ready for the next day

I want to rush out and head home as soon as the “work day” is over. Whatever time of day or night that might be. But I often find that when I return to the biohazard that is my desk, I spend the first bit of my morning trying to remember what in the world was going on before I left.

I am MUCH more efficient when I come into my office with a clean desk and a list of the things I need to get started on waiting for me. It usually only takes about five minutes to do this as I’m leaving and it’s SO worth the effort the next day.

Create a folder for “next year’s event” when I’m planning “this year’s event”

This was huge for me. While in the thick of the event, I find myself thinking of “Next year we should totally do this!” or “Wow, that was a bust. We shouldn’t do that ever again.”

When I have a folder on my computer or a note on my phone of all these ideas, it’s great when I want to plan the next “St Patrick’s Day Snake BBQ” and see that it was actually way better when I had the list of people who volunteered last time and tips for keeping the snakes at bay in my “Next time” folder.

These are a few ways I “untie” my shoes in student ministry to help prepare for the next day, next event, or next task.

What else would you add to this list?