Tips for Church Planters (and Others) New to Working From Home

One of the biggest changes in moving into the latest chapter in my life is working from home. When I was on staff at Seacoast and at Saddleback I had over 100 co-workers. I had an assistant who helped me keep my schedule. I had access to a copy machine. I now have a laptop and a printer.

This is a shift a lot of church planters have to deal with, especially if they were on staff at a larger church before launching out into the great unknown. So I thought this week I’d share some of the tips and tricks I am learning along the way.

A caveat before I dive in, I AM NOT A GURU at productivity, time management or efficiency. I am very ADD, undisciplined and ADD. If this were a book I would call it The Dummies Guide to the Complete Idiots Guide to How to Work Without an Office or a Staff.

So here is Tip 1:

Get help with your schedule

I am terrible at managing my schedule. For 15 years I have had someone who would make appointments and set up reminders for me. Now that I’m doing it on my own I quickly realized that this will not do. So I found a way around it.

Google’s Appointment Slot feature is awesome. I love connecting with people but I hate trying to set up appointments by email. Here is a typical exchange:

“Hey, you want to get together for coffee?”

“Absolutely, how about Tuesday?”

“I can’t do Tuesday, how about Thursday?”

“Tuesday is great, where do you want to meet?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t do Tuesday. How about Thursday?”

“Sorry, didn’t read the whole email. Unfortunately I am on the road Thursday. What do you have next week?”

“Next week is the Time Management Conference, I’m slammed.  Could you do something on the 21st?”

“I’m having my spleen removed on the 21st and I’ll be out of commission until the 28th.  How does the 29th look?”

“We’re exchanging our children for llamas on the 29th and I’ll be out until November. Then we’re into the holidays. Let’s look at something in 2013.”

“Assuming the Mayan’s were wrong?”

With Appointment Slot I choose some times when I am open for meetings/coffee/lunch and then share a link to calendar with whoever wants to meet with me. They then choose something that works for them and we’re done. One email each way and we’re off to Starbucks.

How about you, how do you handle your schedule all by yourself?

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Geoff Surratt
Geoff has served on the leadership teams at Seacoast Church and Saddleback Church, and as Managing Director of Exponential. He is the author of several books, including Together: A Guide for Couples in Ministry written with his wife Sherry. Along with writing, Geoff coaches churches and leaders around the U.S. and in Europe. Geoff lives in Denver, Colorado. Twitter: @geoffsurratt