Youth Ministry Productivity: Part Three – Horizontal Spaces

I’m not a naturally organized person.  I had to train myself to be administrative – some would say I haven’t done a great job of that!

My office easily overwhelms me – and when it looks like a bomb went off in there, I just try to avoid the fallout.  Seriously – I found myself working in the student center or Starbucks just to avoid looking in my office door!

So I developed a routine so I could live with myself!  It’s my mastery of the horizontal spaces.

Youth Ministry Productivity Part Three

Daily:  I clean my desk.  I clean off the top of my desk and straighten and organize the drawers.  Yes – I do it every day.  It usually only takes me 10 minutes (sometimes less) and I come in every morning to a clean desk.  I feel like I can start the day running.

Weekly: I clean every other horizontal ‘catch-all’ in my office.  I have a credenza that picks up stray mail like stray cats gather fleas.  My file cabinet grabs stacks of paper that never actually find their file home.  And at least two book shelves gather all my ‘I don’t know where I need to put this’ or ‘I don’t have time to put this’ junk.  Once a week, I spend about 30 minutes finding homes for everything.

Monthly:  I clean my entire office.  I have the same corners every youth pastor has – the coolers of left over Coke, the extra junk migrating from D-Now, the stray trophies someone bought at Goodwill, and random ‘I have no idea what this is or where it came from’ accoutrement.  I spend about an hour a month (sometimes longer in the summer) cleaning up my office completely.

It makes me look (and be) less crazy.  It makes me look (and be) more professional.  It makes me look (and be) most productive.  And it only takes a few minutes a day and a plan for the horizontal.


  • John

    Darren, thanks for the post. The steps are simple, but it is amazing how a clean space keeps you positive and focused in the midst of a chaotic work schedule. Thanks for sharing.

  • ScottTinman

    Great Post & reminder…maybe another would be to have a smaller desk or spaces where things can congregate…go for the simple IKEA style rather than that monster corporate desk that the Sr. Pastor has in his office. I have also noticed now going more digital with books, resources, etc that I don’t have a need for lots of bookshelves or file cabinets

  • philbell

    Scott! Love the idea of the smaller desk. I actually had to get a smaller desk when I moved offices. It’s from IKEA, and you are correct, it avoids creating needless mess!