Priestly Time Juggling

I tell people that my life is a juggling act where the goal is not to drop the same ball every week.  If you’ve ever seen me (attempt to) juggle, you’d have an appreciation for just how appropriate this image is.

Time management is challenging.  For all of us.  A Google search for “time management” returns 189,000,000 other results in 0.54 seconds, the top result promising 40 skills to help manage your time.

I read some of these articles.  I’d like to find the answer to perfect time management.  I’ve always known that it’s a long shot–personality-wise I’m more inclined to busy procrastination and messy piles than being meticulously organized.  One of the people I read who talks about life and work is Penelope Trunk.  I don’t always agree with her, but she always makes me think.  And she recently had this to say about time managment,

One of the keys to my ability to work 40 hours a week and homeschool two kids is that I have great time management. Which is to say, I say no to just about everything.

(Feel free to click through to read the rest of her post, but it quickly becomes about why she’d rather read a book than talk to an author.)

And I finally understood the other reason why I’ll never be great at time management.

When my phone rings with someone who needs help, who wants my time, who needs to be heard, my day gets rearranged.  The conversation with the person next to me in the coffee shop takes precedence over my own work.  Getting someone else’s dinner comes before my own some nights. The paperwork gets pushed back.  The sermon writing gets delayed.

I was called to be a priest.  To say yes.

As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with its precepts. You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. (BCP, 531)

Sometimes it calls for creative time management.  For fitting the paperwork and the sermon writing and the other known tasks into the corners and cracks of what my days and weeks become.  (Other times it can be very boring.)

I was called to be a priest, to say yes.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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