Friday, January 05, 2007

How not to manage the diary.

I'd determined not to attempt New Year resolutions as such this year, as my record with them is as ignoble as the next girl's - and I'm spectacularly good at beating myself up about my failures. However, there is, as my great-grandmother would say "always room for improvement" and I do have a few ideas bubbling gently which might make for a more fruitful and happier life, and demanding attention before I turn to Sunday evening's sermon...

The on-going issue of procrastination is clearly one of them!- but that's such an engrained habit that I'm currently at a loss (and any suggestions that abandoning blogging might help will be greeted with howls of derision, however accurate they may be).
More manageable thoughts would, though, be very welcome.

I have managed to submit my expenses for the last 6 months and sworn (yet again) to be more regular about this,- but though I'm enjoying a rosy glow of virtue, it's not really a life-changing achievement.

Meanwhile, though, I'm trying to build at least a monthly reading day into my life...I have a pile of theology books teetering reproachfully on my desk, and people keep recommending titles to add to it, - but bitter experience suggests that simply owning the book is no substitute for actually reading it! WonderfulVicar and I had even thought we might manage to discuss books we'd read on a regular basis (though I'm not holding my breath on that one).
I know I need to do this, it should enhance my ministry and in any case I always feel more alive if my brain has had to work seriously, so this appeared to be a win/win resolve.
"So", I thought happily, "first week back at work, diary nice and would be a good moment to get the monthly slot written in."
Except that it isn't. Already, looking at January, it seems impossible to find a single clear day that I can really use , unless I dip out of something I've already said agreed to. I guess if I were to suddenly become capable of preparing sermons well in advance (see issue no 1 above) , there might be a chance on Friday 19th - but if my life proceeds as normal, then I'll undoubtedly want to spend much of that day on the sermon for 21st...and I'd hate to waste a precious reading day fretting that I ought to be doing something else entirely.
I could carve out a morning here, an afternoon there quite easily, but being so emminently distractible I really want to get out of the house, away from phone and computer, as an aid to concentration...which means that it really does need to be a full day. So, what do I do?
I can't let this go in the very first month of the year...
And, as a supplementary question, how on earth do I choose which book to start with?

They are all so enticing...and have hung around waiting for attention for too long already.
Hot contenders include Timothy Radcliffe's "What is the point of being a Christian?"

Judy Hirst's "Struggling to be holy", any amount of Eugene Peterson and something I really want to read before I start the Spiritual Direction course (which begins on 15th, so I've probably blown that anyway)...
" Holy Listening" by Margaret Guenther.
(An interesting twist here is that I'm absolutely sure that I didn't buy this, nor do I remember having been given/lent it...yet here it is, indisputably present and just what I'll need, I'm sure).
Christmas, of course, has only compounded the problem, as there's now John Eaton's "Psalms for Life" and Teresa Berger's "Fragments of Real Presence" also calling to me seductively.

How to choose?
And when shall I do the reading?
Help! Pleeeeese!
Hints, tips or even a bit of bullying really welcome!


Anonymous said...

Faced with all those books to read, which obviously really Engage the Whole Brain and will require a lot of Very Deep reminds me of the shallow thinking person I have become..and I simply reach for the honey pot.... because, rall is Time for a Little Something???

Anonymous said...

I loved your comment that

"Bitter experience suggests that simply owning the book is no substitute for actually reading it!"

My family groan(s) when I even approach a bookshop nowadays - I have a growing pile of books I intend to/should/might read! How to find time ...?!

One of the things that really used to annoy me about "time-management" courses was the advice to "book an appointment with yourself" in your diary". Theoretically great - practically impossible!!

Please, only stop blogging as a very last resort ;)