Sunday, July 19, 2009

Words I never expected to say

"I must get organised"

Regular readers will know that I make it a point of honour to be almost a caricature of my MyersBriggs ENFP profile, avoiding planning (dreaming is different), leaving everything til the last minute if not later and generally running scared of anything that looks remotely like a schedule.
That worked quite well in curacy days...The main things were laid out, daily and weekly, and though I could bounce chaotically from one to another, there was no danger of essentials being overlooked or spoiled through lack of preparation, because the ultimate responsibility was not mine.

Now, of course, it's a very different matter.
I'm the one responsible for ensuring that those fixed things that held me on course actually happen.
I'm the one responsible for ensuring that I achieve such necessary things as Time Off (interesting - WonderfulVicar struggled with this one too; though he was very good at safeguarding my day off, his own was a different matter)
I have total freedom to organise my days, and my diary, - or to let the diary organise me instead.

I guess I took my diary's supremacy for granted til last week.
I would write in appointments, thinking "That clear slot on Tuesday afternoon will be just perfect for rewriting the Baptism intro leaflet" - but then someone would ask to see me and I'd offer them Tuesday afternoon, because it seemed rude to postpone them when I could fit them in and only inconvenience myself.
In fact, any time a real person hove in sight, I'd squeeze them in to the diary no matter what...which meant that always, the long-term desirables were postponed and the short-term essentials were often completed only by excessive burning of the midnight oil.

It just didn't occurr to me that the diary was MINE to control...til in conversation with a friend, another cleric, I discovered that he has perfected the art of apportioning time in ways that make sense.
For example, by Tuesday I owe the parish mag editor all kinds of copy.
I've known this for a while, but trusted that a slot would appear in which I could work on it...With no such slot forthcoming, I'll be working late tomorrow night
D., however, would have identified some time weeks ago in which he would work on the magazine and no matter what came up, he would stick to it.

One crucial difference is that he's part of a team, and doesn't hold overall responsibility for the life of his church, but (pathetic though it seems) this was truly the first time I had dreamed that such an approach was possible.
With the Herring of Christ to encourage, I can't afford to be heading into weekends with things still evolving around me. It's simply not fair when he's learning the job to force him to engage with a constantly shifting landscape as whatever else, worship prep needs attention. It would be good to know by Thursday night who is doing what, and how, on Sunday morning...

The problem is, the one slot I can see in this week's diary is late on Sunday afternoon.......


Song in my Heart said...

It's always easier for me to stick to appointments made with other humans than to work toward a deadline. That's one reason regular in-person mentoring meetings were so useful to me.

Some things will always disrupt your schedule; there's no predicting when some pastoral issue might come up which requires an immediate response. But it won't happen every time.

I'm too tired to make much sense but I do have a bunch more to say.

Word verification: nonsin. Really!

Songbird said...

Oh, dear. I resemble your remarks, I fear!

JP said...

Kathryn - thanks for this, which I find immensely reassuring! I've just figured out that I need to put lines through my diary to blank out days off and time for preparation - and then stick to it. I've also finally realised that I do need to actually have a job list - with deadlines next to each task. Isn't the problem that we always do the most urgent tasks first, and never leave time for the most important stuff? - the two are not necessarily the same!

JP said...

PS - back to my day off!

Kathryn said...

JP...I couldn't have put it better myself! And isn't the internet confusing in terms of day off. My rule is that I'm not allowed on the desk top, which is in the study and thus = work on Fridays...but the laptop is fine, so I can footle happily in other rooms.
Have a happy day. It's not actually raining here - hope the same where you are.

mid-life rookie said...

Kathryn, this is too funny. I am reading your blog to avoid making my list of things to do and prioritizing them and here you are reminding me to get busy! So, I guess I will.

I love the way you put "It just didn't occurr to me that the diary was MINE to control..." We so often schedule for everyone else and their dog, but not for ourselves.

Graham said...

Thanks a lot again for your honesty which is very encouraging and helpful.

The Methodist Church in its infinite wisdom compels a sabbatical every 7-10 years. I had one last year. It helped in some way to stop me overfilling my diary and thinking I had to say 'yes' all the time....although give me human need/human contact and I'm quite prepared to cross out admin time (but with reluctance worship prep time)...

maggi said...

I think you need to write "Appointment" in large letters right through every Friday. (the appointment is with your day off). If someone else reads your diary over your shoulder they can't assume you are free because there's nothing written in it...

St said...

Well posted Kathryn. Of course (you know) it is the F in your ENFP that finds it so hard to turn people down. Someone once told me to remember that I am an inmportant person too and preparation/writing time is an appointment with myself. My diary is full of initials with boxes round. I also write KEEP FREE againts one evening a week apart from my day off and keep moving it until it will go nowhere and then that week's evenings are full.