I took the day off. Normally I would be working but I lost my day off last week with two funerals and I will lose my day this week with a day filled with two committals (one in the valley). I’ve also been sick, though have missed no time. As I look back at my nearly four years at Bethany I have taken no time off for illness and most often when I miss my day off for a funeral or other important responsibilities I take no compensatory time off later. I never complain about this, never. I love my work, all of my jobs and all of my responsibilities, excepting meetings. But today I was just plain tired and needed a break. I was happy to be home.
I could not help myself this morning, I finished off my sermon and called a woman in Calgary who did not know Hugh Creighton had died and wanted an update on his health. That was a hard call but it was life-giving too. The woman I spoke to had been a mature student and Hugh had helped with the math courses so she could complete her degree. She laughed when she told me about their swimming time-outs, Hugh’s supportive comments and the good times they shared. I promised to pass on these comments to Hugh’s sister and did so today.
Having done some work this morning I was able to move on and walk our dog and catch up on some NFL football news. It was a relaxing late morning and I found myself not-rushed, enjoying good conversation with my wife and daughter and still in my pajamas at 11 am! How decadent.
From 11 am on the day was like a vacation, no calls, no work emails, no pressure, no hurt feelings to address, no funerals to plan, my sermon/blog/bulletins for Oct 13/weekly email/etc… all done. I could relax. And I did. I even…had a nap from 230 to 5 pm. Oh my word! My sister-in-law made me a delicious fudge cake, I had some of that. Yummy. Tonight I feasted on a well-done steak (made at our BBQ) and a craft beer (thank you Breton Breweries). I will soon be taking my dog for her last walk.
Many suggest I work too hard and are concerned about my well-being, more wonder where I get the energy to do three jobs and have all three employers suggest I work too many hours for them (perhaps this is a cover for wanting me to disappear more often!). The answer is this; I have always had lots of energy but I am smarter about how I use it now, I tend to focus on work I love to do (excepting meetings) and I have become exceptionally well organized. I constantly tell people, and this is NOT false modesty, I really don’t know much but I do know how to organize my time in a highly efficient manner. Being able to do my work early, get it all done right away without letting needless distractions get in my way, allows me to be flexible when I need to be. I can make time when I have to.
But here is part of my secret formula; I don’t complain a lot about my work or spend time with others who do. I find this robs me of valuable time and energy. I also don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how other people should live, work or be. I don’t sit in my office pondering and pontificating about what others should do, I focus on my responsibilities. If asked I always will offer my POV, but it tends to be “you might call so and so, s/he will know” rather than me pretending to be an expert when I am not. I never oversell my skillset or knowledge. Others know more and I am not afraid to refer people to those in the know. It is not all about me.
I get tired, usually about one day a month, perhaps two. But in my 77 hours, three jobs, a week, I focus as much as possible on what I love about my work and the difference it makes to others. This in turn fills me with energy and excitement. Meetings and drama and know-it-alls drain me (God help me when all three come at once). But I know this and can use keep an eye on how much time and effort I spend on those matters. If I can keep those to a minimum and the rest of my work in the forefront I can be happy. It works for me.