Time can easily slip away from all of us,. In fact, managing time is a rather challenging thing to do for both humans and androids alike it would seem!
Here's one quote I have always liked concerning the management of time: “Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.” – William Blake
William Blake was a 18th century poet, painter, and printmaker who became a creative powerhouse in the world of poetry.
Reflecting on Blake's quote, the point he's making is that certain tasks are more easily accomplished at certain times of the day. One can even more broadly apply this to the flow of a week: it's better to accomplish certain creative tasks earlier in the week when one is freshest than toward the end of the week when one's energy level tends to be reduced.
Many clergy fall into the dynamic of trying to write their weekly sermon at the end of the week leading up to Sunday and then taking Mondays off as their day to "recover" from Sunday. One article I came across recently written by a long-time senior pastor explained that this dynamic is inefficient because the pastor is trying to accomplish one of the harder tasks of the week (i.e. create and rehearse an original message each week) at the "end" of the week instead of flipping the whole equation around, taking Friday's off, and then leveraging Sunday afternoons into Mondays as the primary time to research and write the weekly sermon + handle other creative-oriented tasks.
Prior to reading this article, I had been taking Mondays off, and—for the most part—writing my sermons Thursday afternoons into Saturdays. I never liked this flow, but didn't feel like there was an alternative. For the last two months, I've instead been structuring my week as outlined by the article and have found the sermon writing process to be much easier and less stressful, thus making the flow of time throughout the whole week more pleasant.
All of this is a lead-in to me announcing the general way that I am now structuring my time. The following isn't meant to be set in stone, but rather "guidelines" or "boundaries" that I adjust as is necessary:
A key takeaway for the congregation is that, whenever possible, I'm trying to meet with people for non-administratively-oriented meetings on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. For urgent pastoral care situations, this is of course adjusted; however, this provides me with a guide so as to avoid having meetings chop up other blocks of time when I'm otherwise immersed in writing, research, or project-work.
I would love to hear from others in the congregation about the flow of your week and what works well for you. I believe everyone has a different "flow," and the key is figuring out what works best for each person. Thus far, this has really been helping me (when I stick to it!).
As the Vulcans say, "Live long and prosper!"
Grace & peace,
Scott S. Himel, Senior Pastor