Thursday, October 22, 2015

time to flourish: a theology of time management

The day lies open before me. It is gift, waiting to unwrapped.

How to fill it?

Appointments – these include the requests from outside to meet, greet, complain, engage. Each of these reach out to fill my day.  When I think of appointments, I also include my to do list. As it lies open before me, it is also making appointments, marking my diary not with “Meeting” but with “Complete marking schedule.”

Crisis – something unexpected might happen. I recall days that have been consumed by funding crisis or relationship breakdown. The adrenaline surges and the crisis engulfs.

Routine – the comfort of habit. I settle today in what I did yesterday. Yet if I am honest, what I did yesterday was what I did last week, last month, last month, last decade. There is security in this, the rhythm of routine. But do I want my gravestone to be titled “lived by habit.”

Flourish – Psalm 1, the lectionary reading for today, suggests another approach. In verse 3

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Which got me thinking about the shape of flourishing. I suspect what it means for me to flourish might be different from what it means for you to flourish. My role, my skills, my context, invite a particular set of fruit.

The Psalm mentions not only fruit, but leaves.  Like fruit, leaves also are particular, shaped by seasons. Again comes the reminder that my season is different than your season. So to flourish, in fruit and foliage, is unique, an individual fingerprint.

This requires some work, some intentionality. What might my fruit be? I began to journal, a rough draft. A flourishing Principal will

  • ensure continuous quality improvement in learning and forming
  • be careful, competent, yet creative with resources (buildings, people, systems)
  • connect with stakeholders in ways that serve the church of tomorrow
  • think (research and write) in ways that take the organisation they serve back to the future

In doing this work, I find that the gift that is my day now has some shape. It might well be expressed in appointments, in responding to crisis, in routine. But my day, my time mangement, is now  more that the sum of its parts.  To grow fruit takes time. The deliberate application of fertiliser, the careful pruning, the commitment to thin appropriately. And so the gift of today is now shaped – by what it means for me and my organisation to flourish.

Posted by steve at 07:04 AM

3 Comments

  1. Hi Steve,

    I like the word ‘flourishing’ to think about time management… a lot of the best work we do doesn’t categorise well. But to start by looking for what ‘flourishing’ could be like in the day ahead is nice… starts things off on the right foot.

    thanks :)

    Comment by Tom Mepham — October 29, 2015 @ 11:28 am

  2. Oh Steve, have just today (Thurs 29th) read this, and it is so helpful.
    Thanks, from someone who is struggling with the loss of routine and familiar, and is wondering if it is possible to flourish in a new and unexpected situation.
    Jan

    Comment by jan — October 29, 2015 @ 2:29 pm

  3. thanks Jan and Tom. Appreciate the feedback.

    I think time management for creatives needs a more creative approach, so glad of the ongoing chances to think and reflect

    steve

    Comment by steve taylor — November 1, 2015 @ 5:51 am

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