Time Management, Sabbath and Other Struggles (pt.1)
I am bad at time management. In one of his letters Paul talks about having a thorn in his flesh that he just can’t shake. No matter how hard he prays, works or tries he just can’t shake it. Some problems we just live with our entire lives. Time management is my thorn in the flesh. This is the result of several personal flaws that add up to one large problem. Let’s talk about those. We will look at them as described my many of my friends.
“Coleman, you just can’t say ‘no’ to people.”
This is not true, of course. I can and do tell people no quite often. I just don’t like to. People come to me all the time with ideas, initiatives, tasks and projects that sound amazing. I want to be part of that! I love jumping in on anything that I can that is going to be fun and beneficial. The problem really is that I have a hard time saying no to myself. I don’t have the discipline to tell myself that my plate is too full.
“You have your hands in everything.”
In my opinion, being effective at mobilizing people and resources starts with having information. The more things that I can be involved in the better, because those are more things that I know about and more places where I have the ability to move others into. This is a sound idea, but again, the struggle comes with juggling too many things.
“How close are you to burnout?”
Anyone who has known me for very long knows that I build my life in such a way that I am always creeping up on the burnout stage. They also know that I have been there before. Not terribly long ago I was working 60 hours a week at my job, driving three hours each direction to go to school full-time and only sleeping about three hours a night, usually in my car at a truck-stop parking lot because I was falling asleep at the wheel. I did that for six months before I finally just couldn’t handle it any more. Eventually I passed out at work and was promptly fired. I told my boss as she was taking my keys, “It really sucks that I am getting fired, but all that I could think as I was driving here tonight was how happy I was that I was going to get to go home and go to sleep in my bed.” Only two weeks later I was interviewing for another job and saying to my interviewer, “I don’t mind working full-time, and honestly if you need me for more than that I am comfortable working 50 or 60 hours a week.” Lesson not learned.
My work habits have led to strained relationships, poor health and a myriad of other issues that I am probably not aware of yet. More on that in a future post.
“You have a natural sense of urgency.”
This was the greatest compliment that anyone has ever given me. It was the confirmation of many things that I valued about myself: my type-a tendencies, my high capacity for multiple tasks, impatience with average. I tend to drive fast, walk fast, talk fast, and value brevity when someone is communicating task-oriented information to me. This compliment has been the basis of the justification of much of my work ethic in the past three or four years. The compliment was about my attitude at work, but I think that it definitely applies to my attitude toward life as well. Time is of the essence.