Work and play

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.  I think that having one day off a week is not enough.  If it really worked out that I only worked two sessions each day out of a morning, an afternoon and an evening, one day off a week would still not be enough.  I’ve worked different shift patterns in my career, and the 0830-1700 Monday to Friday as well, but I’ve never spent 2 years working as hard as I do now.  And I wasn’t particularly a slacker in my former life, although I did observe boundaries about going home and not working long hours.  

I’ve just had six days off after Easter.  I spent three of those in bed trying to get over lurgy, two running around in search of school uniform, children’s shoes, and doing domestic chores.  Which leaves today, with not great weather, remains of lurgy, and the knowledge that I’m back on tomorrow for four services – but no preaching.  My energy levels are not what they should be.  

I have to find a better way to work and to relax, to get my energy levels up and to function.  I have no desire to end up in a lunatic asylum or a nursing home.  But the Church seems hellbent on tearing itself apart over who can and can’t be the best Christian leaders, without noticing this fundamental organisational flaw.

If I spent my days drifting gently about writing sermons and chatting to people in the street, then the one day off might work.  If I could get a lot of my chores done during my working week, then that would make life easier.  So I think I need some Easter Resolutions

1.  Working from home means that keeping my home environment safe and clean is part of work.  So do it and count it as work.
2.  If I burn out that doesn’t help anyone.  So take the recovery time I need.  If necessary call it Quiet Time, Retreat Time, whatever makes it acceptable to the Church.
3.  Keep the art of saying No.  Some Curates have been discussing when it is acceptable to break into family holidays for pastoral reasons.  I might swap a day off about if it doesn’t affect my family, but I wouldn’t break into a holiday.  My family will remember if I let them down.  Forever.  A funeral family won’t be able to remember my name in a year’s time.
4.  Remember that I am in charge of my working day.  If I work myself to a frazzle, that is not the fault of my Training Incumbent (who does his best to ensure I lead a balanced life), or of the parish, or of anyone apart from me.  

Can anyone think of any other strategies that lead to a better balance?

6 responses to “Work and play

  1. So agree with you on this – and not just for clergy either. Saying no is fine and should be taught to degree level at least! Hugs to you xxx

  2. Just finished a week “off” where it took until Thursday for me ti feel like a human being again, leaving precious little time to appreciate being with my family. I am making similar resolutions….

  3. Sound familiar, from when I was working all hours and sometimes upto 14 days without a break, including weekends. It does burn you out and the only thing that keeps you sane is that space to breathe, to be with family and friends or just to be yourself, without the phone or any other communications device. The guilt kicks in, but you have to overcome it. You quite rightly point out that you will be of little use to family or parishioners in an Asylum 😦

    Now I'm retired, it took me a good 6 months to slow down – I dived straight into church stuff and study, testing a vocation and anything else that brought me into contact with people. Eventually the DDO put a stop to it. He told me I was doing so much that I wasn't taking the time or space for prayer or reflection needed to really see where God might be calling me to serve.

    I took a deep breathe and did exactly what he told me. I stepped back from some church commitments, took more time for my family and started during half-day quiet days at least monthly. Life goes on, but at a slower, balanced pace and it really made a difference. I know that I don't have children to worry about, they flew the nest years ago, but I've got 5 lively, teenage grand children, who can be great fun or the opposite (hormone and growing stuff) but who actually bring some sanity. Down to earth and still bright eyed enough to help me see life through the lens of youth.

    Life is to precious to regret it – we need to look after ourselves, or we won;t be able to help others.

    Will be praying that your new balance works out for you [*]

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