Tuesday, March 09, 2010

time management

a wee while back Holly wrote a Note on facebook about the fact that many Quaker roles and responsibilities tend to fall on a few shoulders and maybe Meetings ought to spend some time discerning what work really needs to be done rather than just perpetuating them ad infinitum.

As I'm on our Yearly Meeting Nomination Committee it is an issue dear to my heart as we try to find people for committes that everyone seems to want to keep but no-one wants to be on! As someone who has four Quaker roles already and often gets asked to do others I am very glad that somewhere along the line I learned to say 'no' without feeling too guilty about it. Taking on too much and then burning out or not achieving what is necessary is a way too common a phenomena in Quakerdom.

Having cut back my working hours fairly recently I've gradually started to catch up with the various Quaker roles I've taken on and am realising why it all felt a bit much towards the end of last year. I spend over an hour a day dealing with assorted emails, paperwork and reading material circulated and I still don't get through it all within the wished for time frames. On top of that I still seem to wear my overseers hat on a regular basis even though I officially hung that one up a few years ago!

I have to admit that tasks that get done promptly aren't done so because of any deep and meaningful spiritual discernment process that prioritises importance but on a basis of what is quick and easy. Anything else takes it's chances in terms of allocated time and attention. That annoys me in itself but at least means that some things get done on time!

As Holly said "Where is room for testimonies of simplicity and integrity? What can we realistically commit to as a Society? If we could see where all Quaker committee, spiritual enrichment and volunteer/activist hours were going, would we like the picture it paints?"

At our MM residential recently it was acknowledged that we need to spend more of our time and money on looking after ourselves as a MM, doing the nurturing and spiritual enrichment we need to hold us together as a community rather than 4 geographically scattered worship groups. But it kept coming back to the inevitable question - who will organise it? at which point there was a deafening silence...

I've just been looking up the part in Britain Yearly Meeting's Advices and Queries that sprang to mind "28. Every stage of our lives offers fresh opportunities. Responding to divine guidance, try to discern the right time to undertake or relenquish responsibilities without undue pride or guilt. Attend to what love requires of you, which may not be great busyness"