The discussion around working hours and Time Off triggered quite a few comments. The overall feel was that it’s a privilege to do what we do but it’s a real challenge keeping it in balance!
Here’s some stuff that wiser people have taught me over the years and which have worked for me:
1. Block out Time off well in Advance, plan the year! If you don’t it becomes difficult to take some meaningful space.
2. If someone wants you to do something never say “Yes” there and then
it’s too easy to say yes just because there’s a space in your diary. Get them to write or e-mail with a clear idea of what they’d like you to do. You then have the space to think/pray and it’s easier to say No if necessary.
3. If the answer is NO be very clear about that rather than introducing maybes which only lead to stress
4. When booking things into your diary make sure you are looking at the context of the whole week/period. It’s very easy to just look at the page and think it’s fine, then later realise it’s the day after a residential and the day before a major presentation for example.
5. Evaluate and re-evaluate, put time for this in the diary.
6. Without time and space to pray or think you and your job suffer.
Oh and number 7. I was taught by a Methodist Minister. People tend to look over your shoulder and if your diary is free that day expect you to be able to do what they’ve asked. In order to make sure you have some time/space write phantom or coded things in, these are ones I like:
“Family maintenance Seminar” (evening off)
“Cultural Engagement Study evening” (Cinema trip)
“Space, prayer and reflection practical” (going for a walk)