I’ve posted a number of times on this blog on the subject of ministry burnout (if you would like to read about the symptoms and the solutions please read Avoiding Ministry Burnout and The Road to Ministry Burnout I also have a full list of posts on the subject of burnout) and yet, last year, I burned out, or at least browned out. At the time I put it down to circumstances beyond my control: the persistent doorstep presence of a needy, homeless alcoholic at the vicarage; troubles in the community which spilled into church and the failure of my organisational system (an obsolete Palm Pilot). As I emerge from the tiredness, I’ve seen how God has been at work in me, reducing my confidence in my own ability and increasing my dependence on him in prayer, as Moses prayed “O Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?” (Deut 3:24). I’ve also been seeking new ways to get organised and I am finding all sorts of tools and methods which are helping me gain control of the flow of information which hits my desk, anwer-machine, computer and me, when I meet people informally. I’ve learned that much of my stress was caused by never being sure that I’d remembered everything I needed to remember.
I am dyslexic and two parts of my dyslexic profile come together to make the task of processing information extremely difficult: a lack of short-term memory and the difficultly of writing things down in an organised way. I refuse to let these struggles become an excuse for not being organised or getting the job done. I know that I “simply” need to find ways of working with these weaknesses.
Over the next week, I’m going to blog the lessons I’ve been learning and review the tools I have picked up. By writing these reviews, it will help me to solidify the processes and, hopefully, help others who, like me, find it hard to get organised in ministry and so face the mental overload and stress associated with trying to organise self and many others.
On my list of blog posts, I’ll include:
- task organiser software and how to use it
- the benefits of using timesheet software
- running an electronic calender in conjunction with a filofax and task organiser
- systems for handling paperwork and how they have changed for me
- and the best book I’ve come across on all of the above: Getting Things Done, by David Allen.