How I Don’t Get Everything Done

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Introduction

I was recently asked about my daily schedule, about my routines and such. I am willing to share this, with a couple of caveats. First, this is a calendric average, not counting periodic interruptions, like time on the road, or holidays, or having a wedding on the weekend, or the way it was twenty years ago. And second, all of this is a function of personality, current circumstances, and station in life. If someone finds some element of this helpful, great. If not, no worries. Sometimes people ask how I get it all done, and the best answer is that I don’t. If you imitate any of this, the guarantee is that you too will start not getting it all done also.Inside Head

For those of you who are not sure you are up for me being quite so transparent as all this, I can assure you that I will not be posting any Instagram photographs of my breakfast.

Overview

Monday through Wednesday I go to the office around 8:30. Thursday morning the Christ Church session meets from 6 am to 7:30. Friday morning I have a men’s prayer meeting at 6:30 am followed by a breakfast together. Saturday is (for the most part) my day off (my day off would actually be a mash-up of Saturday and Sunday afternoon).

On Sunday morning I have time set aside for prayer and devotional reading prior to the services, and how much time depends on whether it is summer when we have one service a bit later, or the school year when we have two services, with the first one (of necessity) a bit earlier.

Morning Routines

This routine would apply to Monday through Wednesday, and partially to Saturday. I get up usually around 6, shower, and go to my study. There I have my own prayer time and Bible reading. I do my Bible reading on my iPad, using Logos Bible Software, and follow it up by reading briefly through a small stack of Kindle books I am working on.

Then I take coffee back to Nancy, and we have our reading time together. Currently we are working through a book of readings from C.S. Lewis, J.B. Phillips translation of the New Testament, and the Oxford Book of Christian Verse. Then we pray for the day, for the grandkids, for particular needs, etc.

Then it is back out to my study where I try to write something trenchant for all you chirruping baby robins. (Some of you: “Well, that explains the worms.”) This is generally my blogging window, and then off to work around 8:30 as mentioned aforetime.

On Saturday morning, it is very similar to Monday through Wednesday, with the exception of a replacement of my normal blogging with material I write up for use the next day in worship. I prepare the prayers, the exhortation, the homily for the Lord’s Supper, and I read over the sermon outline again, and finalize it. Some of that I post here on Saturdays, as you may have noticed.

Meetings and Appointments

In the course of my time in the office, it is divided up into three general categories. The first is meetings and appointments, the second is teaching, and the third is studying and writing, most of which is sermon prep.

Over a Monday through Friday week, I range between 5 and 13 appointment slots taken on my calendar. These are mostly counseling appointments or pastoral visits, but would also include committee meetings for things related to the church or NSA.

I am usually teaching at least one course for NSA, which means there is a seminar early in the week (Monday or Tuesday), and a recitation later in the week where I meet with the students to ask and answer questions about their readings.

Wednesday is sermon outline day, which is largely kept free of appointments for that reason. The outline is between a thousand and eleven hundred words, and represents about a quarter of the sermon as actually preached. The outline is prepared then so that it can be incorporated into the bulletin which the office girls print on Thursday.

So Wednesday is a time for study, reading commentaries, and writing up the outline. That is usually done by early afternoon. That outline is what I preach from on Sunday, apart from the final sandpapering I might do on Saturday morning.

My father is going to be 89 this fall, and still lives independently. He has a fruitful daily ministry counseling people who come by to meet with him. But he does need help to get up and going in the morning, a responsibility I share with my two brothers who live here in Moscow. I take Thursday and Friday mornings, after my early morning meetings.

During the school year, we have an event at Canon Press called Beer & Psalms. On the way home from work, a little after five, a number of men drop in to have a pint of beer on tap, and to learn how to sing parts on various psalms and hymns.

So on Wednesdays, I get home around six, but normally around five.

Sabbath Dinner

One of the things that makes this all go is the fact that Nancy is amazing. Every week we launch the Lord’s Day at 6 pm Saturday night. We have the two of us, three kids, their spouses, and seventeen grandkids. We bring my dad over for sabbath, which makes us a cool 26. In the school year we have four boarders who usually join us, which brings us to 30, and we have a standing invitation to our well-beloved shirt-tail relatives, which can add another 7. We usually have company forbye, so add them, and so we usually also have quite a jolly time.

But behind it all is the fact that Nancy cooks fabulous meals for 30, 40, or more on a weekly basis. I do my little widow’s mite by setting up tables and chairs, but Nancy is the one who produces hot delicious food for the masses. Unless we are barbecuing, in which case I produce hot food for the masses. You can’t have everything all the time, and I think you shouldn’t complain about it. It was hot.

Don’t Forget Time in the Truck

Now Moscow is not that big a town, and I can get from home to work in about three or four minutes. A long haul, from one end of town to the other, might take ten minutes. But this is the time I redeem listening to books on Audible. I am currently listening to Letters to Malcolm by Lewis.

Most Evenings

When I get home, Nancy and I usually visit for a while, catching up on the day. After that, I toddle off to watch the news, with Nancy frequently joining me. I record Special Report on DVR, which means that I can fast forward through the commercials, the stories that failed to grip, or the stories from the Middle East that are the same every time. That usually takes half an hour or a bit more.

We have dinner around 6. During the school year, we have some NSA boarders downstairs, and they join us for dinner.

Our kids and grandkids all live here in Moscow, and so during the week we frequently have someone dropping by. The kids terryhoot in the front yard, and we spend time visiting. That happens at least a couple times a week, usually more.

The evening is when I do my regular reading. I have at least four books that I try to read from daily. I have the “book I am currently reading,” which right now is Tom Reilly’s Cromwell Was Framed, a book of poetry from which I read a poem or two (currently Gerard Manley Hopkins), a work of fiction (right now it is Advise and Consent by Allen Drury), and a “bucket book,” defined as a book I really should have read by this stage in my life, but somehow have neglected to do. Right now that is Volume 1 of The Fundamentals, a collection of pamphlets from the fundamentalist/modernist controversy in the early part of the twentieth century.  Except for the poetry, I read ten pages at a go.

After that, I take a short time to work on some “chip away” projects, which would be a few books I am writing at a pace of 100 words a day. This doesn’t take very long — I open the file and close it when it is 100 words longer than it was.

Once in a blue moon, when we want to live on the edge, Nancy and I will rent a movie.

Then off to bed.

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adad0
Member

Any details on trips to the dump?????

jigawatt
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jigawatt

Any details on trips to the dump?

I think he reads his blog comments all throughout the day.

adad0
Member

Hey! I resemble that statement!
????

Eric McDonald
Guest
Eric McDonald

When do you exercise pastor Doug?

insanitybytes22
Member

Now there’s a good question!

Rick Davis
Guest
Rick Davis

I think 1 Tim 4:8 is an appropriate verse in this situation.

timbushong
Member

Loaded Q, I think.

Mark Thogmartin
Guest
Mark Thogmartin

Pastor Doug, what do you like to do for recreation on those Saturdays or Sunday afternoons? Any hobbies like golf or kite flying?

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

Ah, but everything you get done, you do. Hence “all.”

But man, hat first 2.5 hours in the morning sounds pretty darn productive. Shower, shave (oh, wait!), groom, etc., breakfast, devotional, reading, reading with Nancy, prayer. AND blogging? Heck, when do you keep up with goings on on other parts of the web – other blogs, theological debates, evangelical landscape stuff and the like? Is that patched in somewhere with the “study and writing” time?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I can’t tell you how guilty reading this made me feel. Also tired, as if I had run some early morning marathon. Comparing Doug’s schedule, time slot by time slot, with my own, I realized that I visibly embody the deadly sin of Sloth. Nine AM: wake, drink coffee, check out new cat and cursing cockatoo videos. Nine-thirty: pet cats. Twelve: think about taking on the day. This is simply terrible.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

LOL! “Pet cats.” A scheduled item! I know it’s hyperbole but that gave me a good laugh.
Yeah I think many of us are susceptible to some uncomfortable reactions to something like this. But nah, don’t go that route. Just take the realization and self-reflection as an opportunity to organize and self-discipline a bit more. Baby steps.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Nine-thirty: pet cats.

Owning cats is itself the eighth deadly sin.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I like that. Cats certainly contribute to sloth. It is said that Mohammed refused to disturb his cat so sat still all one day, and this is why all tabbies have an M on their foreheads. On the other hand, the nuns told me that a cat warmed the baby Jesus in the manger, and to show her appreciation Mary arranged for all tabbies to have an M on their foreheads. Oh well, as long as nobody is saying that the M on tabby foreheads stands for Manson!

Jane
Member

I have found cat ownership good for my mental health. Even though he’s not always affectionate on my schedule (which means an attempt to pet might result in a pawful of claws) the mere presence of a creature capable of such total relaxation and calm canbe calming to me. Also, in real crisis situations, I’ve noticed he does turn on the charm when I really need it. He seems to have some God-given sense for that despite not being the most affectionate kitty ever (though he can be quite cuddly on his own schedule.)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think they are also wonderful when you are sick. My cats range themselves around my recumbent form and gaze at me with tender solicitude. What kind of cat do you have?

Jane
Member

Just a tabby-mutt, a gray tabby with some orange undertones that get a lot stronger with his winter coat. He was born feral and rescued with his litter, and we picked him up at the shelter as soon as he was old enough to stop being a boy. We knew he was the one we wanted when he started crawling up under my then 19 year old son’s jacket and peeking out the top to nuzzle him. He’s gotten more aloof since then but still likes some cuddle time almost every day.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

He sounds lovely. I would love to post a picture of my 24 pound Maine Coon Buddy, but I think that might be over the top, so I will refrain. I mean, I know what would follow. Links to my daughter’s youtube videos. Pictures of my sewing projects. News flashes from Buzzfeed. I think Doug should give us a reading club site where we could discuss great literature and show off pictures of our cats.

wtrsims
Member

40AAAK warned us this was going to happen!

“Beware the rolling pins!” was his cry.

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“News flashes from Buzzfeed.”

I recomend you switch to redit.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I like that too. But Buzzfeed has news I would never find anywhere else, like the woman who mistook her spray can of mousse for a spray can of industrial expanding foam and plastered it on her hair.http://www.hngn.com/articles/135734/20151001/bad-hair-day-when-woman-mistakes-builders-foam-for-hair-mousse-and-goes-to-hospital.htm

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“I think Doug should give us a reading club site where we could discuss great literature and show off pictures of our cats.”

Or one of you could start a disqus group.

Ian Miller
Member

A disqus group, or reddit, or facebook – I don’t know if poor Doug should do anything. We are perfectly capable people who can take advantage of the hard work of other internet people! :)

Jane
Member

Isn’t there something called….Face…something….where people discuss things and show pictures of cats?

Arwenb
Guest
Arwenb

Are you sure it’s tender solicitude and not general discussion on whether you will live, and if not, how to apportion your corpse? They are cats after all… ^_^

(Full disclosure: I currently have three, myself)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I asked the two Maine Coons about that. They assured me that they have no malign intention towards my person, but warned me never to turn my back on the Siamese.

Christopher
Member
Christopher

If Manson was involved they’d have his swastika.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

What a horrible thought. Did you know that there is a website called Kitler for cats who look like Hitler? I am sure I am sinning when I laugh at them.

Christopher
Member
Christopher

I think I had heard of that. I try to avoid those parts of the internet.

wtrsims
Member

Pastor Wilson, at what point during the day do you catch Pokemon?

Giddy Feathertop
Guest
Giddy Feathertop

When do you play guitar or jam with your group?

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Man. One suggestion: look into smoking, as in barbecue. Once you get the hang of it you can feed a crowd delicious fresh smoked pulled pork with relatively little work and very little money. Start here.

Katecho
Member

Wilson didn’t mention his secret army of irregulars who constantly deliver news and intelligence to his email box. He also didn’t mention the armies of people who must then read and filter his email for him. :-)

timbushong
Member

“terryhoot”

(o:

Katecho
Member

Unless there is some special reference, I think Wilson meant “tarryhoot”.

Andrew Kelly
Guest
Andrew Kelly

With a large congregation and a small number of counseling slots, how do you determine which cases go to you verses which ones go to other ministers/elders/etc.?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Are we assuming that “cases” = reactive situations, vs proactive pastoral touches?

Imagine a sheep farmer who attends only to those sheeps what waddle by, pleading for a bandaid.
When do the others get checked for vermin? Get their hairs clipped? Their balls whacked, or not?

Have most Protestant churches pretty much given up on pastoral care and gone in for Preachers only? (not that we don’t need preachers only too in some places)

Luke Pride
Guest

No exercise brother? Or so you tarryhoot with the kids for that?