Saturday, September 01, 2007

The kind of day that is deeply satisfying to me

is one in which I feel useful, effective, and joyful all in the same twenty four hours!

I'm a list-maker and find that technique the most efficient for keeping both my personal and professional life orderly, or as orderly as possible under the conditions imposed by any particular occasion. I have a running "master" list of things to accomplish over time, usually projecting out a couple of months. The list is divided into "Ministry" and "Home"; the Ministry list has two sections---one entitled "congregation" and one entitled "other". "Congregation" ministry means sermons, people to call, local occasions to mark, etc. "Other" ministry is weddings, speaking gigs, interfaith stuff, etc. The Home list is full of little and big stuff-----oil change, investigate deer-proof perennials, buy season tickets to the theater season, etc.

Daily I make up a short list on a post-it note of the things I want to get done that day: go to the gym, laundry, groceries, call this person or that, visit this one, pay bills. You get the picture. As each item is completed I cross it off. It's a highly satisfactory time management tool. The post-it is 4x6, lined, and I can get a lot of things on it. Often I'll break larger items into chunks---list bills, write checks, mail them---if I am daunted by the magnitude of the job (yes, paying bills sometimes does that to me!).

Yesterday's list had several items, some of them biggies. But in one of those serendipitous rolls of the universe's dice, nearly every item brought me a sense of being in the right place at the right time: my visit to the gym put me in contact with a person I try to keep track of since a death a few months ago and we talked a bit and agreed to get together; a cup of coffee with a newer friend who is a chaplain/priest on the island was full of laughter and some serious talk about social issues and chaplaincy; a visit to the nearby hospice to see someone resulted in a long, deep conversation about death and dying well, finding healing in surrender; and a phone call the night before from someone alerting me to a need in another congregant gave me a chance to check in with someone who was facing the recent death of a close friend and hospitalization of another, a conversation which was good for us both. Even "send so and so an email" to a few people resulted in cheery replies and helpful information. And on top of it all, I got my paycheck in the mail (of course, that means I now have to pay bills!) and a long letter from an old friend who has relocated to Salt Lake City.

And after a tasty home cooked meal, I settled down to watch the movie "Sweet Land", a tender drama about a German mail-order bride who arrives in a small rural community during World War I, to the consternation of the residents. It's a true love story born out of prejudice and redemption. I recommend it.

Today promises to be another good day. I just got back from a "Denver scramble" breakfast at a local cafe, where I enjoyed reading the newspapers over coffee and the aforementioned scrambled egg, hashbrowns, sourdough toast and strawberry jam. In a little while, I'll head for Lavender Wind Farm, where Sarah is having her annual plant sale and I can stock up on deer-proof perennials. A stop at the Coupeville Farmers' Market is in order as well as is a stroll down Coupeville's Main street to check out the Labor Day sales. A nice lunch along the way, planting those perennials, and, after supper, sitting down to watch "Miss Potter", which Netflix has finally been able to send me.

Who knows what other adventures the day might bring? I'll let you know.


Mile High Pixie said...

how funny! I use those same 4x6 lined post-its to make my lists of work tasks, especially now that I'm running four or five projects at a time. Birds of a feather!

Ms. Theologian said...

I just used 3 x 5 cards, but I think it's definitely the same idea. :)

We just saw Sweet Land last week. So what did you think of the minister's role in the story? I wish that had got a bit more screen time.