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I was in a meeting with clergy yesterday. The topic of busyness came up – not an entirely unusual occurrence in such a setting. One of my colleagues suggested that in response to the stress of having too much to do, “We’re not sure what to do; so we just do more of everything.”
It is a tempting illusion – if only I run a little faster, eventually I will get to the end of my to-do list and be able to rest. Of course by the time my list runs out, another is already waiting to take its place. The work is never done. There are always more demands, needs, and expectations than I can ever satisfy.
I try elaborate time management schemes that promptly fall apart under the pressure of the real world. I recruit more volunteers, or even hire more staff. But volunteers and staff bring to-do lists of their own. There does not seem to be any way to tinker with the reality that there is always too much to do, never enough time in which to do it, and too few resources to fulfill all the legitimate demands made upon our energies.
If we are going to survive the pressures of work, we must take an entirely different approach.
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