Interrupting the Interruptions: Getting Through An Overwhelming Work Week

My sleep was interrupted by a multitude of events last night.  It was a rainy stormy night and my 6 month old son who went to bed late wakes up in fear at about 1:30am, even though my wife got up to console him I found myself awake.  At 3:00am the rain grew so loud that my wife and I both awoke and the first thought in our heads was, “Oh no the basement!” because it tends to flood more times than not.  Fortunately, none of that happened.  And then at 4:30am my son decides to wake again, this time I take him but he was hungry, so my wife takes him.  Alarm goes off at 6:30am, again at 6:35am, then at 6:37am, finally I turn it off in hopes that I don’t sleep in past 7:00am.  Now I’m getting ready for my 12 hour work day.
Sleep interrupted is not good, neither is a work day.  Maybe it’s the phone ringing, staff members talking so loud that you feel as if you are a part of the conversation, constant questions, emails, thoughts, worries, etc. How do you make it all stop?  You can’t, life will always be interrupted; however, the way to push through these times is to have a plan.
First thing every youth minister should do with their time (preferably at home) is find some quiet time with God.   I’ve struggled with this of late because I’m feeling overwhelmed (even more reason to pray), but I know even if I give myself 5 minutes with Him, I’m showing God that I trust Him to bring me through the day.
Next identify the big 5, meaning what are the 5 most job responsibilities that you need to take care of in the week to be successful at what you do.  Basically what are the more important parts of your job.  You shouldn’t really have more than 5, but if you have more figure out what you need to delegate or pass on. Talk to your pastor get his insight, but discover what it is you need to get done so that your time isn’t wasted with the things you might not be good at doing.
Next step to take to move through the interruptions is to work on a schedule.  In your schedule you should margin time to get those 5 things done, but give yourself more time than you might need.  On top of that margin time to reflect and learn, so that you aren’t constantly doing, doing, doing and that you have an opportunity to be fed.  Those interruptions will wear you out, so if you don’t have the margin, you’ll lose out quick.
Finally find someone to go to.  Maybe you have a mentor, a coach or maybe it’s your pastor you can sit down with to voice concerns about why you struggle with getting things done during the day.  Some of the best ways to solve a problem is to gather an outside perspective.
Interruptions will come, but we can’t just treat them like an isolated bad day, we need to know that every time we move forward to do God’s work we are going to get attacked.  Your work day is all a part of the spiritual battle and the best way to win is to know God is on your side and to plan.
What ways do you move through the interruptions?

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  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, I need to pick up “Born to Run.” I’m more of a jogger / 5k guy – but I’ve now had 3x recommendations to read this.

    Great blog. Interruptions happen all the time. When our kids were infants, we found that two things helped – #1 Force yourself to get to bed early, #2 – Alternate waking up for feeding (if that’s an option).

    And I like the reminder about finding quiet time for God. Sometimes turning the radio off in the car is the right time / place, along with right before going to bed.

    Hang in there – it’ll go by faster than you think.

  • Even if you’ve never run Born to Run is a great book. Thanks for the tips it’s something my wife and I have to push ourselves to do. The quiet time in the car I think is key because we easily distract ourselves with music or talk radio.
    Even if it takes 10 minutes, finding time with God is imperative.