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Best advice: Handle crises lastcomment (0)

April 29, 2010

By Jean Roberson

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Alabama Baptist staff is happy to introduce a new women’s column to the state Baptist paper. This new column will focus on resources women can use in their lives of faith, whether lived out at home, in the workplace or in the church. The columnist is Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW — a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and as director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives. The column will run the first issue of each month beginning with the June 3 issue. Until then, we will run the column each week as a way of introduction to this new segment of the paper. 

We never really have time to talk. We are always handling the crises of the day,” she said to me one day over lunch.

“I don’t know how to be creative when I am so busy maintaining everything else,” she said in a meeting.

“I don’t think I accomplished anything today. I just spent the day putting out ‘fires,’” she told me later in the day. 

It is the snare we all get caught in. Every day, at home and at work, we are presented with unexpected crises and issues that demand our attention and consume our time. Even our prayer life becomes consumed with urgent issues. By the time we have discussed the issues, thought through solutions and determined on a way to proceed, our time and energy are gone.

Unfortunately this is the norm rather than the exception, because each day brings its own set of crises.

While we have done a good job managing the immediate issues, the cycle of this leaves little time to be creative and talk through the deeper, less urgent issues we face.

At home, this may be spending time with your spouse talking through how God is speaking to you. At work, this may be taking time as a group to be creative and refine your work so that it better suits your audience. At church, this may be working to meet the needs of the less vocal individuals in the faith community. 

Some of the best advice I ever received was to deal with the crises last.

I was in a seminar on supervision, and the speaker was talking about setting an agenda for team meetings. Her point was that we have to be intentional to set aside time to deal with the less urgent issues if we ever want to improve the quality of our work and relationships.

Crises create their own time. It is the quieter, less demanding issues that have to be scheduled. Otherwise we simply maintain and end the day feeling as though we are treading water.

In your workday, consider setting aside time when you do not answer the phone or read e-mail so you can focus on a project. In your meetings, plan them so the committee or team can first address the less demanding issues and then deal with the crises. At home, set aside time — such as a meal — when you talk about how you are instead of what needs to be done.

A Takeaway Value …
Be intentional and schedule time to work on creative, foundational elements.

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