One of my daughters frequently tells me, “Mom, I don’t know how you stand your job, it’s one big interruption!” And then we both laugh, because it’s true. Anyone who has ever worked in a school office knows exactly what that means. Phones ringing, students who are ill, copies to be made, a newsletter to write, parents with questions … the list goes on and on.
Managing Hectic Environments
I’ve always loved the work I do. The advantage I have now is 18 years of experience, during which I’ve learned some things about how to stay on top of all the tasks that fall under my responsibility. Sure, I still get behind, forget things, and occasionally lose paperwork. Then there are those days when I think I have everything under control, only to realize one of my plates has dropped and I need to discover a better way to manage my responsibilities.
Over the years, I’ve learned when to ask for help when I’m bogged down, when to say no, and also to take time to attend seminars and classes that I know will help me better manage the office. The last lesson seems counter-intuitive because it takes even more work to be absent—such as finding a replacement to cover you and make sure everything is taken care of before you leave. And when you return, you’ll have to work harder to catch up. However, the time I’ve been away to grow and learn has proven invaluable. Through classes or conferences I’ve attended, I always learned something new and came back refreshed, ready to face the hectic pace of the school office.
One Needful Thing
The practical ideas I’ve shared are important. But the most vital thing I do for myself is to take time out to be with the Lord. I do that by keeping a couple of daily devotionals in my desk drawer and make it a priority to read at least one of them every day. Especially on the busiest days, when I just need to take a deep breath, I stop what I’m doing, take out one of those devotionals, and refocus on why I am here. Then I pray. If I believe that God wants me here, working in His ministry, I also have to trust He will give me what I need each day.
I can truly tell you that He will, and He does; every day He gives me the strength and joy I need to serve and embrace all the interruptions.