Sunday, September 17, 2006

Day Off

While another clergy friend and I were trying to schedule lunch together recently, we discovered that we don't share a day off. I take Mondays, she takes Fridays.

"Oh, I'd never take Mondays off," she said. "I'm so wasted from Sundays that I'd be good for absolutely nothing. I need to be productive in other areas of my life on my day off."

"You have a point," I replied. "But I know myself. I'm enough of a procrastinator that if I took Fridays off, I'd just end up using my day off to write my sermon. On Mondays, the next Sunday seems miles off so I'm not tempted."

Then there is another pastor I know who told me he takes Saturdays off. Now that made me feel guilty. I often do work at least part of Saturday: weddings, funerals, pastoral care crises, and sermon completion mostly. However, I always have in the back of my head the notion that should there be no wedding, funeral, or pastoral care crisis and if my sermon is somehow miraculously complete, I could, theoretically, spend Saturday on the patio with a book and a drink. That, in addition to my normal weekday off.

On the other hand, one Senior Pastor I worked with in the past always came to the office on Saturday mornings. He said he and his wife had decided long ago simply to concede that Saturday was a work day and plan for that rather than the family hoping, hoping, hoping, that this Saturday he'd be home and having those hopes disappointed at least half the time.

What about you? Which day(s) do you take off? Do you consider Saturday a work day or a day on which you might work but are not absolutely obligated too? I've been considering proposing that I simply work every weekday--but only during school hours and necessary evenings. Then my kids would not need to be in afterschool care. I think the hours would work out the same as taking one full weekday off. Has anyone tried that? How did it work?

13 comments:

Songbird said...

I am supposed to take two days off, but I almost always work on Saturday. In my case, it's mostly sermon-writing, but sometimes other events or needs. My weekday off is Friday. I used to take Monday, but I found I would be writing my sermon on Friday evening (so it wouldn't spill over into my other day off), which is our one child-free evening, and that was bad for the marriage relationship. I liked Monday as a day off because I did get organized for the week, but I prefer Friday in terms of self-care. It seems hedonistic to go for a massage on Monday, but just right on Friday!
At this point we've all given in to the idea that I write on Saturday.
As far as working all five weekdays, don't you think you've done enough if you've worked the school hours and some evenings on the four you already are working? Tell your people you're taking paperwork home afterschool, or read while they are at soccer or dance or whatever. Take phone calls if you need to, unless you know you're going back over to church in the evening.
My Church Administration professor was a local pastor of many years, a very organized guy, and he told us that when his kids were a certain age and needed him afterschool, he just told the church, I'm going home from 3-6 everyday. I think if we just declare it, everone has to acknowledge that we are theirs 24-7 on some level anyway.
Does this help? Don't give up the weekday off. Church stuff will creep in sometimes anyway. You won't work too little.

KnittinPreacher said...

I made 2 days off a part of my call package. I chose Friday and Saturday. In theory I can leave Thursday night and go away and come back on Saturday (but I have only done it a handful of times). Saturday usually does become writing day, but in my PJs in the house on my time. Being single, it is really easy to let the church stuff come home with me and get worked on at night. Friday is the day I do not look at church stuff at all. Barring the normal crises etc.

Gord said...

I take Friday off.

My other day off is floated through the rest of the week (I am always doing some sermon stuff on Saturday).

I do my best to keep to a 40 hour week. Mind you some weeks are impossible--like the week Presbytery meets is almost certainly 50 hours right off the bat.

Stushie said...

I 'sabbath' Tuesday mornings, Friday afternoons, and all day Saturday. After more than 20 years in ministry, I've discovered that 2 half days and a whole weekend day with my family means I get more out of ministry and that my family get more out of me.

rh said...

I'm a Monday guy. Taking Fridays off was never real for me. And I end up working most Saturdays for at least a few hours. When that happens, I take a second day during the week. I also keep track of my comp time so if I've worked 12 hours on Wednesday I will oftentimes only work a 1/2 day on Thursday. My contract states that I must have at least 24 continuous hours of rest each week with no contact with the church or my office. Two more things (I always worry that these two come across as hedonistic): I take one morning of work time each week just to read, I block out time (paid) for prayer each morning, and I go away on retreat (again, paid time) one day each month though others are invited to join me for that provided they do not expect me to lead them.

I believe it's really really really important that we model the behaviors we advocate for others. When I've had parishioners complain about the reading and prayer time, it's a great teaching time. Don't you want me to stay current? Isn't prayer a regular part of your life? Isn't this what you expect me to be doing?

cheesehead said...

I take Friday off--except when funerals, wedding rehearsals, hospital visits, crisis visits, and phone calls to the EP take up my Fridays. (Which is every Friday for the past six weeks!) If I have a week that I expect will be like that, I simply stay home on the next Monday, and only do *from home* what is absolutely necessary. (Phone, e-mail, etc.) I write on Saturdays , usually.

Sometimes I slack off on Thursdays, coming home 2:00-ish. On days I have night meetings, I am home from 3-6PM with the Wondergirl. I keep it at about 45-48 hours, plus Sunday morning.

Preacher Mom said...

Like you, I am trying to figure out what works for me. In the beginning, I had such an adrenaline rush from Sunday that it seemed a waste of energy to take Monday off. Yet if I plan for Friday, without fail something that MUST be done by Sunday leaks over into the day off.

At the moment, I am trying to take Mondays off. That being said, last Monday I had to teach the women's study. (They won't change their day.) This Monday I have a committee meeting at the presbytery office. So I guess that isn't working too well for me, you know?

I have tried the 5-day-a-week flex schedule. In fact, I did that for about 4 years. I ended up working ALL the time (even if it was "just" paperwork, phone calls, or email) and being absolutely exhausted - to the point of burn-out. Be careful with that one!

Saturdays are a "given" as a day off. Sometimes crisis care, etc., must be done and sometimes sermons must be finished. But as a rule, my kids are off and home, so I am too.

Susie said...

In my diocese, two days is supposed to be standard. That said, between baptism prep classes, youth group stuff, other events and sermons, I work at least some on Saturdays more often than not.

My weekday off is Thursday. I know thats a little odd.. but it really really works for me. My boss takes Fridays off, and prefers that we don't take the same day off. So, last fall when my husband spent half the week away at school and came home Wednesday nights, we decided Thursday made sense.

Its really great - I'm a procrastinator as well, but I don't have to spend my day off worrying about the stuff I didn't get done, because I always have another day to do it. Also, Thursday is choir night at church, so no other committees meet then. So, it came out of particular circumstance, but I'm going to hold on to this practice I think.

Teri said...

I've just read an article about this...it's here. about organizing days in three blocks and only working a certain number of blocks. It seems like it could work, if you were disciplined....

pastornines said...

Our presbytery mandates the Alban Institute timeblock time management piece. I find it completely impossible. No one but me seems to get the idea that if I'm working evenings I will not be working either in the morning or perhaps in the afternoon. That's when normal people work - and most seem to figure if they are working I should be too. And - if they have to come to evening meeetings, I should too. I find that simply claiming my time is the best way for me. I usually take Mondays - but carve out afternoons or mornings at other times during the week.

Lorna said...

well I'm not a pastor yet - but I'll add my 2 c worth ...

I teach part time, study part time, serve in the local church ... no days off ... unless I make them happen.

As a family we decided to have saturday sabbath and I refused to attend most meetings on Sats -it was good for me. Now in the youth board they can only meet on Sats cos they come from several other cities- but it seems to be working ok.

I'm learning to say NO. I think that's important

Questing Parson said...

Okay, I read the first few paragraphs and quit. I mean, I am the one whose supposed to be retired. And then the bishop asked me to "supply" this little church .....

Days off????

Purechristianithink said...

Well gosh, I guess Questing has put us all in our place. Hear that folks? Anyone who feels the need for time off is a total slacker and unfit for the work of ministry. Thanks for clearing that up for us.