How to Beat Fatigue Long-Term

From “The First Parish: A Pastor’s Survival Manual,” by J. Keith Cook:

Time Waster No.8 — Fatigue. You get little done when your body and mind are dulled by fatigue and tension. These maladies stem from within the worker and not from without. Relax.

Four clues. Take your full vacation every year. You do no one a favor when you fail to take all your vacation. Get out of town, sit at home with your telephone off the hook — whatever.

Take a day off every week. Every week! Without fail. Any minister who is too busy to take a day off each week misunderstands his or her own importance. It is manageable. Choose a day. Fasten it down. Announce it. Ask the congregation to help you keep it. Then you keep it. Yield only to funerals. Don’t enter the office that day for any reason. God needed a day off. It is presumptious of us to think we can get by without it.

Take a vacation every day. A ten-minute nap on the office carpet. A midmorning coffee break with the coffee shop gang or the office staff. I find it relaxing as well as relationship-building to walk through rooms where circles and other groups are meeting to chat with persons present — during their own coffee breaks, of course. I try not to disrupt their study or business.

And finally, work no more than thirteen modules each week. I work all morning and all afternoon each Tuesday through Saturday. Ten modules. Two evenings. Twelve modules, now. Sunday morning. Thirteen modules. The rest is for my family and for me. I even arrange all wedding rehearsals to be at 5 pm so I can have the evening free.” (pp60-61)


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