BOOK THREE – Angel’s Story
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE: Prayerwork
from The One Minute Minister: Restoring Spirituality to Time Management
“When you pray over your day,” the minister asked, “what do you pray about?”
“What do you mean?” Angel asked.
“How do you fill three pages?” he responded.
“Oh. After a while, it becomes natural. But I also use some tools we’ve developed at our table to be clockwise.”
“Clockwise?” the minister asked.
“It’s just one of our words; we want to be wise about the way we use our time: clockwise. The tool involves our SHALOM perspective.”
“And that is what?” the minister asked.
“Structuring your time will involve you developing tools of perception; you’ll either prefer to use ours, invent your own or find something useful that someone else is using. SHALOM reminds me of six essentials for clockwise living.” Angel took out a blank piece of paper and wrote the letters for SHALOM in the corners. “You write the letters in a circle, clockwise.”
S H A
M O L
“If you fold this in thirds,” she said, “like a business letter, it will fit easily in your pocket.” She traced her finger in a clockwise circle, beginning with the letter S. “Each letter stands for one part of a well balanced life, and they are arranged on the page in a clockwise order. That’s how we look at each one as we brainstorm during our prayer time.”
“Is this one of your three daily pages?” he asked.
“Yes, and the place where I start. The ideas that begin as listed items on this page often are what gets expanded in the other two or more pages.” She showed him an open page of her journal with the letters of SHALOM at the edges. “You write the date in the center of the page.”
“What do the letters stand for?” he asked.
“S is for Solve Problems. What problems do I need to solve? In order to see them, I look for turbulence in my life. Of course, I have previous lists in case I forget any!”
“Solve Problems,” he repeated.
“H is for Harvest Opportunities. These are items which can be conveniently done … such as picking up dry cleaning as I drive by the place on my way home from an appointment. Little things that can be done conveniently, usually from the remainder. We use the word Harvest because it’s like walking past a tree filled with ripe fruit – easy pickings.”
“Harvest Opportunities,” he repeated.
“A is for Achieve Goals. We want to keep them in view and regularly devote some time to goals that are unrelated to crisis.”
“Achieve Goals,” he repeated. “Of course.”
“L is for Love those who love me. This question helps us ensure that we do not neglect the people in relationships where we have commitments,” she said. “Again, it’s keeping them in view and regularly devoting time to these people. Loving people is an important goal.”
“Love those who love me,” he repeated.
“O is for Organize with Questions. This relates to first solving a problem in our mind by framing it as a question to be answered. The mind is trained to answer questions.”
“Organize with Questions,” he repeated. “Do you have an example?”
“What should I do today? What are the steps to achieve a new goal? Where do I want to go on vacation this summer? What is needed at the grocery store? You can see how these organizing questions lead to items posted across the top, and particularly in Harvest Opportunities.”
“M is for Maintain Systems. We keep things running smoothly by organizing them into systems. But systems need to be maintained. There’s no point in having a routine and not following it. Good routines are good maintenance, and prevent problems from developing. This list reminds us of our routine actions for today. Take the trash out. Pay the phone bill. Get the oil changed.”
“Maintain Systems,” he repeated.
“One question has helped me a lot with this tool. It’s one of six from Spencer Johnson’s little book on decision making: Am I meeting the real need? These tools help me stay aware of the promises I make and help me to keep them.”
Spencer Johnson, “Yes” or “No”: The Guide to Better Decisions
Consider the SHALOM tool … which of the six categories is easiest to fill with tasks to be done?
Which of the six would be a challenge?