By KATHY SCHMUGGE
COLUMBIA — “We often see time as a commodity, something we have control over. In this time management class, we will learn about the gift of time,” said Kathy Hendricks, guest speaker for the Diocese of Charleston Department of Catechesis, Initiation and Evangelization’s sponsored seminar on time management, held Sept. 23 at the Holiday Inn.
With a master’s degree in adult Christian community development and years of experience in catechesis, Hendricks brought a wealth of information to 20 church leaders from the diocese. Having been the national catechetical advisor for Silver Burdett Ginn Religion Division for three years, an author and mother, Hendricks had many of her own stories to share on the subject of managing time.
“Today when you ask someone how they are, the answer is ‘ busy’ instead of ‘fine,'” said Hendricks, acknowledging some of the disadvantages of living in a fast-paced world of e-mail and faxes. She went on to use the analogy of the juggler, when describing people today who have to balance work, family and church service. Drawing from her own experience as the current parish life coordinator at her church in Colorado, she gave some pointers on how to successfully juggle more than one activity or job, which so often is the case in parish work.
According to Hendricks, she spends the greatest amount of time in conflict management because of people’s inability to appreciate different styles of getting the job done. She described two distinct kinds of worker, the “divergent” and “convergent” thinker. The divergent thinker was defined as someone who looks at the big picture, has many ideas, and may appear scattered-brained and impetuous. Whereas she described the convergent thinker as someone who can zero in on a problem, likes to work on one thing at a time and may appear narrow-minded. She pointed out how both contrasting styles are often needed in completing a project.
Hendricks then presented “the ten commandments of time management,” rules which are frequently enforced during management courses. She proceeded to show how the contrary works better if a person is a divergent thinker. For example, she took the rule, “Thou shalt not tolerate a messy desk,” and explained how a divergent thinker may organize in a way that looks chaotic to others. “I like to use the three-minute rule. If you can’t find something in three minutes, it is time to reorganize, otherwise leave it alone,” said Hendricks.
Andrew Vitale from St. Paul in Spartanburg felt he really needed this seminar. He has no shortage of responsibilities at his church. He is director of Christian formation, and youth ministry, the deanery coordinator for the Piedmont in Catechesis and Youth Ministry, and serves on the diocesan commission for initiation and evangelization.
“Seminars like this one help us to understand how we operate and examine how we use our time,” said Father Patrick Stense, who is a firm believer in “good things come to those who wait.” But as a new pastor who is called to do long-term planning, he is thankful for those parishioners who have the talent to get things done quickly.
Instead of leaving participants feeling contrite and resolved to clean up their desks, Henricks seemed to speak a more realistic message, “work with what you have and work with others.” Before members of the Body of Christ, it is a message that makes tomorrow’s work load look lighter.