I've experienced four different kinds of time at work:
1. Extremely productive time that does not feel like work
2. Productive time that feels like work
3. Unproductive time that does not feel like work
4. Unproductive time that feels like work
I believe the most opportunity to redeem "work time" lies in number four. It's easy to do training and seminars on number two, but the margin for improvement is small.
Some examples of number four from my time in campus ministry:
- Wandering around the dorms on campus because it was "hot hours," the time when students were most available.
- Laboring for hours over a decision that ultimately gets reversed as soon as the meeting is over.
- Pretending to embrace a strategy that I do not understand and generating half-hearted tactics to appease my conscience.
- Spending most of time on that which is safe, known, and mildly effective instead of that which is unsafe, unknown, and potentially wildly effective.
I've reoriented the way I think about work time to this:
- Make the hot hotter and cold colder--instead of seeking an even or balanced pace I find that working harder when I'm working hard and resting more intentionally when I'm "clocked out" has made me more productive.
Two YouTube videos speak to the issue of time and work extremely poignantly. At least bookmark them for a rainy day.