As we checked in over Google Hangout, my coworker exclaimed, “I Think I’ve Had A Little Too Much Screentime.” We all jumped in and agreed we were there. Since virtual ministry and telecommuting started for our parish, I’ve found myself looking at emails, social media, and teleconferencing sites nonstop. These are unusual times, and with any type of change, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed.
Right now, everything is being canceled and rescheduled. More and more businesses are trying to move to a telecommuting model. As we make this transition, it’s essential to look at your schedule because anytime a void appears, something eventually fills it. And while virtual ministry seems convenient because you can do everything from home, beware because it can still stretch you thin. It can be much harder to create a virtual ministry and not get overwhelmed because it’s harder to establish limits. It’s harder to walk away from the office and shut down when you telecommute. So, before you get fully into the virtual world, you need to make sure you have time for:
PRAYER AND PEACE
It might be harder to find that quiet spot in the house, but you need to make sure you are allowing God to speak into your life. There is so much to process, and that can be a bit overwhelming. While there are more and more resources online, it might be beneficial to disconnect, pick up a Bible, pray the rosary, or journal.
TRUE BOREDOM AND CREATIVITY
Don’t be afraid to have “Screen-Time Free Segments” of your day when you simply sit and think. You don’t have to be continuously connected; in fact, boredom can bring freedom because it gives your time to rest.
Similarly, you can build in time to create. Maybe this is a season to try painting, cooking, or pick up a musical instrument. You can write that book or work that recipe you never had time to tackle. Taking on something abstract or artistic will expand your ability to take on different challenges.
When are you taking the time to get to know the people in your home? Are you playing board games, eating meals and taking walks? It might seem a little counterintuitive to the social distancing; however, you need to know how to cohabitate during this time of isolation.
If you are on your own, it’s scheduling meaningful phone calls with friends and family. Get back into a routine where the majority of your discussions are about life and not work. The relationships you form will carry through this season.
STARTING AND QUITTING
You need a beginning and end to your day. Setting timers and reminders can serve as the guardrails you need to shut things down. It’s important to talk with your coworkers and volunteers about when you are available and when you are not. If you are a pastor or administrator, make sure your team is doing or else you’ll find yourself connected continuously. If you can, relegate your laptop to a room and only go in there during your office hours. Shut down the technology when you take a break. If you have to give it away to a roommate or family member.
Put those personal and prayerful times into place, so that you can create a manageable pace to your new schedule. While telecommuting brings a little more flexibility, it’s easier to blur what’s work and what’s rest. Virtual ministry and telecommuting are attractive, just don’t forget to ease into it, we need you for the long haul.
This article originally appeared here.