A bit of a personal aside for this post. Most readers know I’m busy (that word actually doesn’t begin to describe the situation). But I sometimes get asked why I don’t do certain things. For example … Mike, why don’t you / won’t you:
- answer my email?
- spend time on Facebook … the Faithlife Groups … Google Hangouts?
- answer comments on your YouTube Channels?
- respond to that thing someone said about you (or that video someone made about you)?
- review that book or video I sent you?
- review my book manuscript?
- read that article I sent you?
I used to have a disclaimer on my email address that explained why I likely won’t answer email, but I had to remove that for reasons I won’t bore you all with. I haven’t had my email disclaimer active for over a year. Consequently, I get these questions. They are all understandable and appropriate. So in lieu of the defunct disclaimer, I decided to post an explanation.
On my recent Unseen Realm trip to Arkansas someone asked this question during the Q & A: “What is your life like — what does it look like for you on a daily or weekly basis to manage your time?” My answer was that my life (in that respect) is an act of desperation (I had to laugh, but that’s what it is). Though I enjoy almost everything I do (caveat: no prof enjoys grading), I’m doing so many things that, while lots of things get done and every day has successes, every day also feels like failure. But I don’t take it hard. There’s always tomorrow. That works since I’m in the wonderful situation of being able to do what I know I was born to do by the providence of God. I’m truly blessed. The only thing I really don’t like about my situation is that I’m not able to “do what I do” full-time and feel guilty about what falls through the cracks.
Let me try and give you an idea of the logistics. I’m not a Methodist (and Methodists will catch this reference), but I can account for every half hour of every day since that’s how I work my schedule. I know it sounds mechanical, but it isn’t. It just allows me to knock things off and shift things to other days efficiently. Like most of you, I have a FT day job that requires me to be working on employer-related tasks. What follows are the rest of the things I am supposed to be doing on a weekly basis (a couple of these items may be familiar only to newsletter subscribers):
- spend a little time at home with my wife and kids (and yes, the pug) detached from everything else (this one and email are the most guilt-inducing)
- grade papers and do professor stuff for two schools (distance ed, online)
- writing a book (next non-fiction one is in process and due by the end of August; novel #3 comes after that)
- answering email
- answering comments on my blog
- spending some time on Facebook
- prepping for the podcast(s)
- recording the podcast(s)
- re-writing content for NakedBible.org
- putting the notes and links together for the Miqlat newsletter
- writing scripts for Fringepop episodes
- management tasks for my business (exists for my online presence and Amazon publishing)
- management tasks for Miqlat
- reviewing my languages (keeping up with grammar and vocab).
- each week I spend a little time on Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Egyptian, Akkadian, NW Semitic dialects, and Ugaritic
- I’ve decided to start Latin and Ethiopic this year (the latter because I want to work in Ethiopic 1 Enoch down the road)
- scholarly research for journal articles or (way down the road) “Unseen Realm 2”
- teaching at church (a few four-week modules each year; in one module now)
- interviews (not weekly right now, but that will change now that Reversing Hermon is shipping)
Evenings after work give me 3-4 hours to work on the items in this list. Weekends are full tilt. I rarely watch TV, though I love having a ball game playing in the background. So every night I pick at the stuff that needs doing. About half the items on the list really do take substantial time and have deadlines (like writing, scripting, and research).
I’m thrilled to say that the following have been taken off my plate because of the generosity of donors to Miqlat (some tasks below are paid) and volunteers (named):
- record, edit, and post Naked Bible podcast and Peeranormal podcast (without Trey, they both die)
- edit written material for Kindle (Peter, Spencer)
- transcribe the podcast episodes (at first, “Mr. Tudor” and now Brenda)
- Facebook posting, bookkeeping for my business, creating the newsletter (my wife, Drenna)
- editing podcast episodes for radio (Charles)
- videos for the website (Shaun)
- bookkeeping for Miqlat (Rich, now Michael)
I hope this helps shed light on why I do (or don’t do) certain things. My time is so limited I have to triage every day. For that reason I won’t watch videos sent to me, won’t vet anyone’s manuscript, don’t read anything outside peer-reviewed material, can’t engage in running conversations for days or weeks (!), and can’t chase down a research question for you (and some of those take thesis-level work). I hope you all understand.