A movie a few years ago added a new word to our lexicon, or at least a new meaning for that word. “SQUIRREL!” When I hear that word, pronounced in a certain way, an image from the movie “Up” is immediately invoked. It is shorthand for a person who is easily distracted from the task at hand. It is easy to be easily distracted in today’s world. We live in a visually driven culture and are surrounded by images and videos on our phones, tablets, pc’s, laptops and TV’s. The old adage about, “Have you ever entered a room and forgot why you were there?” applies to the pastor entering the wilds of the internet. I have had many times when I have gone on the internet to find a particular piece of information and noticed a half hour later that I had visited 20 different sites and forgot why I was on in the first place. How do you avoid this?
First, when working on a project write down what you need to find. Be as specific as possible. For example, “public domain picture of a squirrel”, “illustration about tithing” or “Greek meaning of word for ‘grace'”.
Second, accomplish everything you can possibly do without going online. Doing this will give you a headstart in your work. Even if you only manage to put down an outline you will find this helps progress enormously.
Third, set a time limit for yourself. This will serve to keep you focused and goal driven. If need be, set an alarm with a countdown timer. there are many variations of these you can get for free at Google Play or the Apple Store for phones.
Fourth, find a quiet space where people can still see you. This will keep you accountable, but still in a place where you can work. You can also ask your spouse or a ministry partner to check on you occasionally.
Being in a high pressure position like bivocational ministry means that you have to use your time wisely. Distractions can be a killer. So keep your eye on the <SQUIRREL!!!!>