We see ourselves as the masters of our own schedules. We can adjust our time commitments on all our devices with the touch of a finger.
Whether working or taking a trip, we try to make our time as much useful as we can. We try to squeeze more things into our schedules in an effort to squeeze more out of them.
Time is money, and we want ours to be as profitable as possible.
The monks I know have a different system system of time management with other priorities. Most of the monks I know do not wear watches or have iPhones with their calendars on them. I cannot think of a single clock at New Camaldoli Hermitage. They are not focused on wringing every nickel out of every moment of every day.
Monastic time management values balance more than focused productivity. There is work to be done, which is important to complete, and there is time in which to do it. Some of the work monks do is physical or mental labor. Monks also spend time doing liturgy, the work of the people. Monks also spend time each day in reflection and rest.
Monks live in community. It is not only important for each monk to manage their time well. The health and strength of the community rely on it as well. The community’s hospitality and worship, as well as its financial viability, depend on its schedule. When the bell rings for the liturgy of the hours, that is the community’s priority.
Monastic time management is about putting values into practice, practicing what we preach.
How well do we make time for what we desire and value most deeply?
Are we wasting time on being productive when we could be accomplishing something more important?
[Image by Monika Kostera (urbanlegend)]