Why are we trying to outwork God?

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So, God is apparently a lightweight.

It is right there in the Bible, so don’t get mad at me for pointing it out. It says it in Genesis 2:2:

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”

He took a day off! And he didn’t just stay out of the office for a day. It says he rested from “all” his work.

What, he didn’t spend an hour answering email? No completing work projects? No running by the office?

He didn’t mow the lawn? He didn’t wash the car? He didn’t do laundry?

Seriously? He took an entire day just to rest? To … relax?

As for me, I don’t always take the entire night to rest. And I don’t mean to say I am anything special — I know a lot of people like me.

According to Bloomberg News, America is filled with hardworking folks:

“(I)n 1991, the average American worker put in 163 more hours on the job than in 1973, according to the sociologist Juliet Schor, the author of “The Overworked American.” Since many more families had two parents working, the increase in annual working hours per family was much higher — 500 to 700 hours more than in the ‘70s. It should be noted that increases in labor productivity are not “energy-free” advances for the workers whose productivity increases. As it happens, workers are required to get much more done and more quickly. Working hours are more draining, while the hyper-competition of today’s workplace makes them even more stressful.”

God would definitely get some quizzical looks in America — a place where citizens are likely to claim his special blessings — because of his bohemian ways. Figure it like this: one day a week of rest equals 52 days a year, which is equivalent to more than seven weeks of vacation time!

Doesn’t God know what that means? How can I put gas in the car with that much time off?

How can I afford a new car? How can I afford the house I want?

Doesn’t God want me to get ahead?

Bloomberg tells us we have our good, American working habits for a particular reason:

“The postwar (WWII) era, aided by the new medium of commercial television, ushered in what came to be known as “the consumer society.” Expectations for larger homes and cars soared. Easier credit brought a cornucopia of material goods within easy reach of the middle class. By the mid-1970s, and especially after 1980, median wages weren’t keeping pace with increases in our capacity to produce. But flattening incomes didn’t derail the consumption train. Americans continued to buy more, in part by going deeper into debt, by having more members of the family enter the workforce and by working additional overtime. By the boom times of the late 1990s, Americans worked more than the notoriously workaholic Japanese.”

So there it is: We spend more time working than almost anyone else so we can get more stuff, including the accompanying stress and illness. … And the funny thing is we have become so accustomed to having all this stuff, that we have forgotten there was a not-very-long-ago time when we didn’t have it and didn’t miss it.

Thank God we don’t live in that time any longer.

Then again, considering he is such a lightweight, maybe God doesn’t have anything to do with where we are now.

Rules I’ve learned through living

penknife-657712_1920I recently celebrated a birthday marking a somewhat large number. The occasion got me to thinking about the things I have learned in my time, and I realized there were a few “rules” I tried to follow. They are:

1. Don’t panic: Keeping calm is the first step to solving any emergency or problem.

2. Carry a pocket knife: You’d be surprised how often it comes in handy.

3. Your family is always your family: They’re the people you will see your whole life, so you better learn to live with them.

4. Do more than what’s expected: Nobody remembers the average employee/player/friend.

5. Never stop learning: The minute you stop learning, you get left behind.

6. Pray thank you: No matter your circumstances, remember to be thankful for your blessings, because there is someone who has less.

Evernote Is My Most Useful Tool

evernote-logo-designNew technology isn’t just changing the way we publish our content — it is also giving us a whole new box of tools for doing our job.

Evernote is one of the most useful of the new tools. A web-based program for taking and filing notes, Evernote tames the avalanche of information that is always threatening to overwhelm the local journalist. The program not only allows users to file notes in text format, but also as photos, audio files, or PDFs. The notes can all be organized into files called “notebooks,” and everything is searchable.

In addition, there are Evernote apps for computer desktops and both Android and iOS. That means all of your information is at your fingertips regardless of where you are.

With the free version of Evernote, you are allowed to upload 60MB of information per month. As a journalist, you know I love free things, but in this case I happily spring for the premium version. For $5 a month (or $45 a year), you get 1GB of space per month and better search options.

Evernote does have an affiliate program, but I have not taken part. I do not receive any money if someone goes and signs up for Evernote premium. I did that so you know I am being absolutely honest when I say every journalist should be using Evernote on a daily basis.

Here are some ways I use Evernote:

  • As my personal content management system. I write all my stories in Evernote, and file them along with relevant information and interviews. This makes it easy to call up background information months from now when I have to do a follow up story. Using Evernote as my CMS also gives me flexibility to work anywhere. I’ve written stories on my Android phone while waiting for the doctor.
  • As my morgue. I file the PDF of each week’s front page in Evernote. Because the program can read text within a PDF, I can use the search function like an index. Because I give each PDF the same tag, I can look at the year’s front pages with one search.
  • For interviews. Evernote allows you to record audio through your smart phone. I actually have a different recording app I like to use, but when I’m done I attach the audio file to a note and file it away. I also save email interview threads this way.
  • For photos. Evernote’s camera function makes it easy to take a photo with your smart phone and turn the pic into a note. I’ve used this function to record posted meeting agendas and to file the score book after a basketball game.

Give it a shot and see how quickly you get hooked.