Book, workbook help Catholics manage their time in a meaningful way - Catholic Courier

Book, workbook help Catholics manage their time in a meaningful way

Time Management: A Catholic Approach by Marshall J. Cook. Pauline Books and Media (Boston, 2009). 142 pp., $12.95.
The Time Management Workbook: A Catholic Approach by Marshall J. Cook. Pauline Books and Media (Boston, 2009). 105 pp., $10.95.

Anyone who has resolved to manage their time better for the new year will rejoice in Marshall Cook’s book and workbook, Time Management: A Catholic Approach.

That might seem like a strange notion at first. After all, if you have too many things to do and are too busy do you really have time to read a book and then make notes in a workbook?

However, Cook makes a convincing case for taking the time to truly examine how you spend your day and what you do with your time.

Cook, who taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 30 years, asks his readers to look to Jesus as a model of a man who knew what to do with his time.

The author writes: “As busy as we may be, can any of us claim to be busier than Jesus was during his brief time on earth? He had only three years to accomplish his mission, which was nothing less than the salvation of the human race.”

Cook advises his readers to look to how Jesus used his time and made time for quiet and prayer.

And he asks for a new perspective on time. “God gives each of us and equal allotment of time each day. We can’t save it, kill it, waste it or spend it. We can only live it, wisely or foolishly, for the greater glory of the God who made us for some other lesser reason. When we understand this, we also understand that this day, this moment, this eternal now is all we have — and all we’ll ever need.”

Cook doesn’t just offer inspirational words in this book. It and the accompanying workbook are filled with many practical suggestions. One idea is that a person takes four mini-vacations every day. He offers a chapter on how to take a mini-vacation without leaving home. For example, he advises readers to “think of a place where you once felt peace and contentment.” He asks the readers to go there in their mind for just a short time.

He also offers advice on many other practical matters such as how to have a manageable “to-do” list and ways of addressing procrastination.

Cook reminds readers that one of the biggest problems with time management is television. “A two-year Gallup Poll found that we spend 26 to 34 percent of our leisure time watching the tube.” He urges readers to turn off the set and discover how much time there really is.

He also suggests keeping the Sabbath holy and living on God’s time.

And he suggests that daily Mass would help rather than hinder someone with a busy schedule.

He also lists a very insightful “bogus Ten Commandments.”

Cook has a very enjoyable and readable style that makes this book fun to read. It also provides a lot of good advice and a chance to apply the advice in the workbook.

These two books could be used with a parish group, family or individually.

It definitely would help anyone resolving to manage time better in 2010.

Weber is a columnist, reporter and producer with Catholic Communications for the Diocese of Springfield, Mass.

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