much ado about forgetting

Posted: February 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

I embarrassed myself again this past Sunday, for something like the half-dozenth time on this particular point.

I get to make our church bulletins each week – the pastors send me all the material, and I lay it out in bulletin form in a Word document and save it as a PDF.  Then I email it over to the printer with instructions, and as soon as half a day later I can go over and pick it up.  After I’ve got it in hand, it is my job to get it to the church and to upload it onto the church computer as well, so that people who scan the QR code at the bottom of the bulletin can save it in their phones and don’t have to keep track of that particular piece of paper anymore.

If it sounds like a lot to do, it’s really not.  Laying out the bulletin takes me maybe 10 minutes each time.  Emailing it is a 1 minute job.  I deliver it to the church when I’m already going there, so that’s no extra work.  Uploading it to the church computer – another 1 – 2 minute job, provided I have not lost my mind and forgotten to email the thing to myself in a place where it’s accessible remotely.  The only thing that takes any real time of consequence is picking it up from the printer, and many weeks even that can be worked into G or I grabbing it when one of us is already out and about, or I can run over and grab it on a lunch break and even that takes only maybe half an hour, so it’s not so bad.  Not a lot at all.

I do the laying out and emailing from work on what would be my breaks, if I were a person who took breaks (I’ve never quite known how to do that, so I don’t).  So one of the places the system breaks down is the aforementioned remembering to email it to myself so that I can access it remotely from the church.  Lots of weeks I’ve had to stop by work on the way to church and do that emailing, because I forgot to hit the CC: field and enter my own darn hotmail address there as I sent it to the printer.  So then people can’t QR code it, if I fail there.

The other place the system has been breaking down sometimes – the one that embarrasses me – is when I forget to pick up the bulletins from the printer.  If I were to create a fraction that is the total weeks I’ve been doing this divided by the times I’ve forgotten to pick it up on time, I’ve got a nice success rate.  But really anything less than 100% perfect is not a *good enough* success rate, when one is providing something to an entire congregation, you know?  While our bulletins were once upon a time just a slick pretty newsy thing that I rarely read clear through, these days they are only newsy on the front, while the back has the place to take notes during the sermon, and inside are the questions/homework for growth groups that week – so this isn’t a “grab it and then pitch it” kind of document.  It is NEEDED.  You can’t just blow it off.  People will notice, and also won’t have what they need for the week.

I don’t just randomly forget.  The weeks that I forget always happen due to stress.  One week I was very sick and it slipped my mind.  Several other weeks were like this past one – just very, very intense at work, to the point where everything else kind of went out of my mind and by Saturday I had no resources left to remember that I had forgotten something all week and was continuing to forget it.  (Happily for me, I’ve never forgotten to actually send the thing to the printer!)

The moment of realizing on a Sunday morning that I’ve forgotten to pick up the bulletins is always an awful one – generally I swear when it hits me (way to honor God, girl).  It’s usually a moment or two after I wake up.  The difficulty is that the printer opens on Sundays at exactly the time our church services begin – 11 AM.  So there’s no quickly grabbing them on the way over.

It’s never been a total fail.  Every time it has happened, I’ve hustled and maneuvered and asked favors and worked it out so that I or someone else can run over to the printer and be ready when they open, and then dash back to the church (it’s only a few minutes from the printer) with them.  Then the faithful greeting team grab them and run around passing them out during the opening worship song, and everyone gets a bulletin.  So we’ve made it happen every time.  But that’s not the way it’s supposed to work, and it’s a lot to ask of the people who help me make it happen, and it’s distracting during the worship song too.  Basically:  not okay.

Karen’s pride takes a heck of a beating each time this happens.  I like to be Karen Who Gets Stuff Done.  Reliable Karen.  I like to do things seamlessly enough that no one even needs to know I’m the one who does them.  That’s my favorite mode.  When I’ve missed it and need an ENTIRE CREW to help me fix my miss?  Not cool.  Embarrassing.  I tend to call myself bad names when this goes down, and for sure I know better than to call myself bad names.

I think I may have come up with a solution.  I added some small new weekly tasks to my life recently when making my 2016 goals for leading a ministry team at church.  I already know there is NO WAY I’m gonna meet those goals without a good process sheet in place, because as I told some friends at church on Sunday, “Any process that relies even in part on Karen just remembering is inherently a broken process.”  I am not a good rememberer.  I know this and at work I compensate for it by creating processes, checklists, alarms and more to keep me from letting things fall through the cracks.  So I’ve got a process sheet in mind for all those little team tasks, and I think all I’ve got to do as I create it is add the picking up of the bulletins (and the emailing of the thing to myself) to that sheet and it all should work EVERY week, not just ALMOST every week.

Meanwhile, I suppose I don’t die from falling short in front of others.  I imagine the pain of it is even good for me on some level – my pride is a huge and horribly inflated thing that needs pins stuck in it constantly to keep me from blowing up into a Level 10 Jerk.  I guess if I’m providing my own pins in failing to meet my expectation of perfect performance, that’s a tool for keeping me at some sort of reasonable semblance of humble.

So why blog about it?  I don’t know.  Just processing.  And generally when I’m processing something about feeling like I look bad, it turns out someone else out there needed to hear it too.  Whoever you are, I feel for ya.  And with ya.

And it’s all gonna be just fine.  🙂

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Comments
  1. Mindy Warren says:

    I feel your pain! Everyone seems to think that I’m great at remembering EVERYTHING. Besides keeping track of the 5 of us in my family’s schedule, I keep track of our pastor’s schedule and the building use schedule for the church. I also make the bulletins and have to remember the announcements that need to go in that every week. I have found that google calendar is my life saver. I can put everyone’s schedule on there in different colors. I can also make reminders for myself for things to remember for that day and stuff that needs to go in the bulletin. It also lets you set notification alarms so it will pop up on your phone.

    Now as long as I remember to put it on the calendar, I’m good to go. I’ve forgotten to do that in the past and then we’re in trouble!

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