Do you ever sit down at the end of the day and think, “I can’t believe it’s already 7:45”?
I was talking with a friend the other day whose daughter is about to begin driving. He said, “I walked in and saw a Florida driver’s handbook laying on the coffee table…I couldn’t believe it. Where did the time go? She was just in elementary school!”
We go from one thing to the next…constantly. The idea of resting often incites immediate guilt or seems like a luxury we can’t truly afford. Suddenly, one day, you look up and five years have gone by…and you don’t know how or why you feel like you missed them. I don’t think God created us just so we could feel stressed out as life passes us by. the Bible tells us Jesus came so that we might have life more abundant, the way God intended it to be! In order to get there I think we need to be intentional about how we go through life.
Here are three tips for anyone who wants to regain control of their time and enjoy the life God created us for:
- Block out your time on the front end. So often we let life happen to us. We go to our jobs and we handle whatever comes across our desk or we show up and sit through whatever meeting our boss tells us to, but we feel like we aren’t getting anything done. Then we go home and try to spend some of our remaining time during the day to get household chores done and hang out with our families or friends. Instead, what if you decided ahead of time WHEN you would do certain tasks? For instance, you know that you need to vacuum the whole house. Instead of putting it off until you finally feel like it or you have company coming over in ten minutes, block out a specific period of time in your calendar and say, “This is when I’m going to vacuum.” I’ve found that I am much more likely to get things done when I set aside time to do them on the front end. In fact, most people end up getting more done. It also makes saying no to things a little easier when you look down at your calendar and notice that you really don’t have any space left for that extra meet-up.
- Be present. You know that weird feeling you get when your phone isn’t near you and you can’t check your email ever five seconds? Or maybe the way you use your phone as an adult pacifier in situations you feel uncomfortable in? Those are indicators that you have a problem interacting in real time with what is going on around you. It’s not that you’re a bad person, it’s that you have begun using your phone as a door to a place that is not where you currently are. We have to practice being in the current place we find ourselves and being there in a complete way. Focus in on the people around you and what’s going in their lives. Make sure to hear them and look them in the eye. Do your best to give yourself to what is happening there instead of in the world of your phone.
- Rest. We can block out our schedule ahead of time and we can make sure to pay attention while we are doing those things, but if we don’t find a way to really and truly rest, neither of those will matter. Confession: I’m one of the world’s worst at resting. Usually, my idea of rest involves vegging out in front of the tv for an hour before I go to sleep. Then that turns into three hours and I’ve lost two hours of sleep, so it’s not really resting anyway. What I’m trying to say is we need to make concerted efforts at resting so we don’t miss what’s going on in the lives of our families and friends. Take a weekend and enjoy the beach with your family. Save up and take that trip to Belize. Use Saturday to hang out with your grandma and laugh about stories you’ve listened to a million times. Find time to rest in a real way that doesn’t involve you trying to get ahead or feel stressed out. Build it into your schedule and enjoy it like you should. When you find consistent time to rest, you are able to operate at a higher level in other areas of your life.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a genius and I do not have this all figured out. (You’re shocked, right?!?) BUT, if you can embrace these three things and put them into practice, I am confident you will be able to enjoy the life and people God has blessed you with a little more. I think the years will still fly by, but that you will be able to remember more of what happened during them.
I am interested in what you have found to be helpful in your life, though. What are some things you might add to this list? Do you have any tricks that have worked for you? I would love to know!