How to have more time
Updated: Feb 13, 2020
This is one of those posts where, if it weren’t written by me, I probably wouldn’t read it. Because it sounds like a scam. And trust me, it is. Just kidding!!
No. Seriously how do you get more time? Well.. technically, no matter what, we each only have 24 hours a day. The way people fill those 24 hours makes me completely stressed out–I can hardly imagine how THEY feel. Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I no longer have the compunction to live on life’s treadmill. So here are some thoughts on how I view things at this stage of my life.
1. Be decisive: When someone presents me with an idea or a prospective thing that’s going to take up my time, I don’t belabor the decision about whether or not I can do it. I look at my calendar right away and put it in there or just answer them directly, “No. That won’t work for me. But thanks for trying to include me.” If I want to do it, and I think I should check with the family, I pencil it in and get back to them. But if I clearly do not want to do it, I just don’t.
We are such a people-pleasing, not-wanting to offend anybody- type of culture that we can’t make a decision to save our lives, let alone take command of our schedules. I’m here to free you up. You can still have friends and not say “yes” to everything and everyone. It’s true.
The same goes for our families. Sometimes our kids are making decisions about their own schedules that are just leading to disaster. How many times are you going to bail them out? When do you actually want them to learn these lessons? Let them be late for that college class or that high school paper. Let them wear the same underwear for a few days in a row–they’ll learn to do their laundry on their day. They’ll figure it out. Besides–how many college students actually sleep in their sheets? The goal in raising young people is not to carry them to adulthood–but to guide them when they fall and make mistakes. Forgetting to make a lunch or eat breakfast is self correcting. (Unless you have a type 1 diabetic or a special needs child) For most of us, our children are healthy enough and smart enough to make a few mistakes and live.
2. Have a routine: Not everyone enjoys doing laundry every day. Not everyone needs to have a spotless home. I don’t. I have certain days where I do certain things. If it is not that day, I don’t worry about it. I have a tidy-up daily routine , but don’t do everything every day, or even every week. Decide what is a good interval between let’s say.. cleaning the kitchen floors.. (more often) than cleaning the living room floors (less often) and cleaning the garage (seasonly). Make sense? good.
3. Have priorities: Priorities help us make decisions. What is a priority? Anything you deem as important. For example: football, or healthy eating, reading, fitness, family time, ministry, socializing, etc. are all someone’s priority. These change from year to year and family to family. When a family has little children, getting them into a healthy routine is a priority. When a family has teenagers, finding one day a week to have dinner together is a priority. Priorities help us say “yes” to the good and “no” to the “less good”. Notice I didn’t say “bad” because almost everything that comes your way has some merit in it, but not everything is worth spending time doing right now.
4. Enjoy what you are doing: If you have to be somewhere, try to be “all there” as much as possible. It’s way too easy to hide behind our phones. You may quell some of the emptiness that is fueling this overly busy life by just merely being present at the things you are doing. I have noticed that life doesn’t need to be overly exciting to be fulfilling. Just doing a job well or having a meaningful conversation with someone is really lovely. Sometimes just arranging the pillows nicely on the couch after you’ve swept up the floor and tidied up makes for a lovely sense of accomplishment.
Today I was over at my newly married daughter’s apartment. Her husband is sick, and she had been caring for him all night. I went over and just tidied up the kitchen, swept the floor and give it a quick mop. It felt so good to have it all cleaned up and nice. And now that she has her own place and her own life, she can really appreciate how good it feels to have someone come and help. And I have the privilege of giving back to a daughter who has served us for so many years.
Instead of trying to find something meaningful just search for meaning in what is right in front of you. I think we need to make our worlds smaller sometimes and get down on our hands and knees and look for weeds and bugs and just wonder about creation a little bit. I think we need to stop and look into the bright blue eyes of a baby boy and wonder what he sees in this life. And we need to pet all the cats and dogs and try to remember their names. And then, only then our time will not be filled with schedules, but our schedules will be filled with time.