I went to bed at 9:20 last night! 9:20 I read a little and journaled and was fast asleep by ten. And you know what happened? I slept better. My dreams were not of trying to catch up. My thoughts were not scrambled. I actually felt good about life rather than justa little bit behind like usual.
Normally I would go to bed later because, if I am honest, I decided to watch one more episode. I reason that I had a busy day and I deserve to get more out of life so I am going to go all rogue and independent and stay up late… It’s really kind of sad when I think about it.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with one more episode or staying up later. All I’m saying is that it was an “Aha” moment for me to decide that I could just go to bed early yesterday and get a jump on today and it just took one little decision.
Prior to this I had thought I was using my power of choice well when I just stayed up later, but for me this one decision changed my evening, my night and my next day. I woke up before the alarm and felt like I was ready to get up when it went off.
There’s not much that can compare to that feeling of “I’m ready” when the alarm goes off.
It’s common in our culture to feel, or even to be, over busy. It’s a badge of honor when someone asks how you are doing for you to complain about how much you have on your plate.
When is the last time you heard some one say, “I’m loving life, pacing myself and making the most of my time.”? or maybe the better question is to consider if you have ever heard someone say anything close to that.
Why do we promote a life that is self important? Why do we push ourselves beyond healthy limits?
Why do we complain when we have the power to choose how full we make our lives?
And one more thing. It’s not attractive.
John 10:10 says, “A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.”
If we, as believers, are not living an overflowing abundant life, we are missing out on something God has for us. And why would anyone want to be like us? Why would we even want to promote our lifestyle?
I’ve been making some changes. I started slow but these are becoming my norms.
Here’s my list:
- Decide which hours of the week are work hours and which are not.
- Put everything you do at work onto your calendar. (No having a to do list with no place on the calendar to do the stuff on the list.)
- Be generous about how long the tasks will take when you block off the time.
- Leave some white space in each week (preferably each day) so that if something comes up it’s okay to shift whatever you had there to your white space.
- Don’t try to squeeze email replies or phone calls in around your blocked off time. They actually take time to do well and need their own slots.
- Choose your extra focus. Set an appointment up with yourself at the beginning of each season to decide what you actually can hope to accomplish. This has made a huge impact for me. I usually have several large projects in mind and then feel bad if I am not moving them all forward somehow. (Make this a great time that you look forward to – maybe off site, maybe pray ahead of time or get input from others.)
- Put the projects that don’t make the cut on a list to look at for next time. Probably even have a place where you can add to the list to choose from at your next season meeting.
- Start practicing saying things that are not normal, like this. “Thanks for asking! I’m doing great. I am moving forward on the items I have chosen to focus on and I am loving my life!”
But what about the off hours when you’re not working?
Some of the same rules work here as well, but I have some additional thoughts. Tune in next week for “How To Help Others (or yourself) Find White Space?” part 2