Too little time is a problem for most of us. Here’s a story about a woman who woke up one morning with a problem…too little time, too much to do.
Table of contents
- Does this sound like you?
- Here’s the dilemma:
- So what do we do about our time dilemma?
- What if we really don’t have enough time?
- So, what is the call-to-action?
She was in the process of writing a book, blogging, setting up a bunch of new journals for the year, establishing goals, putting away Christmas presents, and a dozen other things.
How would she ever get it done all done and even more, what was the most important?
There was an ever-growing list of books about organizing that she had yet to read.
She set her clock an hour earlier and jumped out of bed within minutes, got dressed immediately, and started her day. Oh, before that she had also begun a wonderful new prayer habit. She prayed before she ever got out of her bed. The prayers looked different each time but she always ended with, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O, God.” (Psalm 19:140). She even had her BUJO (bullet journal) all set up with tasks for the day. I mean she was on fire.
She had her time with God and her bible study. After the end of the day she looked back and said, “And it was good.”
But by the time she collapsed into bed, she felt like she had not accomplished one thing on her list. Had it not been for her BUJO page that was titled “What I Did Today”, she would’ve felt like a complete failure.
Does this sound like you?
Does this sound like you? Do you just feel like you have too little time for all you have to do?
You get to the end of the day and ask yourself, “Where did the time go?”
Obviously, that woman is me. But I’ll bet many of you could’ve written almost the same thing.
It’s a busy world for everyone. Everyone I know describes themselves. I can say that I am busier today than I was when I was working and had children at home. It’s actually a good thing. It’s when it gets overwhelming, that it’s a bad thing.
Here’s the dilemma:
We forgot the things we automatically do.
We don’t account for all the small things we do every day that are just routine.
We forget that the things we don’t put on our list because we do them automatically are really very important. They just don’t feel like it because they are regular parts of our lives so we don’t track them. But if we didn’t do them, chaos would erupt. For example, “cleaned the pantry”, or “threw in a load of laundry”. And, of course, this all takes time as well.
We don’t take into account the phone calls we make, the people we make above-and-beyond connections with, the time we take to connect with someone if for only a few minutes. And yet all of this does, in fact, take time.
We don’t know how to classify the ordinary tasks of the day. They seem “unspiritual” so we label them unimportant.
We need to quit compartmentalizing our lives. The most mundane things we do every day can be a spiritual as anything else. I can’t think of a single verse in scripture that suggests accomplishing truly necessasry tasks are non-spiritual. In fact, I read just the opposite.Tweet
If we are living close to God, even the most ordinary tasks can be seen as spiritual if we are in sync with God throughout the day.
The truth is, that day, I only accomplished about 10% of what was on my list. However, I actually accomplished the truly important.
So what do we do about our time dilemma?
First of all, record all those things you did that were never on our list.
A great book called, Eat That Frog, states that we should add to our list all day. The point the author makes is that basically if you can’t track it, you can’t change it. So track everything for about a week. If you’re not a” journaler,” or a list-maker, it will at least give you insight into how you spend your time.
For example, I don’t have to list prayer time and Bible study or even my daily walk because I rarely miss any of them. So when I realized that they, of course, took time, (duh), I put them on my list anyway. Then, I added a “What-I-Did-Today” page in my journal so I could record those items that I never thought to put on a list.
Furthermore, that same day I had connected with my small group and connected with some members of a Facebook group. I talked with a friend, and with my daughter. My husband and I took our daily walk. I had coffee-time with hubby at 5:00 (we do this every day) and caught up on the news. (It was a bad news day.) I added all that to my “What-I-Did-Today” page.
Secondly, examine your list.
Ask some questions:
Is there a better way to schedule your day? Only you can know that.
But I’ll bet you have become so accustomed to doing things the same way and at the time every day, you’ve never thought about other possibilities.
Are you doing some things every day that don’t have to do every day?
Believe it or not, because most of us are creatures of habit, we never consider what we do routinely. And in some instances, that’s really good. Fewer decisions to make can be very healthy and anxiety-reducing. But it doesn’t hurt to take a week and examine the things we do automatically so we can make sure we aren’t repeating tasks unnecessarily.
What if we really don’t have enough time?
First of all, don’t be so hard on yourself.
I’ll bet if you’re anything like me, your daily list is far too long anyway. There simply is too little time and too much to do. My mother used to say my eyes were bigger than my stomach. So is what I want to accomplish every day.
Like me, you probably haven’t allowed yourself enough margin. You’ve probably so packed your day, you never could’ve accomplished it all anyway. Then there are the interruptions. Let’s face it, our days seldom go exactly as planned.
How do you plan for that unexpected phone call?
What about that friend whose name pops up and you know you have to stop and pray?
Or you’re in the middle of your Bible study and you find yourself suddenly looking up words and cross-references till you’ve lost track of time?
So, how do you really live a day from a list?
Secondly, be realistic.
There are very few of us who will check off every item on our list every day. Some days we will. Most days we won’t.
For example, if our lists mostly reflect tasks that are not ongoing, then it’s usually pretty easy to check them off. Grocery shopping, returning something to UPS (Aren’t we all doing that right now with Amazon purchases? They now know me by name.)
One click of the button and an e-mail is sent.
There are lots of things we have on our list that are doable and “check-off-able.”
I have a friend who has a daily to-do list and when she gets to the end of the day, she adds those things she did that weren’t on her list just so she can check them off! At first, I thought that sounded crazy. I now think it’s a really good idea. But while we’re doing that let’s do something else.
Thirdly, track your “people” connections, especially when there’s too little time
This is where I messed up. Not because I felt I let anyone down, but because I didn’t track my people connections.
Think about it.
What is going to make you feel good tonight about what you did today?
Yes, you will feel good about the things you check off your list and that’s OK. But you know what?
That only lasts for the few minutes you took your pencil and crossed it off. It is not long-lasting (unless, for example, you just typed “THE END” to your book, finished a painting, remodeling your house, etc. And even with that, it was the process you will remember. )
But the people you spent time with, a family member you hugged, that coffee-time with your hubby, those will be remembered. And guess what?
Those moments are what God remembers as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I love lists and list-making. I love looking back over my day and see what I’ve accomplished.
So, what is the call-to-action?
First, keep a spot in your journal to note all the time you give to people.
In fact, that might be a great page title. (Why didn’t I think of that before I just now typed it? I guess because my brain just fires better when I’m writing.)
You only have to write down their names. That will mean you made some sort of connection with them.
Also, if a number of days go by and you don’t have any names written down? Well, that’s a problem. Maybe you need to examine what was so important on your list that you ignored the people in your life.
Secondly, make people your priority, especially when you have too mch to do
Honestly, it’s just kind of amazing what happens when you do.
Like with God.
When we give God the time he deserves, he hands it back to us one-hundredfold. That doesn’t mean we somehow get through everything on our list as much as it probably means that he makes us more efficient.
And the biggest benefit of giving God the time He deserves is that we learn we can trust God with all our time, all our to-do’s, and all our obligations.Tweet
You know that list I mentioned I felt so bad about? I felt bad about it. It was a feeling. While we should never ignore our feelings, we should remember they are notoriously unreliable.
Thirdly, before you go to bed, make a list of all you’ve accomplished that day and include your people connections.
That one act alone brings peace and helps you remember how you spent your time on what was important, people.
when you feel discouraged about your day, don’t be so quick to judge yourself. Give yourself a break and carry-on.
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