I haven’t really blogged much for the last six weeks, as you can clearly see. Obviously turning 21 does things to you and leaves you far too busy to write anything! Haha.
Time management has actually been a conundrum of mine for the last four or five weeks. Growing up I read all the books on time management and was a very disciplined and diligent kid. I considered myself quite knowledgeable on the subject and if everybody’s life was a reality TV show, I’d probably sit on the couch yelling at people what to do like my Dad does watching rugby. Since starting full-time work, however, a lot of those ideas have gone out the window. I think there are two reasons why:
- Busyness and commitments kicked up a gear making it much harder to juggle my ideologies with solid time constraints;
- I was also discovering a whole new world of grace which is all about not trying to DO stuff to GET approval or acceptance from Jesus or other people, but rather just being and that being the mojo for doing stuff, an underlying motivation for me growing up. << still working on this one.
For most of the year I was doing alright, working out what did and didn’t work for me. October was, however, a crazily busy month for me and I realised that I was stressed, tired, wearing thin emotionally, and, worst of all, letting people down. I simply was juggling way too much. I was forgetting to email confirmations to people, running just-not-late (if that) for practically everything, and not really up for the task when it came time to perform. I didn’t have the capacity to follow through, show up, or do the job well. I didn’t have the time to help a friend out, and being so tired left me an easy victim for getting physically sick, too.
It was time to make some changes.
A friend and I pow-wowed over it (with tea, because tea is a very good thing to drink on such occasions, especially on a cloudy, windy afternoon like this one was) and we identified several keys which have really helped me to get a better handle on my time management.
- Take responsibility. Sorry, I’m going to do the list-thing. I like lists! I don’t like to admit this, because of my childhood reputation for diligence and responsibility, but laziness does have a way of rearing its sly head in subtle areas of my life. I may look diligent and responsible, but I had to take stock of what God has called me to do right now and whether I was doing those things well. Doing those things well sometimes (despite my denial) involves making sacrifices, working hard, or making difficult choices in another area of my life. For example, if my life involves working fulltime, being healthy, and being punctual out of respect to my work and employer, that means I have to go to bed at a certain time and get up at a certain time to achieve that, even though technically it is outside of ‘work time’. Work, health, and good character are my objectives here, and I need to take responsibility for them.
- Take responsibility that I might be good at something. I am on the cusp of messing up or flying, and the choice is mine, but if I want to succeed, I have to take responsibility for the work it takes to fly and take responsibility for being able to fly. It’s the whole ‘steward of what God’s given you’ story and it is amazing to think that my incredibly tiny little dot of a job in the universe is given to me by God on purpose. Colossians 3:23.
- Know why I am doing what I do. Was I doing certain things for the right reasons? Or was it to be in control, look good, or to have a reputation for insane busyness? Those things cover up shiny, but really, they’re unsustainable, pressuring, extra work, tiring, and distracting me from the way God made me to live, in contentment and peace with the life I am given.
- Know my physical and emotional limitations. I went to the doctor’s a few months ago because a few things were bothering me. There wasn’t really anything ‘wrong’ with me, however, which made me realise that my body probably just functions differently to others, and I need to listen to that, not conform to what works for everybody else. I know what breakfasts I like to eat, how hungry I get throughout the day, how much sleep I need at night and when I need to go to bed, how much sugar I can handle, the amount of exercise I like per week, how much down time I need, and how much water my body wants me to drink. This is different to what my family members or friends need, but it doesn’t mean there is something critically wrong with me. It just means that my body is built a unique way and that I need to put certain boundaries around myself so I can thrive as me.
- When I’ve done all this, let myself be random. I have often created lists upon lists upon lists (with mostly the same content inside each list) of things I want to be good at. I try to squeeze all of those things into my life right now and then feel bad because I think I’m not good at anything or that I’m not reaching any of my goals. Truth be told, life and the things we do within it, isn’t a race, but a journey. Truth be told, we all go through different seasons of life where we cook heaps and the piano is put aside, or when the guitar is played almost incessantly and the blog is ignored. Truth be told, we are not demanded to be perfect or amazing, but to be ourselves, with our random feelings and different opportunities that every day brings to learn something more. We still need to be responsible (see points one through four) but when those things are said and done, let life be, following your random heartbeats to take photos or paint your nails or cook soufflé or go swimming today. Plan, but don’t plan too much. You do that, day after day and month after month, and you’ll get where you want to go.
These things are a big work in progress. Just knowing about these things isn’t enough; I have to put them into practice, too! But I’m learning to sometimes say no, to measure my body’s needs, to take action for the responsibilities in my life, and to enjoy the world around me the way I want to enjoy it in that particular moment. Don’t avoid the life you are given right now, even with the hard stuff attached. Embrace the responsibility and grow.