As women, we wear many hats during our crazy days. We are wives, mothers, caregivers and please do not forget, we are individuals who need AND deserve care. So, why do we continue running through our days giving life and meaning to others while neglecting ourselves? I’ll even take a risk and say I believe we even do it on purpose at times. You need to learn to take control of our time investments.
Our schedules are jam packed with menial, mundane, every day “have to’s.” If we are not careful, the daily drudgery will slowly creep in and steal our joy.
What if we became women committed to intentionally stewarding our God gifted 24 hours?
When the alarm buzzes at 5 a.m. Monday morning, do you feel an overwhelming sense of dread or do you welcome the day with delight?
As Christian women, I do feel like we have a responsibility to the Lord to be good stewards of our time but also of our attitudes. Trust me when I say I’m writing this today probably more as a reminder for myself that if I am not careful, I can fall victim to the slow, subtle life drain that can occur if I don’t make a conscious effort against the automated, robotic interaction with my own life.
I’m not looking through rose colored glasses trying to convince you that there are not non-negotiables that exist and require our time and attention. Personally, I feel there are so many activities and commitments on our daily agendas that silently creep in without ever really giving it a second thought as to why we are allowing it or how it is going to impact our lives.
My argument simply is that we can still live a full life and even execute our long list of to-dos but we can do it with more intention, meaning and joy and breathe new life back into our day.
The sun will still rise and set regardless of the choices and trades we choose to make (or not make).
However, how much different would our day look and feel if we woke up our souls from their slumber by breathing more life into the daily responsibilities.
I am not suggesting that we overhaul our day and unrealistically give up carpool, cooking and laundry (although for a day or two, that sounds like bliss!) What if we just focused on making small, realistic daily tweaks, that we can easily incorporate into our day that might make the “have to’s” feel more like “get tos.”
How to Move From Drudgery to Delight in Your Day
Take a close, HONEST look at your day and week.
WARNING! It might hurt but extend yourself some grace and give yourself a high five for taking the first step towards owning your day and honoring your God given gift of time!
Awareness is a gift and catalyst for change.
Ask yourself these questions and commit to writing down your answers. There is power in the process of committing your words to paper. Sometimes, our eyes need to see our realities in black and white to recognize and internalize the felt need for change.
You might surprise yourself by what you learn about your own day and routine! Maybe…just maybe, there is more flexibility and room for improvement than we once thought.
Take Control of Your Time Investments
Take a daily/weekly inventory of your time.
- Where are you spending or investing your precious minutes?
- How much time are you spending doing each activity?
- Remember…be honest!
- Be specific. Don’t leave anything out. (This includes mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram in addition to scrubbing toilets and carpooling)
What are your non-negotiable tasks/activities?
- Highlight or put a star by the things on your list that must remain, no questions asked.
- I would urge you not to use your highlighter too hastily. I’m not saying you don’t have non-negotiables on your list…I’m just asking you to carefully consider what these activities are and WHY they are non-negotiable?
How do you feel about each item on your list?
- Make an honest assessment of what kind of feelings you have surrounding each task or activity on your list.
- For example: Surfing Social Media (30 minutes before bed) While you are scrolling, do you feel yourself getting easily annoyed or irritated? Are your feelings getting hurt because you notice you were just left out of a social gathering or your child was not included in a recent birthday celebration? Do you find that you feel overwhelmed with sadness or fear?
- Take time on this step. Your feelings will serve as a guide to help you evaluate where and what small daily life tweaks need to be made to infuse your day with more joy and meaning!
- Consider what changes you can make to these items that will help you view them in a different light and execute them with more meaning and purpose?
As you look through your list, what is missing?
List activities that do NOT appear on your daily/weekly inventory that you would like to or NEED to incorporate into your day and/or week. Here are some things to consider:
- Is there any margin in your schedule?
- Do you have meaningful time reserved for yourself?
- Think about activities/interests that bring you joy or give you purpose and meaning.
- What activities are critical for physical, emotional, spiritual and relational health?
- Where can you plug these activities in?
- What changes would need to occur to make these additions a reality? (Do they require additional finances? A baby sitter? Getting up earlier? Saying “yes” to yourself and “no” to someone or something else? Does it require a tweak to the established routine or your behavior?
Do you see any reoccurring themes or patterns of activity and behavior?
How do you feel overall about your current schedule?
Now, rewrite your new daily/weekly itinerary based on the findings from your personal inventory and assessment.
- What did you add to your schedule and why?
- What didn’t survive the cut and why?
- How do you feel about your new time investments?
Share it with your spouse, family and friends and invite them to participate in their own personal time inventory.
Hold yourself accountable and honor your commitments with a joyful heart.
Time is a precious gift given to us by God but its finite. No matter how hard we try, we can’t add minutes, hours or days to our lives.
But, the good news is we can infuse our time with more meaning, value and joy with a healthy awareness of our time investments and our commitment to being good stewards of our gift.
Change is not always easy but it is almost always necessary if you want to move from where you are to where God intended you to be.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT).