Last week I asked what you would do if you had more time. The answers were varied, from reading and crafting to spending more time with friends, but no one said they had enough time to do everything they wanted. (Not that I expected that answer anyway!)
What I really want to know, though, is what is keeping you from doing those things now?
I understand that there are some people who really don’t have any extra time: Single parents working several jobs. Moms caring for their children as well as their elderly parents. Students who are working full time & taking a full course load.
But for the rest of us, I have to wonder if we couldn’t make more time if we really wanted to.
First, let me start by saying that I know both sides of this coin all too well.
I’ve worked hard, sacrificing time for myself and with my family, to reach a specific goal. And I’ve said no to opportunities, get togethers and pressure to volunteer because I knew it was too much and would take me away from the things that matter to me.
I also know that being a parent requires a lot of time and energy. But I don’t think that being a parent means that you can’t do anything for yourself.
Now, it may be that your list of things that you would do if you had time aren’t really that important to you. That’s where I was a year ago. I was fully committed to building a business, and I was perfectly happy to give up “me time” to reach that goal. But that’s only sustainable for so long and only if you’re truly passionate about the things that are on your plate — whether it’s being a wife & mother, building a business, volunteering for a specific cause, serving in an area of ministry or whatever.
But if you’re feeling burnt out and like you don’t have time to do the things that are important to you or that you enjoy, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you doing certain things because other people expect you to and not because they’re important to you?
- What are you afraid will happen if you say “no” rather than “yes”?
- Are you doing things because you think that’s what a good spouse/parent/child/friend/Christian does?
- Is it more important to keep other people happy and keep up appearances than to actually enjoy your life?
- How many activities and play dates do you do a week? Could you find more time by staying home more?
- Do you have an afternoon “quiet time” for your kids who don’t nap?
- Are your kids expected to help with chores and pick up after themselves?
- Do you feel like being busy and not having time for yourself makes you a better parent?
- Do your kids play by themselves, or do you feel like you always need to be playing with and/or entertaining them?
- Are you working a ton of hours because you have to to make ends meet or because you’re afraid of what opportunities you’ll miss out on if you don’t?
- Could you change your work schedule or responsibilities to free up more time?
- What would happen if you decided to work less? What are the benefits? What are the downsides?
- What happens if you continue to work as many hours as you are? What are the benefits? What are the downsides?
- Are you spending a lot of time just vegging in front of the TV or computer, which leaves you unproductive and unfulfilled?
- Do you spend a lot of time trying to find things because you’re unorganized?
- Is clutter in your home sucking your time and energy away because you’re spending a lot of time dealing with stuff?
This is just food for thought, and I won’t be surprised at all if there are a dozen comments from people who say they really can’t make time because of this reason or that.
Sometimes, though, I think this issue is that we won’t make time.
Do you feel stretched and over-committed, or does your schedule reflect your priorities?