The other day I got wrapped up in a good book. One of those page turners that leave you anxious to find out what’s next. It was the first time in a long time that I had allowed myself to read. I’m a self-proclaimed book nerd. Even when I was a teen I would spend hours in my room reading books instead of going to the mall. So not being able to read on a regular basis has been a bit hard for me.
Now, I could go on and blame my busy home and work schedule. But the reality is that I’m the one to blame. I have allowed my life to get so busy that I don’t even have time to enjoy and savor the little things that matter to me most. Lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to cut back on the things that steal my time. I’ve limited my time on social media, I’m not checking emails every hour (this was a bad habit of mine), I’ve started to delegate some of the volunteer work that I do, I’ve also been saying no a lot more and carefully choosing what I say yes to.
A few years ago, if my schedule wasn’t filled to the brim I would find something to add to it. It was only a matter of time before I found myself physically sick and stressed out. I would cut back temporarily, but soon I would go back to the same vicious cycle.
Why was I doing this to myself?
I think one of the reasons was to keep up with everyone else. My need to stay busy got even worse when I left my outside the home job. I felt the need to prove to others that I was not just sitting at home doing nothing, as if busyness determined my worth as a mom.
Unfortunately, this is a common trend in today’s society. We need to be super busy in order to feel fulfilled or feel worthy. It’s sad that we are also bringing up a new generation that is being molded to think the same. When I was a child, one extra-curricular activity was sufficient. Now kids are playing multiple sports, taking music lessons along with anything else that can be squeezed into their schedule. Our kids are exhausted and don’t have the time to simply enjoy their childhood.
I want you to take a second and think about the things that invigorate you. What are they? Do you currently have time to purse them? If your answer is no, it’s time to scale back and simplify your schedule.
I find that the easiest way to do this is by making a list of everything that is consuming your time. Then you want to figure out ways to eliminate these things or at the least, cut back. For me it was: social media, emails, volunteer work and freelance work. I immediately took action and drastically reduced the time I was spending online. It’s not easy since it’s part of my job. But I find that by not being active online like I used to, I have gained more hours in my day. I also don’t check emails throughout the day. I designate time for emails and whatever comes in after that, waits until the following day. Like I mentioned before, I’m delegating my volunteer work at church which has helped tremendously. I’m also turning down freelance opportunities that don’t meet my standards, so that I can say yes to the ones that do.
Now I have time to workout, take impromptu trips with my family, and read to my heart’s desire. Having a more relaxed schedule has been invaluable and something I never want to lose again. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and busyness of life, that we forget to actually enjoy life.
Life is too short to spend it in survival mode.
I don’t want to look back on my life and regret how I spent it. If you’re waking up each day dreading what lies ahead, think about the things that are draining your time bank. How can you take back your time and gain the freedom to do the things you love? My prayer is that you’re able to find the space you need to finally enjoy them.