My one prayer that never seems to get answered is, “God, give me more time!” There is no more time. There is only what we have; and each day has enough time in it for what God wants us to do. If we don’t feel like we’re getting everything done, then we need to do something about it. Here are some thoughts:
1. Sleeping to a Schedule Gives You More Hours in Your Day
Last year my husband starting getting up at 6:30, every single day. Even on weekends. He found that if he trained his body to wake up at the same time each day, he felt far less tired because his body knew when it was supposed to be awake. But if you’re going to get up at a certain time everyday, you’ve also got to go to bed at a certain time, too.
I know that’s rough if you have kids who still wake up in the middle of the night, but as much as possible, establish a sleep routine. Adults need bedtimes, too! You’ll find you get to sleep faster, and you don’t feel as tired during the day!
2. Starting your Day a little Earlier Gives You More Hours
Not a morning person? Just try it for a month! I find that when my day starts earlier, and I can get the major things done by 9:00 (shower, devotions, exercise, breakfast), then I have three hours to work before lunch. On the days that I get a late start, I often don’t get much done before lunch and that causes panic in the afternoon.
Even if you’re a stay at home mom, set a time for the day beginning, when you will commence housework, or play group, or story time, or an outing to the library, or something. Stick to it, and you’ll find that you feel like you accomplish more! I’m finding this one hard right now because I’m still a little jetlagged from my trip to Alberta. But I’m going to try to start getting up at 7 again, because I know that’s best for me.
3. Get More Hours in the Day by Setting a Limit on your Time Wasters
Do you check email every 15 minutes? Update Facebook throughout the day? Check out your blogs? Don’t stop all together. That’s not realistic. But you can put parameters around it.
Think about it this way: if you check email every 15 minutes, you’re spending a lot of time checking when there’s likely nothing there (or maybe just 1 thing). Start checking just at lunch and then before you make dinner, and you’ll find a whole bunch of things that you can take care of all at once. You don’t miss anything, but it takes less time to go through them! It’s the same thing with Facebook or blogs. Read your blogs in a reader (I love Bloglovin for my iPad!). I just check once a day now, and I can skim all the blog posts to see only the ones I want to read. It’s awesome!
What about television? Do you really need to watch it? I’m not trying to be a purist here; I got rid of the television about 15 years ago, but I’ve simply replaced it with the internet. It’s not that I never waste time anymore; I just waste it differently, and I’ll be totally honest with you about that. But one thing that’s great about getting rid of TV is that we can watch all the good shows all in one setting once they’re out on DVD! It doesn’t matter that they’re old; we never saw them in the first place. So instead of being glued to a TV, why not try to move your TV viewing to DVD or the internet when you control the time?
4. Put first things first
Part of the reason that we feel frazzled is that often at the end of the day we climb into bed with that unsettled feeling because we know that we have left important things undone. When the big stuff doesn’t get done, it doesn’t matter how much else you accomplished during the day. You don’t feel fulfilled.
So what is your big stuff? I’d put having meaningful time with God and with family high up on that list. Having dinner together, if possible. Instead of making a to-do list every morning, of all the possible things that you think you should get accomplished, why not make a “must do” list? If you had to narrow your list down to three things today, what would those three things be? What is most important to you?
Often the things that are actually most important don’t show up on our to-do lists because errands and busy-ness crowd them out. But that’s absolutely lethal to our sense of well-being. Instead, wake up in the morning with this question for God: “What three things do you absolutely want me to do today?” Then get those three done for sure! You’ll feel far less like a failure, and more like you’ve accomplished your main purpose in life.
I think we go about things backwards; we often feel best about ourselves when we can cross off a ton of things off of our lists. But I think spending more time on fewer things is actually better for us in the long run.
So ask yourself: what is MOST important? And then do that! You’ll feel much better at the end of the day!
Which thing is hardest for you? Let me know in the comments!