Time well spent.

Creating margin doesn’t mean you get more money it just means you spend it differently.  Likewise, creating better margin doesn’t mean you get more time, it only means you have invested it differently. 🕐

How have we done this week? Anyone make progress on living within their means? Can you feel the pressure ease as we are not stretched to capacity? Wiggle room, it’s really a beautiful thing! Let’s continue!

I want to invent an app that tracks how much time we spend on our other apps. Heck, there is probably an app for that already! Haha, it’s a true story!

I am relieved I don’t do Pinterest, Instagram, or Snapchat too often. But my recorded time spent on Facebook alone would probably be very disappointing.  #mindlesslatenightscroller

But if the truth of HOW I spent my time would motivate change, then shouldn’t I find out the truth? Let’s do it!

Let’s take control of our time and own how we spend it! Let’s push back and create margin. Here is a simple idea. Dave Ramsey taught us to “tell our money where to go.” He encourages people to budget every penny, giving each dollar direction and purpose. What if we tried the same approach with our time? We all have the same 24 hours in a day; most of us have similar 8-9 hour work days… so, what if we drilled down the rest of our available hours and budgeted how to spend them.

We could literally backpedal from the schedule of daily occurrences and expected plans. Surely we have time at the beginning or end of our days that we don’t spend well?

Recently I started tracking my sleep. (My motives may not have been 100% pure, lol.) I have lots of people tell me I don’t sleep enough and make assumptions about my health.  I wanted to take a better look at my sleep, nutrition, and exercise. It’s been a good habit.

For that idea, I want to encourage you to start a “time journal.”  <<Is this a thing, or did I just have a really great idea suggestion?>>> Regardless, start a journal that is seperate from your daily study and devotions. In this notebook, jot down the GOOD ways you spent your time. (Recording it gives me a subconscious gold star- and I find myself wanting to make more good choices.)

For me, I don’t count routine things: work, basketball practice, gymnastics, choir, or household chores like making dinner and doing laundry. While those things are good, for time tracking, I feel these are neutral…. Necessary but not really optional. (Although I do count meal prepping because this is not yet normal; it’s a goal for healthier shopping and cleaner eating) 🥗

For the good… How about measuring meaningful conversations with your spouse or tallying up the minutes spent giving undivided attention to your kids. I love truly listening to my girls’ day and being available to focus on their schoolwork and activities. How about squeezing in a sporadic personal worship session, or taking a mid-afternoon prayer and praise break? Exercise? What about reading? That is time well spent for sure! Sometimes we can spend our time being available for friends; making time for a late-night phone call, sending encouraging text messages, or scheduling regular lunch dates. Try sending one hand-written card a week may really help you feel accomplished in adjusting your time margins, and I especially love calling my grandparents. I plan to start making a weekly call to my parents. I am ready to convert my good intentions into actual habits.

How does this happen? Count the good. Often times, what gets measured gets done. ✅

Conversely, what we allow is what we approve. We also must start tracking your poor time choices… pay attention to where you waste. Start setting a ten minute timer on your phone for when you zone out for a social media break. Limit your TV intake, and count the minutes of your mindless screen time. Figure out what your “allowable loss” is, and get serious about regulating it.

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You have the power to change your schedule. I have the power to change mine. You can say no. You don’t have to attend everything all the time.  Give yourself permission to reset those boundaries and make yourself “unavailable” if necessary.

Recently I caught myself answering a work email during supper…. I put a strangers general business inquiry above the beautiful people at my dinner table. Not.Any.More.

Margin reminds me that everything is not time sensitive. 

My boss didn’t ask me to be that available. Customers are not more valuable than my family. I have the ability to respond to urgent matters that are time sensitive and require immediate attention. But, I also have the ability to decern what messages can wait. It is appropriate for me to wait and respond during business hours.

Quit assigning gold stars for bad behavior! Checking my email at 11:30pm is not a good choice. When we get maxed out from the constant pressure of multitasking, we can realize that margin gives us the power to change.

I didn’t like my normal, so I am changing.  If you don’t like your normal, you can change as well. It’s your time, spend it well.

 

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