Point Taken???

Every morning I wake up, fling my covers back and immediately start going through what my day will entail, how long I have to get started on the first task, and what  my motives are for doing them.  I fail every single morning at doing exactly what I want to be doing.  It’s not a negative, but a positive. Positive in the fact that I am over it.  I have been trying to read a quick read book for a friend to do a review on, and I can’t even find time to read it.  The terrible part is that it’s an amazing story and all I want to do is sit down and read it right now! Time does not allow. I have 3 devotions started and unfinished, one of which I was supposed to be entering in to a contest this winter, and for some reason, it is just one thing after another. Time just won’t allow for it!  My house looks like a tornado from the events and holidays and holiday events that I have been planning and as I prepare to head out the door this morning, I gaze toward the beautiful disaster and whisper, “I will come back to you.”

I have been in this overwhelmed state before, but with twice as much on my plate.  3 years ago, this would have seemed like a slow day as I am actually able to sit here and drink this cup of coffee and write this morning.  Isn’t it funny how we push ourselves to the limit.  Nothing I do in my busy days are bad. Actually, I am grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the things I am.  I work full-time for volunteer efforts with some breaks in between.  From August through December, my days are pretty jam-packed with loving people, great causes and witnessing first hand human kindness. The rest of the year, I take a day to just be home and do nothing and there isn’t anything that really interferes with that.

So, this is my plan.  I am going to schedule my volunteer work as I would a regular work schedule but also, I am scheduling time off as an appointment.  At first thought, I was thinking that this would not work for me because I allow myself to be interrupted.  By allowing myself to be interrupted, I mean…

A little stressed

PLEASE NOTE… OTHER THAN THE THREE DOTS AFTER THE WORD ‘MEAN’ IN THE START OF A PARAGRAPH ABOVE, THIS IS WORD FOR WORD, AN UNEDITED COPY OF MY LAST ATTEMPTED POST.  ACTUALLY, I DIDN’T EVEN COPY AND PASTE IT.  I AM LITERALLY JUST TYPING THIS BELOW THE UNFINISHED POST… POINT TAKEN???

BUT WAIT!!! Before sighing and saying to yourself, “Good grief! What a dork!”, I would like you to read that last paragraph once more… you know, just for fun. Do you notice that I started it with the words, “So, this is my plan.”? MY plan… Haha! Yes, famous last words right? Right.  Yeah, well, let me tell you that my plan sucks.  My plan is terrible.  Why on earth do I think that my plan is what I am needing? Did you notice that I stated in the paragraph right before that, that I have been here before?  Did you notice how haughty I sounded when I said basically that this is nothing compared to what it used to be?  Did you know that what I was referring to was a time in my life that I was so overwhelmed that it almost killed me?  Yeah, literally, my body was fighting back physically at what I refused to change mentally.

I thought that I needed to be the answer to everything.  ‘If I didn’t do it, who would?’ Right?  Wrong… if I didn’t do it and the reason was because I needed less on my plate, and it was something that needed to be done.  Guess what?  Someone else WOULD do it!  How do I know? Because when I was in the hospital, you know, trying to stay alive, stuff got done… without me! Hello! So, it didn’t get done the way I would have done it, some people were pissed at the last-minute inconvenience for them, and I didn’t get to be involved with a couple really cool events… but I was not dead, and that was pretty cool all by itself.  My kids and husband were pretty happy about that. 🙂

I found out real quick that I needed to eliminate some things in my life if I wanted to keep mine.  God was quite a wonderful advocate for me as the scripture and my friends who listened to scripture kept bringing me words of wisdom on this subject.  I was a terrible listener at first but then, it all started to sink in and as I allowed myself to be guided, I was able to see the absolute mess I had created for myself and my family.  It was humbling to say the least, eye-opening to be considerate and a slam in the face to be really honest.  I wasn’t listening to God then and I realized when I read the attempted post above that I am on a dangerous path of justification and repetition.  Normally, before, I would have had to have had an accountability partner bring this to light in me, but the fact I caught it myself says I am growing.  Thank You, Jesus!imagesCAU2KDHA

I bought a planner to keep track of my time and just a few months ago, I was penciling in this and penciling in that, but when I looked at it the other day, I realized I was already filling in my days before I was anywhere near filling them with life things.  I saw it and felt anxiety creeping in.  I have erased half of those happenings and contacted the appropriate people to let it be known I will not be able to commit but will join in if time allows.  I felt like I had been freed seeing all those ‘blank’ slots. It was a reminder that I will always have to be conscious of the fact that I have a tendency to overbook myself.  Even if I completely master this with thought and deliberate intent, I will need to constantly keep myself in check. Reading the above post, confirmed that for me.  I am not great at time management.  I may be one day… but I am not right now and probably won’t be in the immediate future.  I’m working on it.  What I do know though, is that there is no job more important to me, than being a mom and if I am overbooked with other things, I am stealing that time from my family who loves me and needs me.

I want to share this because I am positive that I am not the only person out there that is terrible with time management.  I would like to share what is working and what isn’t working so far.  I also would like to hold myself accountable on a larger scale in hopes of growing in this area a little quicker.  Lastly, I would really just like to let someone out there who struggles with this same thing know this… You are not alone.  You are not going to be alone. You are not expected to be alone.  If you allow your life to spin out of control however, you very possibly could lose the respect of your friends and family, you could cause unnecessary fears and anxieties in your children, no matter their age… and this was the one I learned almost too late… you could lose your life.  You can die.  Stress is not okay and it is handed to us from so many sources that it’s okay to keep away the stress you can control.  It is okay to say NO, even if you are a ‘Yes Man or Yes Mam’.  If you say yes to everything, it doesn’t allow those who say no too often to get involved.  So… let me give you two lists to help.  If there are any ideas that you think I should add to either list, please feel free to share. I am still learning in this thing we call life too. 🙂

What I Have Done Wrong
(I am sure there is much more that I am unaware of but these stand out the most for me right now.  Some of these I have conquered but want to list them anyway.)

frustrated woman

1. Ignoring loved ones, warnings.
2. Ignoring comments like, “Wow, how do you manage all these things?” or “Wow, you are always running!”  It’s not that being busy is bad sometimes… it just shouldn’t be what defines you.
3. Agreeing to do something even when it doesn’t feel entirely right.  (If you have flags, pay attention to them.  Pray about it, write down the pros and cons, and wait to answer)
4. Yes should never be your first answer.  I still struggle with this one right now.  Instead, say, “Let me think about it and get back to you.” or “I would love to, so let me see if it is something that will not overwhelm my schedule.”  (If the person asking gets pissed… the answer is no. No. NO! You can say no more tactfully, but this is a HUGE flag! It usually means the person asking is overwhelmed as well, and you are probably going to be dedicating way more hours than expected. If this is not something you have been dying to get involved in, wait it out.)
5. Being late… By allowing myself to justify being late, I have justified being overwhelmed.  Focusing on time allows me to gauge whether or not I am out of control.  I am late a lot = Not in control of my time.
6. Allowing others to rule over  my time.  Sometimes I will tell someone I don’t have time to do something and they will return with things like, “Oh, it will only take a minute.” or “Please? I have a time frame I need to stick to.”  (Why are we always more worried about their timeframe than our own?)
7. Being afraid to say no.  When it becomes common knowledge that you are willing to do anything, it becomes expected and feelings can get hurt when you say no… THEY WILL GET OVER IT… IF THEY DON’T, THANK GOD FOR A BULLET DODGED.
8. Expecting others to pick up your half assed efforts due to your overwhelming schedule.  You want to lose friends or welcome bad ones? Do this to people for a while.  It will rock you right into the nuthouse. Either own it or pass it on.  This doesn’t mean you can’t delegate tasks or work as a team. This means dropping your commitment onto other people expecting them to pick up your pieces because of too many other commitments.
9. Judging others who don’t have the ‘I can do it.’ attitude like you.  This quickly allows you to get a big head on all of your amazing capabilities… even though you are late, and exhausted, and never home with your family.  Point taken???
10. Overlapping events… leave a little early from here only to be a little late to there.  You are neglecting both commitments and yes, they actually do care.
11. Mistaking these two words… Good & God… Just because it is good to do, doesn’t mean it is where God wants you.
12. Forgetting to pray before and after committing to do something.  God WILL move you.  Some commitments are actually steps to different ones.  Consistently pray about your involvements and be honest when you evaluate your involvement with them.  Are you being challenged or being let go?
13. Thinking everything needs to be done perfectly.  So many times, I have totally blew my time frame just by thinking I am the only one capable for the job.  Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb… DUMB!!!
14. Delegating only when you can supervise… Read 13 again.
15. Expecting family to just deal with your absence… Trust me when I say this.  It is wrong of you to ask it and they will never accept it without resentment.
16. Ignoring the need to evaluate and hold yourself accountable for keeping your time balanced.

What do I mean by Good or God?

Relieved woman

Good = Good cause, good people, good in general. Not BAD to be involved with, but not necessarily where you want or need to be in your life adventure. You like it and see good happening but you are not on fire for it.  You see others way more dedicated or excited about it than you.
God = Where God intends for you to be.  This should line up with the make up of your character that God designed you for. Spiritual gifts would be evident here. God would be glorified through you here. You are excited to be here and really feel God’s presence in the work done through you.  You feel true joy here.

What I Have Done Right
(These are just things I have noticed to have huge returns in sanity.  They are not all things I am good at, but are tried and true.)

October 2010 plus Faith's Sept. appt 161

1. Pray… pray about everything.  Just keeping the communication open allows you to accept answered prayers whether they are in your ‘favor’ or not.
2. Let your YES be YES and your NO be NO… being compassionate is one thing, but if you say yes, knowing later you can just say no, you will be a flake and let’s face it… everyone is annoyed by a flake.  Untrustworthy and not dependable… who wants that title? No one.
3. Start over.  Write down all of your commitments on a piece of paper. (Be prepared, this is a difficult exercise) Beside them, write the answers to these questions. What are the minimum hours in a month that are spent on this? Who placed me here… God or Good? Does this affect my family time? (This answer should always be yes unless you do it together) Do I enjoy this? Does it bring me closer to Christ? If I were to die tomorrow, would this continue without me? Who am I doing this for?
4. Number it!  After doing #3, number them in order of importance in YOUR EYES. Number them, starting with #1 being the most important and so on. This is just to give you more perspective so you can really make an educated decision.
5. Ask your friends and family.  What do they love that you do? What do they see as concerning?  (This sucks, by the way. I hate this part.  It’s the part I dread the most because I don’t share the same hearts as all of them, but I have to ask them because they love me. They see what I don’t.) This doesn’t mean you have to bury yourself deeper or the opposite, drop this cause, but it does mean that you need to be aware of how you are affecting those around you in both of these areas.
6.  Do a self check.  One month… stop doing everything. Focus solely on your growth and rejuvenation. Communicate you are taking a month off from everything to everyone. Explain it is temporary but that you need this time to see where your heart is. Ask for prayer during this time and offer thanks for their understanding.  Be honest about being overwhelmed and needing to do a self-check.  If anyone refuses to respect this or just flat-out doesn’t get it, you probably have your answer. (When I did this, I was amazed at the support I received and developed amazing accountability partners who keep their eyes on me. It was such a blessing!)
7. Focus on other’s gifts.  This is the most productive and the most beautiful thing I have learned.  Look around you.  Find people who have amazing gifts and ask them if they would like to get involved.  Through this, I have passed on things that weren’t as close to my heart to people who not only were able to take on what I was doing but made it beautiful.  Seeing others take on something you had to let go of, is such a great opportunity and you will totally see the difference between God and Good through their work.  It’s AMAZING!!!
8. Protect family time.  If you are a spouse and/or parent then you already have a number 1 on your priority list.  These are God-given relationships that will suffer if you do not put them first.  A stable home is so much more important than a stable event.  There is no job more important than holding fast the strength of your family. Get them involved or make time for them.  It’s the only way. When your kids miss you, you need to listen.  If they begin to show signs of not caring whether or not you are there, you have been gone too much. Recover this relationship immediately.
9.  Don’t schedule every Saturday. Leave some time open to be spontaneous!  You will be so grateful for this move.  I have kept this one and just love it.  If you have a hard time with this, ‘schedule’ a family day on at least one of your Saturday’s to protect it.  (If you just cringed, you are overwhelmed. Seek change immediately)
10. Adjust… Adjust… Adjust!!!  As you become more honest about your situation and more real about fixing it, you will be able to eliminate more and more, allowing yourself even more ‘free’ time.  Every time you feel it is still too much, adjust it down again.  If it still feels like too much, adjust it again.  Adjust it until you are excited again to go serve!
11. Let God be your Guide… If He is not getting the glory, you may be in the wrong place. 😉

OMG babyListen, I am not an expert on time management, as I stated above, but I am an expert of the lack of!  I know how awkward it can feel to have tons of energy and interests and be surrounded by people who are totally capable to hone in on one or two specific things and never struggle with making down time for themselves.  I love people, kids, animals, traveling and adventures.  I love serving, planning and advocating.  There are so many things I want to do and places I want to see.  I just love life. Because I refused to take control of it, I almost lost it.

Most people who struggle with this are just a time management fix away from joy.  God made us up to be amazing beings.  He intended for us to use our minds and our hearts. He intended for us to LIVE.  We are His light bulbs and He is our Power.  Sometimes we have to change our structure to work properly and if we have too much on top of us, our light is hidden.  I’m all fired up now!  Ready to rumble!!! It’s time for me to re-adjust too. 🙂

Thanks for reading!
Angie ;0)

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Aside

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon Brooks
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 13:42:14

    Upon waking, you are what captures my heart, amidst the numerous distractions vying for a moment of my time. Reaching through this menagerie, your love takes me to a place where tall green grass bends softly in the wind. And as my child like innocence runs toward you, dances does my heart at the thought of serving You… this day.

    Reply

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