I Finally Figured Out How to Schedule a More Fulfilling Life
My life is flying past, and I feel like all I am doing is just trying to keep up with living!
Why is everything I do just a pointless cycle of taking care of the urgent? “Oh, sorry kids. No park today. Gotta get this taken care of. I know we'll have time another day.”
But we never do. There is always something else that has to be “taken care of.”
I was tired of it.
I grabbed a pencil and a piece of paper and started feverishly writing all the things that were swirling in my mind.
-time to spend with God in Bible reading and prayer
-time to spend with my kids, undistracted
-time to spend with my husband nurturing our marriage
-time to be a real face-to-face friend
-time to minister to others
-time to stop and smell the roses
-time to quit feeling frantic, rushed, and always behind
-time to stop feeling grouchy due to that frantic and rushed feeling
-so I can have the energy to take good care of my family
-so I can be the one ministering rather than always needing to be ministered to
-so I can enjoy life more fully
And that was it!
All I really wanted was two things.
Nowhere on the list was earning money, because that's not what is going to bring fulfillment in life.
Nowhere on the list was watching a great movie or laughing at the latest meme going around on Facebook or browsing Pinterest.
I just want time and health for the important things in life – PEOPLE. MY PEOPLE.
I determined that if an activity didn't help me meet those two goals, it was out. Gone. Removed from my life.
At the same time, I knew that there are “necessary evils” in life – the bills have to be paid, we all have to eat (even though I hate cooking), and we need to clean up the house because we can't really enjoy one another's company very well in a filthy house. But I figured that even though those had to stay, I would still be able to enjoy doing them together with my family as long as the other unnecessary things were no longer allowed to steal my time.
As I began to try to place these two goals into a nice, neat, scheduled box, though, I realized that they just didn't fit.
I wanted to have some sort of schedule detailing exactly how I was going to find time for the things that really matter.
But life doesn't fit into a box.
I scribbled and scratched, crossed off and re-wrote, and it just seemed pointless.
“Even if I get this all laid out, it's still going to be different every day,” I thought to myself.
I knew some days I would need to spend more time cleaning. Some days the right thing to do would be to drop everything and go play outside with the kids.
So I did away with the schedule and adopted a new rule for living.
Each activity I do during a day must be preceded by this question:”Is this helping me reach my life goals?”
If I'm debating between two things, that question provides much-needed clarity.
For example, when I pass by my husband's workplace on the way home from the store, I debate to myself, “Go home and clean the bathroom or stop and say hello to my husband?” I must confess that often the urge to spend time with the dirty bathroom is stronger than the urge to spend time with my husband. I feel like I need to “accomplish” something, so I opt for a tangible thing that I can cross off my list.
But is that really what I want?
When I think about “the list” – I realize that no! It's not! I want more time with my people!
I've been living with this mindset for about a month now, and oh! I can't tell you how much more fulfilling it is!
Update: Over time, I've developed a planner that keeps me on track doing the things that really matter. Not only do I have plenty of time to spend nurturing relationships with the people I love, but there is almost always time left over for me to cross a project or two off my list to give me that sense of accomplishment that I did something. Never in my life have I spent so much time with family and friends, kept my house so clean, and accomplished extra side projects to boot. This is the planner that makes it all happen!
What is it that will give you a fulfilling life? When you focus on the things that really matter, you may just find there will be time for some of the extras too!