Beware the barrenness of a busy life. Socrates
Ask anyone how they are and most often the answer will be, ‘Busy.’
And this seems to be especially true during the build up to Christmas.
On an unprecedented scale,
Our generation seems to have mastered the art of procuring a busy life,
And in the process, forgotten about leading an intentional and meaningful one.
So I’ve been on a war path to Cap my Commitments!
As mums, wives, employees and so on,
We need to exercise wisdom in our current culture so that we don’t get swept along with the tide of increasing busyness that so often robs us of our energy, and even our joy.
Busy doesn’t have to be the new normal,
And no where does ‘being constantly busy’ equal being successful.
I am making fairly dramatic attempts in my own life to replace the busy with calm, calculated decisions, that reflect a sober minded view of my life and the things that I really want to invest in.
I am trying, as Craig Groeschel points out, to say NO to many small things in order to say YES to a few big things.
Why don’t you try it with me?
Instead of constantly running around fixing the urgent,
I want to be seen as someone who prioritises the important.
The urgent will always be present.
The important is what we need to begin to seek out and identify for our own lives.
What’s important in your life?
During the lead up to Christmas,
Why not reflect on whether what you are actually doing is urgent or important?
You only have so much time allocated to you in a day,
In a lifetime.
Are you using it to invest in what is important (the long term, the big picture, the meaningful?)
Or is your time being devoured by the urgent (the trivial, the temporal, the small?)
To say no to many small things requires self discipline and making hard choices sometimes.
Yes, you will let people down.
Yes, it can be an unpopular choice.
No, you can’t please everyone or do everything.
But when you look at the alternatives that equal frantic and over committed,
That steal time from your family, your top priorities and your mental and emotional health,
You really have no other choice.
Instead of stressing yourself out and attempting to juggle multiple tasks,
Perhaps it’s time this Christmas season to focus on 3-4 things that you can do well.
Perhaps over these next few weeks,
As the year is drawing to a close and we begin planning for another year,
It’s time to begin saying NO to many small things in order to say YES to a few big things.
Big things that will leave a legacy not only in your life but in the lives of those around you.
Big things that will mean you are more centered and fruitful,
Instead of being found running after your tail all the time.
Saying yes all the time won’t make you wonder woman, it will make you a worn out woman. Lisa Terkeurst
My 4 steps/questions to help you Cap your Commitments today are these:
1. Write down as many commitments/values you are currently involved in. eg. worship team at church, housework, mother’s group, job, writing a blog, making an album. Be warned, this list can get really long 😉 But that’s ok
2. Then, create a ‘To-Don’t‘ list. I want you to take 5 (or more!) things OFF your current list of busy goings for ONE WEEK and see how you go. Be ruthless for a week. Take off those things you don’t have time for anymore, that no longer fit in with your current season or that are no longer needed or relevant. At first this is a daunting concept, but once you’ve done it and then actioned it, it’s very freeing.
3. Next, list your top 5 commitments. What 5 things rank as your highest values? (normally it will be those things that you think about just before you go to sleep every night 😉 eg. family/marriage/cooking healthy meals/friends/your kids/your career/God.
4. Lastly, schedule in to a weekly calendar, how you will give attention to these newly recognised commitments/values/priorities. Write in each of your 5 values/commitments, nothing else right now. Write realistically how long you will spend doing each thing. eg. date night with husband 6.30-9.30pm Tuesday night. *Need a babysitter. Be as specific as possible so that you can see that in a week, you have made time for the 5 values dearest to your heart.
Cate is a mum, wife, singer, song writer, pastor, teacher and blogger. She is the Founder of The Inspire Collective – a creative network for women in Perth and is one of the writers for Kinwomen and 98five Sonshine FM.