Aligning Time for Well-Being, Balance and Peace
A perspective on time management, observing the Sabbath, and cultivating well-being, balance and peace in real life. Challenging my personal status-quo to live a richer, more meaningful life that is aligned to my values, starting with how I spend my time.
During these highly unusual weeks, I have been able to read more and there are two books currently rocking my world: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer and Oh Crap! I Have a Toddler by Jamie Glowacki. While seemingly very different, I was shocked at how much overlap I encountered. One of the books is from my spiritual tradition, one is not (I bet you can guess which is which). I was getting literally the same messages in both of them ultimately about how to cultivate meaningful relationships and connections in the crazy, fast-paced world we live in. What this has to do with Mama’s Farmacy is that we believe in examining our lives, challenging the status quo and finding well-being, balance and peace in mind, body, and spirit because we believe they are intrinsically connected. How I manage my time and the stress/anxiety I do or do not inflict upon myself impacts my mind, body and spirit. So this is me, Christy, talking about how I’m challenging my status quo.
Figuring Out Where my Time Goes
Both books called on me to reflect on where exactly my time goes and to determine where I actually want it to go. This is not new, revolutionary thinking. But something in me was desperately ready to hear the message and therefore, I was receptive in a way I was not before. What did I find?
Places my time disappears to are:
1) checking email
2) texting throughout the day
3) organizing/cleaning throughout the day (toys, dishes, more dishes, more toys, clutter)
4) mindless online shopping (whether resulting in a purchase or more often not). And why?
I thrive on the feeling of being productive. I love my checklists. I feel like I need to get things done and be in the know. Fake productivity. And I don’t want to miss out on anything! Fake connection. It’s also very hard for me to go from the “hamster wheel pace” to “just being”. I live most often in an over-stimulated, over-scheduled place with no margin. That’s not what I want.
Aligning My Time to My Priorities
In order to organize my time better and align it to my life priorities, I must know what matters to me. Through an exercise in Glowacki’s book, I got to set 3 daily priorities, 3 weekly priorities and 3 life priorities that would guide how I fundamentally spend my time. Notice there are only 3 for each.
For me, on a daily level, it’s super important that:
1) my daughter has limited screen time
2) that we live in a healthy manner (moving our bodies and eating veggies)
3) that we have social time with others
These can fluctuate and they are not perfect, but this guides the day so I can let go of other things more easily. An example of a weekly priority for me is maintaining my yoga practice. An example of a life priority for me is creating meaningful connections with my daughter on a regular basis (focused, mutually enjoyable time). These priorities are important because they will guide my decision-making; determining what I say “yes” and “no” to as I practice the discipline of adhering to them (not easy).
Organizing my Time
Limiting the time I'm spending on everything else to make room is also a practice. Marie Kondo’s wildly popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up talks about things that spark joy. Well I can apply that same idea to how I choose to spend my time. I had about 45 min of “me” time one night after my daughter fell asleep. I sat down to watch a Netflix show I thought I would like. It was fine but it didn’t inspire me. Next time I’ll choose differently.
When Marie talks about organizing homes, she talks about organizing all “like things” together (like putting all of your hats together) so you can see what you want and donate what you want, making space in the process. Well, I can apply that to my time as well. I now have to practice addressing texts and emails in chunks. Which means, not throughout the day, all day, every day. This one is very challenging. I love the dopamine hit of getting a message and checking it. The number of interruptions is just chaos. This is not serving me well and I don’t have the mental space I want to focus and be creative.
Truly Owning My Time
Both books implore readers to observe the Sabbath day of rest though one is not rooted in any spiritual discipline. For me, hearing that same message in both consecutively was akin to God himself coming down with these instructions for me.
After a few weeks of pondering how, I have decided to just start with two simple guidelines:
1) I will do no shopping of any kind on Sundays
2) I will refrain from working on Sundays.
This is my gentle start. And what I know, is that the gift of the Sabbath day will pour out and change how I do the other 6 too. Right now I don’t know how and that’s ok.
So what will I do with my 24 hours of Sabbath Day to rest and recharge?
Connecting with people is my #1. My family, my friends. Any activity that is life-giving. Connecting with nature. Eating a delicious meal. Art! Reading! Moving our bodies. Having time to think and reflect. Having time for unexpected conversations and visits with neighbors. Being proactive instead of reactive. Being spontaneous! This is a work in progress, like making the first stroke of the brush on a blank canvas. I anticipate it’s going to take practice for me to settle into a routine and add more to what it looks like but I know the picture will emerge and it’s going to be good.