Life is short.
Many of us have heard that before, but do we take time to consider it? Sometimes, I truly feel that not many people take time to think and consider their lives; especially the limited amount of time we have in this life. Instead, people are busy. They constantly use their time to work, or they are so busy doing things that they get lost in the sea of busyness.
Why is this? I believe that it has to do with the culture that we live in. We live (at least here in America) in a culture where we are valued by what we do. I mean just turn on the TV and look at what is being advertised right in front of us. Food, Fashion, Entertainment, just to name a few; the advertisements are wanting us to make money so that we can buy. The more stuff that we own, the more valued we are. Buying more requires us to do more; even when we buy, we are still encouraged to do more. Thus, the more that we do, the more important we feel. When we get lost in this Sea of Busyness, we often neglect life.
On top of this, if we are not doing anything, we are seen as lazy and unproductive. It appears to many that the very idea of doing less, is scary. I admit, that even for myself, I struggle with the idea of balance, taking it easy or slowing down. We get caught in the proverbial washing machine of life. We are thrown into this cycle and we get tossed around. It is almost as though people are willing to be put into the cycle in the name of being accepted, appreciated and admired. Sometimes, we do not even realize the existence of the cycle and we justify it by thinking that doing more is good.
Now, this post is not to attack people who like and enjoy doing things. Honestly, I really enjoy doing things all the time. I love to take time to travel, pray, spend time with family and do lots of other things-projects. My concern is to address that our American culture encourages us to do too much. Often when we get overwhelmed- we have already gone too far and done too much. It makes me question why some people do not take time out of their busy schedules and reflect, pray, discern, or relax. Sometimes people take on so many responsibilities that they lose track of the time and forget about the important things. Not only do we forget, but when we are so wrapped up in the Sea of Busyness, that we do not realize how precious time is.
We are limited with the amount of time that we have here on the earth. Each and every single person has a set amount of days, hours, minutes and seconds. Once you are born, the proverbial clock starts ticking. This is not to scare you, but this is to help you realize how precious time is. Time is the one true limited resource. No matter how hard we try, we cannot get time back. Time simply can slip away from us if we are not careful. Thus, we shouldn’t neglect our relationships or the things that matter to us.
Time is Precious
So how do you take care of utilizing your time better? Below are a couple of suggestions:
Make a list of the things that matter most to you
- In doing this, you can find our what is important and not important to you. It is up to you to decide what your priority is. From there, you have to make decisions on if/how you can keep the good and eliminate the bad.
- Consider this as an example: Do you value_____
- Faith / Family / Friends / Work / School / Social Life / Travel / Resting / Recreation
- How would you list these things? What would you place at the top? What would be at the bottom? As always, you can always ask yourself what you can change? How can you reach your priority goals?
Learn when to say yes and when to say no
Typically people know what their limits are. If you are able to have balance in your life (work, rest, recreation) then you are doing great. However, if you find yourself stressed out, overwhelmed, or you feel that you are taking on too much, be alert. It is perfectly healthy to say no to an event, a new job or a new task when you already have so much going on in your life. This is not being mean, rather it is setting boundaries. When we are overwhelmed with too many things going on, it can very easily cause us to poorly perform in any aspect of our life.
For me, this can be a challenge. I find myself (many times) to be taking on too much. I want to be the best that I can be when I do anything. So in order for me to perform better at the things that I love doing, I need to limit what I take in so that I can put out quality. Remember, it isn’t always about quantity, rather quality.
Find time to reflect, relax and recharge.
This may seem to be the hardest thing to do at times. In fact, there have been times when I have spoken to people who do not even know how to relax or take time to reflect. We live in a culture where slowing down and even stopping to catch your breath is seen as a sign of giving up. Giving up does not mean knowing your limits.
Consider the gym: There are people who workout and they push their body too far. These are the kind of people who do not realize what kind of damage they are doing to their physical body. Sure, they are training or they want to get ripped, but at what expense? In the same way, we can push other parts of our body too far. Each and every person has a different limit.
My personal suggestion would be taking time in peace and quiet. Take time to read a book, be in prayer, or listen to soft music. If you have the opportunity to, perhaps go out in nature. For me, I love going to the mountain. I love going off the grid when I have the chance to. This means going for a drive and staying away from technology. I love going to places where there is little or no cell phone service. I love doing this so I can take time to be in nature so that I can reflect, relax and recharge. I truly feel that doing these things are necessary for a balanced life.