How Busy is Too Busy?
Steph Beth Nickel
A few months ago I came across Jonny Diaz’s song “Breathe.” (If you haven’t heard it, I encourage you to check it out on YouTube.)
There’s a difference between hitting the ground running in the morning and go, go, going until you collapse into bed at night and having a full schedule.
How do you set a reasonable schedule and avoid becoming too busy?
Here are some questions to ask:
Do I get to the end of the day and experience a sense of accomplishment?
When bedtime rolls around and we’re focused more on what we weren’t able to accomplish than what we got done, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate our expectations. There’s only so much any one of us can do.
Do I schedule time for those activities that “recharge my batteries”?
Sometimes it isn’t about doing less but instead, doing those things that energize us. Taking a walk with my hubby after supper, even when I don’t feel like it, is usually a better option than watching “one more episode” of a TV program. And if I plop in front of “the tube” for hours, I feel drained. If I, however, pick up a book—or two or three—I feel as if I’ve accomplished something, even if said books are fiction.
And speaking of TV and books …
Can I read for leisure or watch my favourite TV program without nodding off?
It’s a pretty good indication that our days may be just a little too full—or that we need to add physical activity to our schedule—if we fall asleep during our downtime.
Am I too busy to exercise?
I know it may seem impossible to include exercise in our day, but it’s important to remember that regular physical activity usually makes it easier to think clearly and work more efficiently. Plus, it will likely help us sleep more soundly. Bonus!
And don’t forget that exercise doesn’t necessarily mean spending endless hours at the gym or running for miles every day. Find a physical activity you enjoy (swimming, biking, joining a recreational sports team) and keep at it, and watch the changes happen.
Do most of my meals come from the freezer or the drive-through at my local fast food restaurant?
I am definitely averting my eyes and humming as I share this thought. I have big dreams of planning the week’s menu and shopping for necessary ingredients on the weekend, but it just doesn’t happen. One day. One day.
Does my house look like a bomb fell most days?
My home will never, ever, ever get the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. However, I do want to do better. And for this to happen, I have to schedule “hometending,” as one of my friends calls it. In order to add sufficient time each day, something else has to go—but not necessarily downtime.
Do I consider time with family and friends just one more thing to scratch off my To Do list?
If we feel like spending time with the important people in our life is an inconvenience and keeps us from doing what we feel we should be doing—or what we truly want to do—it’s time to rework our schedule and possibly, take a closer look at our priorities.
Do those things I feel called to do (like writing a book for instance) keep getting pushed to the bottom of the list?
If there is a dream that just won’t go away, it’s quite possible the Lord has placed that dream in our heart. There will always be responsibilities that seem more important that divert us from pursuing the calling. We may think it isn’t realistic or that we could never actually do what it is, but I encourage you to set some time aside. Really pray about it and “get your feet wet.”
Do you feel as if you want to write a book? Read books on the writing craft. Attend a workshop or a conference. Connect with a Facebook group for writers. There are dozens, if not hundreds. But most of all, you’ll have to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), remembering that first drafts are often much different than the final version.
No matter what your calling, ask God to open the doors before you—and be willing to walk through each one.
Do I set aside time to study the Bible and prayer each day?
As Christians, this is the key question. If we are not studying God’s Word and praying regularly, our agenda will never fall in line. If we don’t have time to pursue our First Love, it’s a guarantee that we are too busy.
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Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.