Today, my mind can't focus. I can't seem to figure out what I should be doing, or even what I want to do. I am pushing through by doing odds and ends around the house and yard, but it doesn't feel good. I have felt like this all week, really. I am in recovery mode from Erin's wedding, the traveling, and just surviving a week as a single parent. I wonder how I'd be doing this week if I were still deeply entrenched in Facebook and other people's business. I can't even handle my own business; why did I think I could keep up with everyone else's?
I'm reading a book I like called Simple Life by Thom Rainer and Art Rainer. Well, I like the first part on time management. The second part that I am reading right now is fairly standard on healthy relationships and hasn't been as eye-opening as the first part. There was so much good stuff in the first section about aligning how we spend our time with what we state our priorities are. I took tons of notes. It only makes sense... we all have a list of our priorities; but do our days' activities reflect our priorities at all? Often, they don't. Everyone should do this... actually write out your top 5 or so priorities in life. Then, on another piece of paper, write out your typical days' schedule. Then you compare... do your days reflect your priorities?
I really loved a section in the book about balance. It talked about how everyone chases balance, but maybe balance isn't a good goal. Instead, it talks about “focus” being a better goal. Once we know what our focus is in life (or in a season, or whatever), it is easier to be productive and make better decisions about how to spend our time. So, we may seem “unbalanced” towards our priorities... but that is not the same as “imbalanced,” which doesn't at all allow for accomplishing goals.
And, like every good time management book, the authors remind the reader that being focused and effective will mean saying “no” to lots of good things. It got me thinking more about what good (or even great) things I am saying “no” to right now, as I consider how I want our family's summer to be.
My list of “no's” is subject to change... I can't make hard and fast rules for myself or I go over the edge to complete legalism and rigidity. But, so far, here are things I am likely to say “no” to right now.
- Camps of any sort for my kids (including sports, art, Bible school).
- Extra church décor projects.
- Regular evening obligations, including my beloved discipleship group.
- Very limited traveling. This one is hard for me. We are going to Florida as a family on our regular vacation that we take every year to the same place. We also will go to Pittsburgh, PA, for Dave's 20th high school reunion, and extend the visit so we will have some vacation time with his family. I might go to see my parents in Louisiana, especially now that our county schools have mandated a later start date for school. So that's two, maybe three, big trips. (If you know me in real life and love me and are reading this, please, I beg you... don't ask me to go on any extra trips.)
Back to my strange, moody day... I hate feeling this way, because it feels like a waste of a day. It says in the Simple Life. “The present matters. Your day matters.” The authors say that in a section of the book that talks about living in the present, so that you can move towards your goals and priorities. I certainly am not moving toward any goal today, even if that goal was relaxation! But, I am trying to give myself a break considering my circumstances of a stressful couple of weeks, and just let it be.