Which comes first, the intentional living or the busy schedule that requires it?
I have learned that when I am really busy with too much to do, I intentionally map out the schedule and get more done. It’s always amazing. The first and one of the biggest times I experienced this was during one semester of college when I had moved away from school and had to drive about twenty minutes, I had events nearly every weekend that fall, and I was serving as a part-time youth pastor in a local church about thirty minutes from where I lived. I had to be very intentional with each day and really each moment in order to accomplish all that needed to be done. And it worked! In fact, I was more intentional with getting school work done, getting to class on time, preparing in advance for church, and all the other things in life.
Don’t just bemoan the business and opportunities in your life. and the opportunities, but to become more intentional to accomplish it.
However, be we go any further, a reminder that you don’t want to be busy for busyness sake. You could be filling up your day but doing all the wrong things. So, here are three thoughts about making sure you’re living intentionally matters:
Prune – there may be times when you need to get rid of something in your life or work. That’s good.
Delegate – you can’t just keep mounding more and more and still be effective – one goal in life is to do the things that matter the most to you and the things that fulfill your god given gifts and calling.
Focus – part of the purpose of intentionality in your schedule is to focus on those things that are going to make the most impact.
FOUR SIMPLE IDEAS FOR INTENTIONAL LIVING
One Calendar: Carey Neihof once said, you have one life, so you should only have one calendar. I’ve not always been the best with calendering, but I know it works! One thing I do every once in a while is sit down to create the perfect weekly calendar. I shade in the areas where I want to invest time in prayer and devotion, the perfect balance of meals at home, time for relaxation, time for work, worship and hobbies. I create the ideal week and though I may not hit it as often as I like, it begins to sink in and bits and pieces start fitting in more than I can believe! Take time to work on your calendar and allow it to help you get things done.
Time Blocking: You know that feeling the Friday afternoon before you will be going on vacation for the next week? You have only two hours to get everything in order, and you know you have a deadline. This focused time is so productive because you are, well, focused! When we know we only have a certain about of time to complete something, we stay on task and get it done. Time Blocking your calendar allows you to maximize your time, give yourself the motivation to accomplish this project, or errands or whatever your task is, before the next thing that comes up on your calendar. Instead of adding “go shopping” to your to-do list, you put, “go shopping from 2:00 – 2:45. Now you have blocked that time out and it makes it much easier to keep the commitment.
Big Rocks First: – You may have seen this illustration done at some point. If you have a glass jar and fill it with sand, pebbles, and gravel, the three big rocks won’t fit in. There just isn’t any more room at the top. But you start over and put the three big rocks into the glass jar first, then add the same amount of gravel, pebbles, and sand, it all fits! Amazingly, the same amount fits, with room to spare, as long as you have things ordered properly. Be sure to add the more important things to your day, calendar, life first. One example might be blocking off time for worship each Sunday morning. Once you have that on your calendar in pen, you wind up discovering that all the other stuff fits into your day and week. But you miss that big rock of worship and community with God and the church, the week seems harried.
Plan Ahead – If you haven’t experienced this, you can probably imagine the fun of figuring out how to get two or more kids to various activities and events all while keeping your own life schedule together. If young parents don’t plan out the week, they, along with their kids, will feel the stress of last-minute and chaos. This is just one example of planning ahead. Planning ahead doesn’t have to be super high-tech – though it can be a vision for the next three years, it can also mean sitting down on Sunday evening and looking at the next seven days. What is needed? Where will I put in this project or task I want to do? How will I get this all done?
There are seasons for everything. Balance is a great goal, but sometimes, you just get in over your head. Don’t stress out. Do your best. Look ahead on the calendar and Hal Hamilton uses to say, “Create a fire break.” When’s the next time you can take a breather. Until then, allow the busy schedule to be a springboard to an intentional life! When each day is lived on purpose, your life will take care of itself.