If you’re anything like me, you feel like you waste more time than you maximize. Maybe, also like me, you feel stress and pressure to complete tasks that seem ever-present and getting larger. I’ve written about it before, but I’m often burdened with the feeling of needing to be doing something else all the time. When I’m at work, I feel like I’m stealing from my writing. When I write, I feel like I’m stealing from my family. When I’m with my family, I feel like I’m not being productive enough. It’s maddening, and produces intense frustration. When I include my sporadic sleeping patterns, less than ideal diet, and general lack of exercise it produces a rather unappetizing result. Well, it’s a new year, more importantly, a new day and with the dawn comes opportunity.
In an effort to stifle the oppressors of from the land of NotDoingEnough, I’ve laid out some new, hopefully manageable strategies for this new day. And perhaps, if I string enough of those days together, I’ll look back this time next year and see progress. Here are my goals and / or strategies.
I’ve been following Christ since about this time in 1997. In all those years I’ve read many parts of the Bible many times, but I’ve never read it all. It’s just such a big book, and completing it takes an enduring commitment. I’m kinda tired of excuses, and I believe it’s worth it, so today, Jeni and I began a journey to read the whole thing, chronologically, in six months. Encouraged by a challenge from Keith Ferrin that we altered a bit (He’ll finish in four months), and following this chronological plan we hope to have completed the Bible on Friday, July 5th. I’d love for you to try it too, so here’s an idea of what today’s reading required. I read the first seven chapters of Genesis and it took me exactly seventeen minutes and forty-two seconds. I bet you can find twenty minutes to read in your day, even if you break it up in five or ten minute increments. Give it a shot!
I am striving for new habits here, a totally new lifestyle. Therefore, I’m taking baby steps.
I will remove one bad habit each month, and replace it with one better habit the same month. In January, for example, I’ve said goodbye to soft drinks (bad habit) and I’m replacing them with water (better habit). This is much more of a baby step than trying to eliminate high fructose corn syrup cold turkey. Besides, I’ve got a bag of gummi bears and two bags of Sour Patch Kids to eat, and there’s no need to go off and do something crazy. I’ve actually done the soft drink thing before with marked success, but I fell off the wagon big time and I’ve the waist line to prove it. Again, my goal isn’t to lose weight or drop a pants size; my goal is to create a new lifestyle. Baby step one, no more Coke. Baby step two, more water. We’ll see what steps February brings.
I’m cutting back on facebook. I’ve been trimming it out gradually for the last couple weeks, but I’ll reduce my time further still. Jeni is implementing some new strategies on facebook, some of which I’ll borrow, but basically I’m just spending less time on it and having a goal when I do invest time there.
The new writing routine I talk about next is part of a larger strategy to improve both the quality and quantity of my family time. With five kiddos, it’s easy for Jeni and I to be purely domestic co-workers, and that isn’t good for the marriage. I’ll be setting aside intentional time for Jeni and I to spend time together. Maybe it’s at a Chick-fil-a while the kids play on the playground, maybe a weekly dessert date, or a monthly date night; but whatever plan we choose will be a step in the right direction.
My work week lacks a daily routine. I go in from 12:45 – 8:00 on Mondays, 8:45 – 6:00 on Tuesdays, and 8:45 – 4:00 on Wednesdays, and 8:45 – 4:00 and then 5:30 – 8:00 on Thursdays. I don’t go in on Fridays. It’s a great schedule when it comes to having time for my family, but it can be complicated when trying to establish routine. So, I’m no longer letting my works schedule dictate my day.
I started a new writing routine this week that has me up at 5:30 every day, ready to face the world and at my desk writing by 6:00. That way I can get 1.5 hours of uninterrupted writing in and still help the family start the day at 7:30. So far, so good. I’ve not set a deadline, but I want to have the first and second draft of my new book completed before the spring.
Jeni and I still have to nail down a weekly routine to cover physical therapy appointments, time for each other, and general household stuff, but at least I know when my days begin.
So those are my strategies for 2013. Are you making any adjustments to your routine this year? Have you tried any of mine before? Can you offer any advice or encouragement? I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’re going to read the Bible with us.