#18: Balancing the Chaos Part 1: Managing Time

As we all know, especially as adults, time becomes harder and harder to manage. It never seems like there’s enough of it.

Today I’m going to tackle that ever elusive question: how do you get more time? How can you create enough time in your days, your weeks, your months, to pursue your goal?

At the risk of sounding cliche, you have to strike a balance. As with most things in life this is the best way to tackle your time. I don’t believe there should be an absolute of saying “no” to everything that isn’t your passion. I’ve heard it said that you have to learn to say no to lots of things in order to make enough time for your passion. I think you need to be careful with that. And, as is obvious, if you say no to nothing, you’ll never get anywhere. Therefore - balance.

So you have to decide what things you’re going to trim time off of so that you can spend more time on your passion project. Here come the choices. Yes, learn to say “no.”, but only to the extent that doesn’t sacrifice what’s truly important. Are you really going to say no to family get togethers? No to date night with that special someone that’s helping to build your relationship? No to your nephew’s football game that means the world to him? I would hope not.

I have too many people in my life that I care about to say no to them. To say no would be to say that my dreams are more important than you and yours. Christ calls me to a life of servitude, not a life of self-servitude. Therein lies the foundation of my choices.

Everyday we’re bombarded with the mantras “follow your dreams”, “take care of yourself”, “take time for you”, “let me take a selfie”. On the surface it sounds nice, but when you dig deeper, the truth is we’re being told to be selfish. We’re being told that that’s okay.

I argue for the opposite.

Pursue your dreams, but never at the risk of pushing others aside and becoming selfish. How do you accomplish this? The number one way is to prioritize and make a schedule.

Here’s my advice on how to prioritize. Think of your time as a big glass jar. You must fill it completely to account for all the time you have. Your items(things to do) to fill it are stones, sand, and water. Which do you put in first? If you pour in the water first, then try to add the sand and stones, it will overflow. If you put the sand in first, then the water, then the stones, the stones will sit on top of the wet sand and once again, overflow.
However, if you place the stones in first, then the sand, then the water - the sand will fill in the empty space between the stones, and the water will percolate through the sand, filling the even smaller empty spaces until the jar is full and all your items are neatly placed inside.

This is how you must plan your schedule as well.

Most Important Big Stuff First (stones):

For me, this means blocking out time to devote to God. Church, fellowship, bible studies, time spent in the word, devotions. All of that must come first. For you that may look different, but this is the place for the utmost important things in your life.

Important Medium Sized Stuff Second (sand):

My day job, family responsibilities, house responsibilities, passion project, etc. Again, this may look different for you, only you can know what this area contains.

Least Important Stuff Last (water):

Movies, Video Games, Generally unproductive time. I think for most of us this will look very similar. (*ahem* Netflix?)

Once you’ve made this planned out schedule, discuss it with your spouse/family/roommate/cat. Let them know what you’re doing, and make sure that they’re all on the same page with you. If all your responsibilities are taken care of, there’s no doubt they’ll be on board too.

Once you've discussed and blocked out that time, stick to it! That's absolutely key. If you don't stick to it, things will get messy and you will definitely lose track. I'll be honest, I'm not perfect with mine. Life happens, but I'm doing my best to push myself to stick to it. I’m also not beating myself up for not being on the dot with every single thing. Your passion project should bring you joy, not guilt.

The proof is in the pudding.  If you're following me on any social media outlets, you'll notice I opened up my Etsy shop. Yay! I only have two products up now, but that's still product! I'm slowly but surely building my way up to where I want to be. The reason it's slower than it could be is because of my priorities. My rocks are just too big to fit too much extra sand.

What do the rocks and sand in your life look like? Comment below and share your story!