Too Much of a Good Thing (Part 2)

Building a Life of Purpose: Not Busyness

The year is a third over. Gone. Wow, where did that four months go? I started the year feeling super organised and in control. I had time blocked my calendar, prioritised my to-do lists, and set my goals. You can read all about my great beginning here. I can now admit that there has been not one week of the term that went to plan. Not one! 

It was a great term, full of great opportunities and experiences. I got to teach in our Ministry School and facilitate a spiritual formation group. I got to attend a week of lectures to improve my preaching skills and meet some great fellow pastors from around the country. I went with my daughter and her bridesmaids to numerous bridal shows and shops and have placed an order for the wedding dress of her dreams. And that is just a few big highlights. It’s been a fantastic term!

But all this great stuff is pretty exhausting. My days off got squeezed out with wedding planning and writing assignments. My work weeks were cluttered by extra commitments that weren’t on the original plan. I found myself running from one deadline to the next with no recovery time in between. I ended the term tired and teary. 

There has been a bit too much, all good, but too much. I shared last year about when we moved into a smaller house and had to edit our belongings. It was difficult, but a good process to go through, and six months down the track there is nothing I regret getting rid of. In fact, I’m starting to notice things that I kept but haven’t used since we moved, and I’m planning another load to the Opp Shop. You can read about our downsize here.

All the things we got rid of were good things that we enjoyed. There was just too much. I feel the same about this last few months. There have been so many great experiences and opportunities, there has just been too much, and I need to learn how to edit my calendar or I’m going to burn out.

Too busy? Build a life of purpose, not busyness.

So, what am I going to do about it? That’s the big question! And the answer isn’t earth-shattering. I’m just going to try again, and have another go.

I’m changing my calendar blocking approach. Instead of having a template for the week, I’m going to have a simple perpetual list. I will custom plan each week as I go, working around the extra commitments in the plan. I don’t know if it will work. I’ll let you know in a few months time.

Intentionally planning in the things that really refresh and recreate me is really important. They don’t always happen by accident, and they are far too easy to skip when things get busy. Here’s some things I’m working on to make the next term more sustainable.

Murray and I have planned a couple of days at the beach. Being near the water is one of our favourite things. The sight, sound and smell of the ocean, the feel of sand under bare feet, the fresh air and sunshine. So good.

I’ve been doing some colouring in. I put cool music on the iPod dock and colour, letting my thoughts wander and the time tick by.

I’m going to say no. I know I need to, I just rarely do. I need to keep capacity for the important things in this season, work, family, health. As much as I love it, I won’t be studying next semester.

I’m going to take my days off. I’m going to build team and delegate more. I’m going to ask for help and share the load. I’m going to eat well and go to bed early. Eat breakfast every morning and read a chapter of a good book every night. Plan out my meals for the week and shop from the menu plan. Eat five cups of fresh veggies every day, not eat out more than once a week and always choose healthy options. Sleep eight hours every night, fast from Facebook every Friday and run 5kms every week. This term is going to be awesome!

Who am I kidding? All the good intentions just add to the pressure, and the self-care load becomes unbearable.

One Thing

In many of my pastoral care conversations I listen to people’s complicated circumstances. When it is all on the table at the same time it feels overwhelming. I often ask, “If you could change just one thing, which one would it be?” Then we talk through finding a solution for that one thing that will make the biggest difference. We work on just one thing at a time.

I’m going to do the same with myself, and just choose one thing. For the next month, I am going to eat breakfast every day. I’ve been grocery shopping, and I have some good quality, quick and easy options ready to go. I know it's not overly ambitious, but I can handle that. I’ll fix the rest of my life next month. 

I hope you have had a great first third of the year and you are on top of everything, especially your self-care routine. If you are a little worn out like me, what is the one thing you can start tomorrow to make a difference in the next term? Please share your one thing in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you’re going to do!