(Picture: Cliff via Creative Commons)
Time. We seem to have so little of it, don’t we? It seems to pass us by so quickly. We just never have enough of it, always rushing from one part of life to the next. “I’m just too busy” or “I’m so busy right now” are two of the most often-used phrases in our culture.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had more time? If we had a time travelling DeLorean like the one in “Back to the Future”, it would be so much easier.
I’ve been finding myself thinking this recently. With so many new developments in my life, time seems to be more and more at a premium. I felt myself getting more and more tired, time getting more and more squeezed.
Sadly, however, time travelling DeLoreans doesn’t exist. So I’m left with managing the time I have.
I knew very quickly what I needed to do. I needed to stop for a day. To sit and start managing my life. To look at the time I actually had and start being intentional with it, to maximise it so my priorities were taken care of – including rest.
Funny thing was, when I sat down to manage my life, to look at the time I actually had, and wrote it out in numbers, I realised I had more time than I thought.
Much more time.
I had hours more than I had anticipated. Even including work, and good rest, I still had far more time to achieve what I wanted than I ever thought before.
But of course, I had no more real time. I had just seen how much time I’d wasted. How unintentional I’d been.
And how this lack of intentionality had cost me.
When we hear the phrase, ‘be intentional’, it’s often taken as code for meticulously planning every single second. Having another worry – that of worrying you’re keeping to your plan. And the assumption is only certain types of people have the capability to do this. Special people. Wise people. Gifted people.
Anyone but us.
However, being intentional doesn’t mean we have to meticulously plan every second of every day. (you can tweet that here)
It can be as simple as coming up with some core values, making a list of everything which is important to you – including having fun, sleeping, relaxing with friends or loved ones – and then writing a rough outline of a work day and a weekend day which fits into that.
You don’t have to allocate specific days for specific tasks or people – it’s simply a matter of ensuring that each week or on a regular basis you are making time for each thing. That you’re spending quality time with your partner, that you’re seeing friends and family regularly, that, in my case, you get daily time to write and read. And that you have regular time to go out and have fun, to watch a movie, go out for a drink or a meal, or whatever else.
At the beginning of each week you can look and see how that’s going to work over that week, and make a rough plan – but always be flexible.
You see, being intentional is something we can all do, and it doesn’t have to be a worry. It actually can highlight what’s truly important to us, what we care about, and what’s not so important – and it means we can be more intentional about spending time on those things.
For me, it means I can be more intentional about my writing and reading, and my relationships. It allows me to plan in a film night at home and not feel guilty about watching it, and above all, it frees me to have a proper sabbath – a day where I don’t do what I do the rest of the week.
A day I don’t write, don’t reply to e-mails and don’t really engage on social media. Where I can relax, unwind and have fun without feeling guilty.
I’m looking forward to being more intentional about my life. I suspect it will allow me to find more balance, more focus and more energy, and I will find I’ll become more productive. I think it would do the same for you too.
Why not give it a go?
Do you often feel like you don’t have enough time?
Do you seem to get overwhelmed by circumstances?
Have you ever thought about trying to be intentional with your time?
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