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Monday, September 21, 2015

Are You Time-Starved?

Recently, I was prompted to consider how I spend most of my time.  So, I broke down the hours in a week and arrived at the following approximation:

  • 56 hours -  Sleep + Night Time Routines 
  • 32 hours - Work outside the home
  • 24 hours - Parenting hands-on: homework, reading, crafts, play, family activities
  • 12 hours - Taxi service (wow, more than I realized!)
  • 12 hours - Household Tasks: Cleaning, meals, laundry, grocery shopping, animal care, etc.
  • 12 hours - Self Care: exercise, getting ready, reading, prayer, journaling
  • 6 hours - Church
  • 5 hours - Intentional Relationships: dates with hubby, one-on-one with a child, lunch w/ friend
  • 9 hours - Entertainment, Fun, Margin
  • Total 168
Obviously, I value my sleep!  And while I don't have a great passion for my daily office job, I'm grateful for the way it supports my other values.  I didn't realize how much time I spend in the car - that's a lot!  I was surprised at the 9 hours of margin, because it often feels like I don't have a minute of extra time in my days.  Also, I noticed some things were difficult to categorize because there is significant overlap.  For example, parenting often happens among the household tasks as we go through our daily rhythms.  

For the most part, I feel like my time reflects my values.  Removing sleep, I spend the majority of time investing in the lives of my family and building up our home.  This aligns with my main purpose for this season of my life.  The time listed above doesn't display the undercurrent of spirituality that weaves through each activity.  Still, I see some areas where I would like to make adjustments.

Time is such a valuable resource.  In a family where children move between two homes, it becomes even more important to make good use of our time together.  It means those hours spent taxi-ing little bodies to school and activities are valuable minutes to invest in their hearts.  For this reason, we have a standing "no devices in the car" rule with rare exceptions.  I have to be cautious not to make all our time task-oriented (chores/homework) and focus on fun and relationship-building, too.

Have you thought about the way you spend your time?  Making a list of priorities is different that living by priorities.  If you tally your weekly hours and compare them to your list of life values, how does it measure against your ideal?  Are there changes that need to be made?  

Please know that we all spend a great deal of time simply performing the functions of life: sleep, chores, earning income.  I do not mean to induce any kind of guilt for the way anyone chooses to spend their time.  I truly found value in identifying the way I spend my time.  I found greater worth in the mundane tasks of housekeeping and commutes when I realized they built up the value of contributing to my family.  If you tally up your hours and find it doesn't match your priorities, ask yourself: 
  1. Are you mistaken about your priorities?
  2. Do you have less control over your own schedule than you would like?
  3. How can I begin to shift my time to match my values?
Our time and and our bank account often reveal our true values.  If the reality doesn't match what we say or want to be true, then it's time to look for ways to make our goals line up with our actual life.  Take a little step today and share what you choose to do in order to take control.  I'd love to hear from you in the comments or on instagram.