It seems no one has enough time to accomplish everything they "ought" to do. Many clients fell to the wayside with their training programs and healthy eating patterns because they just didn't have enough time in their schedules. The truth of the matter is they didn't know how to set priorities on their time and stick to it. What boggled my mind was how they would quit, then come back and try something else, yet to quite again because of the "No Time" excuse. There is a secret to accomplishing some of what you want with a lot of what you need, if you are willing to be tenacious about it. I'm not talking about self-absorbed pursuits, I'm talking about putting everything in perspective so you are able to live a healthy lifestyle across all areas of your life, fulfilling Ephesians 2:10 "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year.
This is very unlikely to change. Only once in history did the sun stand still (Joshua 10:11-13). Burning the candle at both ends and lighting a wick in the middle will kill you eventually. Divide your time wisely like handling a budget. It is one of the most important things you can do to get a crazy schedule brought down to size. You do budget, don't you?
Learn how to prioritize the roles in your life to decide your what deserves your time.
When you understand you can only fill 7 relationship roles in your life at any one given time, you will begin to see why people burn out doing more. Draw a small circle and put "God" in the center of it. Then draw another circle around it and write "Me" in it. Then finish making your concentric circles with only 7 spaces. Now write down all the roles you fill in your life at this very moment. God and you are already set, meaning your relationship with God (not doing or going, but being) and your basic needs (i.e. personal care, eating, medical, exercise, sleep).Yes, your exercise and healthy eating are part of your YOU circle. Your ministry, in other words, how you tithe your time is a separate circle AFTER you and your family! Disagree if you wish, but you have been warned you will burn out and do irreparable damage to your relationship with your spouse and kids if you mix up your priorities. Always sort prayerfully with the Holy Spirit guiding you.
Good fences keep good boundaries with your neighbors.
The circles above should have gates to allow a bit of flow across those relationships. It won't take long for you to realize when someone else's priority circles are different than yours. They will try to get you to change yours to resemble theirs to get their way. Be flexible, not gullible. Decide carefully if and when you will allow a shift of priorities - temporarily. If you politely keep your boundaries set without snapping at violators, your neighbors will take notice.They may even start doing a bit of what is working so well for you!
Operate within your gifts, talents, and passion.
God designed you with unique qualities to minister for Him and to meet other people's needs. With that in mind, don't be that warm body filling a spot in a ministry slot doing something you dread or will fail miserably doing. If a slot is open and you are not the right person for the job, it is waiting for the right person to step up to the plate. It's not your responsibility unless God has specially gifted and talented you for that particular ministry. If you can't feature doing anything else than that ministry opportunity, then do it. Otherwise, find ministry areas where your gifts and talents will benefit people the most.
Use the 1 Major, 2 Minors rule.
Taxi moms, pastors' families, and work-a-holics, I'm especially talking to you. Everyone in the family should follow this rule. It means something that takes a lot of your time and energy is a major. For instance, leading music on your church's worship team is a major. So is being Sunday School or Bible study leader. Only accept one large role you believe God is calling you to do. For kids this would be a sports or academic team that meets about three days a week with other outside events. Minors would be something that still uses your gifts and talents, but it's not the main thing. For example, greeting people when they come into your church or hosting small group study in your home (NO! Don't lead it, too!). For kids, it might be a once a month activity like a fundraiser for their team or a monthly academic meeting. This does not include attending Sunday school and worship on Sunday, youth group, or attending Awana. Now look at those things on your family calendar with work and school, and along with exercise written in as an appointment with "Gym". Does this look better? It should help you breathe easier.
Use a labeling system for what is most important to what would be nice but the world won't end if they don't happen.
I use this system to keep from overloading with chronic illness because I never know what curves will come into my life.Write down what you need to do, then put a 1, 2, or 3 beside it. I found this system works well in a busy life, too:
#1- These have to happen no matter what!
#2- These are important to get done, but they can be put off for a little bit (no more than a day or two).
#3- These are the things which would make everything else nicer, but the world won't end because they never got done.
Be careful about letting too many items on your to-do list be #1s. The Relationship Role Circles will help you keep your list in check.
Now reading your bible and prayer have a top priority. God no longer gets the leftovers of your life. Exercise for 1 hour 3-5 days a week is no longer impossible. Also,having time to cook delicious, healthy meals, instead of tossing a freezer meal in the microwave, is reasonable. Trying to lose weight? Keep your food scale and measuring spoons handy with your Healthy Lifestyles journal as your prepare meals.You can spend time in conversations with your family along the way. In fact, involve them in meal prep!
It doesn't take rocket science to do these things, but it is very difficult at times because you will be operating counter-culture. Get everyone on board at your house. The rewards to your faith, health, relationships, work, and ministry are priceless!
May God bless you.
Spiritual Formation Course, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Boyce Bible School, Sylvania, Ohio. 1995.
Spiritual Formation Course, Winebrenner Theological Seminary, Findlay, Ohio. 1998.