“If your life is a constant blur of activity, focus, and obligation, you are likely to miss critical breakthroughs because you won’t have the benefit of pacing and negative space. What’s not there will impact your life as much or more than what is.”
–Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative
I do not have power sheets to offer (love those!), an innovative planner to present (though I want to create this one day), or a webinar to teach you about goal-setting (though I’ve attended at least two of those in the last year).
What I do have is time management for your soul.
Most time saving tips focus on your schedule and we need those. But that’s not why you come here.
My self-appointed job in this space is to help you create space for your soul to breathe so that you can discern your next right thing in love.
These tips might not show up on your calendar but they could help on the more invisible level of your soul.
When we are overwhelmed, it’s easy to become distracted and stuck in false starts. It’s the fast-track to decision fatigue and I want to help get you out of it.
It’s counter-intuitive, but what I often need most when I’m in a rush is to slow down. It helps me think better, discern better, and gently take just one next right step instead of tripping over twenty.
Allow me to help you slow for a few moments so that you can pay attention to what’s happening beneath the surface.
This will inform your decisions and in turn, eventually, your schedule as well.
Choose Your Absence
I’m all about being a person of presence. But we can’t be present to everything all the time.
One way to learn to cultivate presence might sound at first, counter intuitive. It’s actually by your absence.
Not your absence from people or responsibility, but absence from the things that are keeping you from your people and your responsibilities.
One thing you could choose your absence from is anything that comes your way disguised as “a great opportunity.”
For many of us the beginning of the year can be a time when we all get high on hope, searching the horizon for what might be next.
Living attentive and paying attention is one of my favorite ways to live, but I’ve discovered if I do it in the wrong order by going outward before I move inward, then I may add to the stress and distraction in my life in ways I never intended to do.
“The biggest deception of our digital age may be the lie that says we can be omni-competent, omni-informed, and omni-present. We must choose our absence, our inability, and our ignorance–and choose wisely.”
–Kevin DeYoung, Crazy Busy
Ignore With Intention
If your schedule is already so full that you’re having a hard time even making simple decisions, you probably already recognize the fact that there are a lot of things in your schedule that fall under the column of things you can’t control.
But can we agree that your Instagram feed and your phone notifications are not included in that column?
I mention this because in my season of life right now, the anxiety triggers that cause the most frustration come mostly from a screen either a computer screen like something I read in my email inbox, or on a blog or on Facebook, a TV screen, something I see on the news, or a phone screen like instagram, voxer, or a text message.
For those of us who work online for example like I do, turning off the computer or phone completely isn’t always an option. But there are simple and practical ways to cut down on the low-grade anxiety that is showing up in your feeds and follows.
“The first step to crafting the life you want is getting rid of everything you don’t.”
– Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist
Find a No Mentor
What do you do when your schedule is full and you have things waiting in the wings? How do you decide your yeses from your nos? Sometimes you can make a list and other times you can sleep on it.
But some decisions you’re too close to and can’t see the better from the best. That’s why you need a No Mentor, someone who will help you say your strong no so that you can be more available for your brave and intentional yeses.
My sister is the original No Mentor (she even coined the phrase for us) and she is a profesh. This doesn’t mean you have to get her to be your No Mentor, though. You can find someone in your own life to do that for you. And eventually, you can learn to be your own.
“May you be blessed with good friends, and learn to be a good friend to yourself, journeying to that place in your soul where there is love, warmth, and feeling. May this change you.”
— John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us
Embrace Your Limits
There’s something uniquely discouraging about finally knowing what you want to do and where you feel most called only to run into a roadblock. Often these roadblocks present themselves as some kind of limitation – fatigue, heartbreak, time, money, or support.
Instead of fighting those, perhaps your next right thing is to embrace them instead. Because our limits tell us important things about ourselves.
They help us draw lines for margin.
They pave the way for vulnerability.
They show us what we aren’t able to do and that can be just as important as what we are able to do.
If you feel discouraged by your own particular brand of limitation, listen in to Episode 22 of The Next Right Thing or read the transcript here for a hopeful reminder of what’s good about your inability to do it all.
These tips may sound simple, but they may take a lifetime to implement. Ask me how I know.
Be gentle with yourself today. Let’s learn to move forward together, on purpose, with love.