How to Clear Your Busy Schedule and Be More Present
Let’s face it. We are living in a world that never slows down. Everything around us demands our time and attention. Relationships, work, health, chores, extra-curricular activities, and the list goes on. You know it’s bad when you literally need to schedule rest into your daily to-do’s in order to actually have time to slow down. It’s no wonder we find ourselves at a breaking point when our time has been consumed by the “less important” things in life. It’s impossible to be fully present in what is important when we have said “Yes” to way too much. I’m here to tell you, that you are not alone. This is my life! I am constantly needing to re-evaluate where I am spending my time and why I am not being present.
How to Clear Your Busy Schedule and Be More Present.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have found myself completely unmotivated. You see, I am a HUGE planner. I love to perform. I love to feel productive. I love to end each day knowing I did more than enough. I believe this drive was God-given, however, I also know it can become unhealthy when not exercised properly.
So when I found myself in an argument with my husband over eating out too much and how it will affect our finances, I had no one to blame but myself. My lack of meal planning and execution left my family making decisions based off of hunger, which is never a good idea. I repeat, never. suddenly, spending $50 on dinner didn’t sound so bad…neither did $15 here and there on disgusting over-processed fast food.
Why wasn’t I going to the grocery store? Honestly, grocery shopping is not a chore I like, as a matter of fact, I hate it’s stinkin’ guts. But, it still needs to get done. I have a tendency to say “yes” to all sorts of fun little distractions, only to find myself “too busy” to do a simple task that puts my family in a healthy place.
This isn’t just something that happens with things we dislike doing. We eventually allow this habit to distract us from what is important; the things we have dubbed as part of our purpose. At the end of the day, the same things that kept me from going grocery shopping, also kept me from writing, from listening to my podcasts that help me develop, from giving myself time to rest, from not getting important blood work done, etc. After determining what the cause of my lack of presence was, these are the 3 steps I needed to take to be present:
#1 | Determine what truly matters
Everything starts with this. Before you determine the things that you SHOULD be focusing on, it’s impossible to understand what needs to be cut out of (or put back in) to your life.
In the beginning of 2018 I chose Purpose as my word for the year. I sat down and asked myself a few simple things that truly revealed what I should be focusing on this year. Here are the 3 things I determined.
- I am a follower of Christ and my relationship with Him comes first.
- I am a wife and mother and my relationship with my family comes second.
- I am a woman who inspires, loves, and leads other women.
I created a worksheet to help you clear your schedule and be more present, and it only takes you about 10 minutes! If you would like to receive it, sign up below!
#2 | Re-prioritize your schedule
List it. Now that you have determined what truly matters, you can begin to re-prioritize your schedule. The easiest way to do this, is to list out everything you do during the week. Take time with this so you can be detailed and specific. Try not to forget things like taking the kids to school, making dinner, going grocery shopping, doing the dishes, laundry, serving at church, coffee with friends, small groups, your children’s extra-curricular activies, etc.
Scratch it. Once you have done this, start at the top of your list and read out each individual item. If the item doesn’t fit into your top priorities that you determined, scratch it out. Be mindful when doing this. There are some things you may want to scratch out that actually fit into your priorities. For me, it was grocery shopping, but that goes into one of my “wife and mommy” priorities. (Still open to ideas on how to get out of this.)
Scratch some more. If you haven’t done this by now, start thinking of things that you do simply out of guilt or because you feel like you “have to” due to a commitment you couldn’t say no to or thought would be beneficial but isn’t. This part isn’t easy. It’s hard to let go of the things you feel you “should do.” At the end of the day, if it isn’t truly benefiting your top priorities, or worse, taking away from them, it’s time to scratch ’em.
Add it. This part is fun. once you have scratched everything and begin to see your white space grow, you can start thinking about things to add to your schedule that actually benefit your top priorities. It may be doing a devotional each morning, exercising a few times a week, listening to a podcast that specializes in one of your priorities, going to a coffee shop to read or write, date nights with your spouse, etc.
The most important thing to do in this area is to be realistic. Don’t add in more than you know you can take. start small. Remember, you can re-evaluate these things as often as you need to. This is YOUR life.
#3 | Be present in the process
First off, congratulations on narrowing down your schedule so you can start focusing on what truly matters and begin to be present. Second, now that you have your new schedule, it’s time to start the hard part, living it out.
Some of the things on your list are things that get you really excited, and some of the things on your list are going to be hard. Enjoy the exciting things, make sure they happen. When you do the hard things, celebrate it and know that it is sharpening and refining you.
Remember that each week may present things that you have to say “no” to, simply because they don’t fit into your priorities. There will also be a lot of things you get to say “Yes” to. Enjoy it. Be present in everything you do and every step you take. You got this!