Some days it feels like we are running from one thing to another, just hoping to catch our breath. We need more time.
My life is always busy. Right now, I work 24 hours a week, I am in grad school again, and am looking for ways to empower and encourage people to live the lives they were created for… oh, and I have 3 teens and a wonderful husband, and got the taxes done last night. 🙂
Sometimes, I am tempted to force more energy in order to get more things accomplished. If this was healthy, that would be great – unfortunately, my modes of gaining energy usually look like:
- Eating. The anxiety part my brain seems convinced that if I eat a bit more, I will have more energy. When we stop to think, our body has to shut down in order to process the food – but in the moment of stress, grabbing a quick gob of calories seems helpful.
- Activating the fight or flight response system. Our bodies are amazing. If we stress ourselves out enough, we will activate the fight or flight response system, which pumps adrenaline and endorphins into the bloodstream to give us that added boost. However, what goes up must come down. This is why after a stressful time period our immune system is damaged, and our body suddenly shuts down from the nearest virus – we aren’t designed to live on adrenaline.
- Use other people’s emergency response systems. You might recognize this as being emotive. What happens if you freak out? Other people will often come to the rescue and help. They won’t like you very much, but they will help. Burning out your friends and family is not a good way to deal with stress and add time to your life.
There is a better way!
We can live in peace – getting things done when they need to be done and not stressing out our bodies, friends and family.
1. Trust. There is a surety that comes when you truly believe that God is in charge of the universe (and everyday life). When you have that surety, you can work through the day with a relaxed attitude and confidence that what needs to get done will get done. Trust also means that you take time off and rest (Sabbath). If God is in charge of the universe, life will not stop happening if you take the day off. This also means that I will eat better, eating less and exercising seem counter-intuitive to gaining energy, but within reason, it works. How can I take time to be that person when my list is so long? Trust.
2. Plan. What is on your calendar will get done. If something needs to get bumped due to an emergency, move it to a new spot on the calendar. Plan ahead and schedule everything that must be done in your week. Do you have a dream that will require time and energy? Create time in your calendar. One of my favorite tools is Timetrade. Timetrade forces me to plan my days ahead so that my google calendar is current, and it helps me block out times for coaching clients and social activities. Last, it saves me hours of “do you have time on Tuesday? What about Wednesday” because I have a link I can send people so they can put themselves on my calendar.
This morning I was listening to Platform University with Michael Hyatt, and was reminded again of the importance of planning ahead instead of letting life happen to us. When you think about it, how do emergency response people keep calm under duress? They plan ahead. They know what they need to do, and they maintain focus. They discipline their adrenal response system to funnel extra energy into the project instead of overloading their system.
3. Focus. This is an area I work on. My natural way to focus is to add background noise. If I need to be creative, I abolish noise or use Coffitivity to drown out local distractions. For most other activity, I need something in the background that sops up my ADHD energy so that I can focus on the task at hand. This means that I have to plan to focus. Honestly, this has always been an area of discipline for me. I have to plan to focus, because it doesn’t come easy. (Just writing this paragraph I interrupted myself to check facebook, email, eat an orange. Then when I started back up, an email popped up and I was off on a rabbit trail again.) Some days I think it is a miracle I get things done. One way I cope without getting too frustrated, or resorting to detrimental behaviors as mentioned above, is to plan for randomness before 10am, and heavy focus from 2-4pm.
Most of us live in a stressful environment with plenty of demands on our time and energy. The way through is to plan, focus and trust.
Psalm 46:8-10 might help:
Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
Bans war from pole to pole,
breaks all the weapons across his knee.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
How do you manage your time and responsibilities without freaking out?