On the Importance of time and priorities.

I read Girlfriends in God every morning (thanks to Lindsay for recommending it!!) and there were two recent passages that really struck home for me. (even if you are not a ‘religious’ type, these devotionals are so good and so right-on almost every single day. Worth a read, I promise!) They both have to do with time and this is a post I have been wanting to write for a couple of weeks, but alas, needed the time to put some thought into it, ironic, isn’t it? (I started this post on my last flight home – plenty of time!)

This passage is what really resonated with me, when it comes to time, priorities, and what’s really important:

We have either forgotten or failed to realize the truth that our minutes, hours and days are precious commodities — gifts from God that can be unwrapped only once…A busy life is not necessarily a productive life.

The author goes on to say that we should choose one day to plan the week (vs. me – who tries to plan, overplan, and plan some more – almost to my detriment, being overplanned and overthinking every plan I have made, throwing me into an OATTing tizzy. A tiring combination).

She also says ‘simplify and eliminate’ – this is something I have learned and keep trying to do more of this. It’s about prioritizing and more importantly, keeping some of that time FREE, not booked to the minute. M always jokes that I plan every minute of our time together. And he’s right. I tend to do that and then it’s just not as fun when I feel like we’re rushing around and not actually enjoying WHAT we planned to do. The picnic we had recently was a perfect example of a plan that was not planned. Something we did with no ‘end time’ in sight. Just for as long as we wanted. We laid in the grass, my head on his chest and just watched the clouds drift through the blue skies.

And finally, THIS is what truly says it all:

If we don’t set priorities — others will. Time thieves will steal our time as we allow them to impose their plans and standards on us. It is so easy to lose focus and scramble priorities.

As I just finished up what feels like a whirlwind 6 weeks of traveling (3 work trips in those 6 weeks!), kick-starting barre n9ne teaching, and a really hectic couple of months of work, I am taking a minute to hit the reset button. Summer is ALWAYS notoriously busy. And, with all fun things, for the most part. Lots of parties, cookouts, Maine, (maybe) the Cape, and more (fun) travel. But with a busy summer can also come that blur of where-did-summer-go and ‘did I even enjoy it as much as I possibly could?‘ feeling. Because, having a busy life, while GOOD, can also have a way of stealing joy out of those times. Just by nature of time, and lack thereof.  (at least for me)

And the final kicker that I NEED to really think about time and priorities? When it took THREE WEEKS to plan a sister dinner, and one that almost got canceled last night at the last minute (where we then realized that if we didn’t keep to our original plan, it was at least another two weeks until we could book our dinner again…for sisters that all live within 20-30 miles of each other? That is simply wrong.). And that sister dinner we had last night? One of the best nights we’ve had together, just us, in a very long time. A dinner we now vow to do on the first Tuesday of every month (hold us to it, ok?!).

So, this is me. Stopping. Thinking. Prioritizing. And keeping time open. Because sometimes, the best things happen when they are unplanned. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure the BEST things happen when they aren’t planned.

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36 thoughts on “On the Importance of time and priorities.

  1. Can I hug this post?? Seriously sis, couldn’t have said it better. AMEN on all counts. Especially that sister dinner last night – long, long, long overdue, sadly so. And it was the most fun. Where shall we go for the next one? 🙂

    1. The sister dinner made putting this post up and finishing writing it so timely (no pun intended). It just hit me in the face, sure time is limited ,but MAKE time. It’s always worth it. Re-prioritize. don’t be a slave to habits. Can’t wait for our next one 🙂

    1. Great minds, Tina 😉 Whenever I get super busy, I just want to take a break, STOP planning so much and just enjoy that day, minute, whatever. Life’s too short!

  2. “A busy life is not necessarily a productive life. ” This is so very very true. I absolutely love this post so much. I think we get so caught up in going, doing (blogging, tweeting, facebooking), working, that we let the truly important things slip to the side. A sister dinner is much more important than a run when you get down to it (as an example). It’s easy to become selfish with our time. I know I do this on the weekends. I want to just not have to drive an hour each direction and that’s awful. When I do it, I love it. And one day I’ll regret not doing it more.

    1. Isn’t it true? I thought the sister part would really resonate with you. And wow, the running example? SO true. Sometimes even that workout ahead of something else (seeing your sister) isn’t worth it. Quality time with loved ones? Always should trump. Sadly, for me, I know I would hesitate and want to fit the run in (as an example) first, and it’s something I want to reprioritize far more!

  3. I love that you’re learning this. It’s a beautiful thing we learn better as we get older. 😉

    Enjoy those unplanned moments… especially because babies will make you feel even more busy!! (See how I’ve already planned your babies for you! 😉 )

    You have to stop and take time, especially as a parent, to just look at your child’s face and appreciate it. Because it changes quickly. Time passes fast. Moments are the most precious of all.

    Great post. Can’t wait to enjoy a mindful weekend with you!

    1. Ya know? You’re right. I do think it’s something we learn as we get older. And I love the image of looking at your child’s face and just appreciating it. That’s beautiful. I can SO picture you doing that with your girls! And maybe envision it myself ONE day 😉 Can’t wait for our mindful weekend too!!

  4. LOVE this post. I have been trying this a lot lately. Just trying to be more spontaneous and having more non-planned fun. I get a little OCD sometimes and need everything just dead on. It is the unplanned things with no end time that can be the best.

    1. Oh friend, I have the OCD planning-itis too. Sometimes to a fault, a detriment! UNplanned is almost MORE fun almost every time, isn’t it? Let’s rebel!!

  5. Beautiful, thank you for sharing these passages and Girlfriends in God. So many truths to this post.

    If you don’t set priorities you are absolutely right that others will. I’ve also heard people say that multi-tasking is multiple ways of mucking things up.

    It’s important to have down time, your time, family time, but making whatever time it is yours. This is awesome!

    1. multi-tasking is multiple ways of mucking things up – wow, so true! And I am a queen multi-tasker. So I can see how that can happen WAY too often! Down time, friend time, family time, ME time – ALL get shortchanged when life gets ‘busy.’

  6. SO true, I can spend days when I’m running around and then it nearly becomes like I’m rushing to get things done and when this applies to social activities, I don’t like rushing. When I look back on fun nights I’ve had, a lot of them were just random unplanned ones. Whereas some of the nights out I’ve planned for weeks haven’t been as much fun.

    1. SO true Susan! Sometimes the most planned to a ‘T’ days aren’t even the most fun, are they? funny how that happens, isn’t it?

  7. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post and oddly it relates to my post today (which happens often with us!). I’m WAY too busy right now and having trouble enjoying just BEING…relaxing with my son and my family, laying on the couch doing nothing, etc. I need to schedule in some free time and de-clutter a lot of things from my life. Working on it…thanks for the gentle reminder. hehe

    1. So glad you can relate! It’s funny, I read your post and yours recently and thought you could relate too! I feel like a lot of people right now are running into this – try to do it all syndrome, or something. Me included, clearly. It is a reminder we all need sometimes I think!!

  8. I love the idea of just saying “this day every month” to hold yourself to your get together. I’m going to start doing that with our Girls Nights!

    …and I’m all over that graphic at the end.

    xoxo

    1. Yes, the XX day of the month idea I think will really work well!! And then you can pre-plan and put it on your calendar and then try NOT to plan stuff around it! I love that graphic too! XOXO

  9. Girlfriends in God. I have the app on my phone, and it’s awesome. 🙂 I haven’t read it in a while, but I remember loving what’s said.

    I had this post open last night, and I knew I’d have to read it not once, but twice to get it all. I hate when friends write deeper posts and I don’t take the time to really READ them.

    The best times in my life with the kids and Herrick have been when we either plan nothing or throw all plans out the door and spontaneously take off. A couple of weeks ago, we went four-wheeling in his H1, top off, through the mountains. Trail mix, water, and a camera…that’s all we took. It was PERFECT. Not planning allows time to let go. You don’t have the “gotta get back for this” sitting in the back of your mind stealing away the joy of being in the moment. We didn’t check the time until it’d been nearly 5 hours since we left. No emails, no calls, nothing but us. I loved watching the girls toss rocks into the river…watching Hannah’s hair blowing in the wind, and watching Herrick fish. It’s peaceful and full of love, just like your picnic. Priceless. YOU (the both of you) become top priority. Exactly how it should be.

    1. Oh I must get the app!! Sometimes I feel like I don’t ‘have time’ to read the whole email every day, how ironic is that? So I save them sometimes and read them when I really can read and absorb, not just fly through. This is one of those that I saved and re-read a few times! (agree re blogs that I really want to delve into too!). I LOVE your example! That is totally like my trip to the park with M. Just indescribably perfect in every single way. And completely unexpected!

  10. I love having open spaces on my calendar–especially on the weekends. There’s no such thing as being bored, as far as I’m concerned! There’s always something to do.

    That said, I do need to remember to make plans w/ my girlfriends once in a while! Very important!

    1. So true! No such thing as bored. I agree. I can always FIND something to do, so why plan every last second?! And yes, girl friend time is important!!

  11. This was a great read. (Hey, remember me? Lol.) I struggle with this so much that I often end up being stressed out instead of enjoying the day I planned so well. Funny, my boyfriend is the same way with overplanning every single detail. We definitely need to try to have more unplanned moments and vacations.

    1. HI FRIEND!! 🙂 I think it would be way harder if we were both overplanners! Thankfully M balances me that way, for the most part, even when I plan over him anyway 😉

  12. After a long break from the blog world, I have loved catching up on yours today. This post spoke to me the most. (I love it how you often offer me a new perspective and things to think about!) Well said and written my friend. This past month I have made a valid effort to take a step back from life and reprioritize. I am trying to figure out where I want to invest my time and myself. I am still working on it, but I am finding my groove in a few areas where I was feeling bogged down or lost. Thanks for sharing the ‘Girlfriends in God’ devotional. I will definitely check it out more 🙂

    PS. Loved reading about your running and blogging summit! Sounds like your summer is off to a great start!

    1. I am SO glad you took a break and hit the reset button and reprioritized. Sometimes it just REALLY is the answer, isn’t it? Definitely check out Girlfriends of God, if you are interested, there are some AMAZING messages EVERY day and I love them! And yes, summer is off to a raring start 🙂

  13. I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately too – I suddenly have SO MUCH on my plate, it’s hard to keep up and keep track. Time to simplify and let the important items outweigh the unimportant items!

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