“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” – John Maxwell
Think about that for a second... How much of your time today will be spent on things that will have absolutely no impact on your future or on eternity? Paying bills. Cleaning up a spill. Watching Hulu. The list goes on.
The sobering reality is that time is a currency we only get to spend once. We can never get it back, or earn more. It's just gone.
In light of an eternal perspective and the brevity of life, Paul reminds us to "Make the most of your time, because the days are evil". He precedes the thought by telling us to "give careful thought" to our lives, and follows the thought by admonishing us to "know what the Lord's will is".
Pause, and think about that - more importantly, think about what you would NOT do. The house can go to ______ (you can fill in the blank) , I'm spending time with my kids, right?!
Since our lives are the sum total of our habits, shaping them is the easiest way for us to ensure we are spending our lives meaningfully and on purpose.
Here's the reality though,
We don't break bad habits, we replace them.
In other words it's easier to take back your time by starting new habits than trying to "break" old ones.
I shared a couple of these habits I've started in my last Habit post here.
Here's a few more:
Exercising @ Home
I really enjoy running, I always have. It has been challenging for me over the last year to make this a consistent habit, and see the results I wanted. The problem was two-fold:
- I was significantly overweight so until I started shedding pounds, I could only work my way up to about 3 miles give our take. The problem is I couldn't start shedding pounds quickly until I started doing longer runs. So I found myself in a catch-22.
- With our season in life, it's just not easy to leave the house, and it took so long to put running clothes on (5 minutes) + stretch (5 minutes) + answer Abi's 7 questions about what I'm doing (2 minutes) + run (35 minutes) + stretch (5 minutes) + shower (15 minutes) = 72 minutes!!!
I switched to doing free Fitness Blender workouts on youtube and it's changed everything. Did I have to turn in my man-card when I started doing aerobics? Sure, but it was worth it...
On my best weeks running I'd work out 2 times. My first week working out at home, I worked out 6 times. Plus, the huge win is, since it's not pounding the same muscle groups over and over like running does, I'm able to do cardio for over an hour!
The other win is it affords no disruption to our family so I can spend more time holding this one:
One of the toughest transitions from single and married life to life with kids for me has been the reduced time/energy to read and study. I talked in my last post in this series about how I've switched to an audio bible on my rides to and from work.
We've also purchased an Audible subscription where we get 2 free titles a month. Shout out to Bae for making us splurge on this.
"It's fine," she said, "we'll just take it out of the kids college fund."
Do I retain as much as if I was reading vs. listening? Absolutely not! But I'm retaining a whole lot more than if I wasn't reading at all. My favorite part of this habit has been this: I can redeem lost time since I can listen and learn while doing something else. For instance, mowing the lawn is something I have to spend an hour of my life on that will mean nothing for people, nothing for eternity, and nothing for my family. But now I can take back that time with learning.
Pursuing my passions
There's never a great time to pursue your dreams, but at some point you just have to start.
For me that's writing. I wrote a book several years ago that I want to edit and publish, and I've wanted to begin blogging on a larger scale for some time now.
Here's how I've made this a daily habit:
One of the most effective ways to start great habits is tie them to an existing one. Whenever you bite your nails, meditate on a scripture! For me there's nothing in my life more sacred or consistent than my morning routine. Coffee. Jesus. Study. Dreaming. Anyway I worked in a 15 minute slot to work on my writing. I do anything from submitting articles, working on my website, content-editing my book, writing for my block, research etc. Its different every time and I put a hard stop at only 15 minutes - but its consistent.
How about you? What habits can you start today that will allow you to take back your time?