Time. That thing we love and want more of, and never seem to have enough. I’ve been reflecting a lot on busyness and how we tend to get sucked into do-do-doing so that we can eventually rest. I am the worst with always having to finish what I start, and in doing so have had so many times where I have run out of time and then reacted in stress and defensiveness as I push the kids aside and say “just give me one more minute!”
There was a time when I always had to have everything wrapped up in a pretty bow. I was a perfectionist with my work to the point that everything else came to a standstill while I finished every email, every project, and didn’t walk away. I would sacrifice my own well-being to the point of martyrdom to finish everything. But…two things happened.
I had children. There is this crazy phenomenon with kids. For some reason, they are clueless that there is anything else in the world that would be more important than they are, ever. And when they need that sippy cup that is up too high on the counter, they need it RIGHT NOW. And when they need you, there is no waiting around. I swear, my children can be so visually loud – even when they are “patiently waiting” their physical presence (and oftentimes obnoxious waving of hands or squeezing my arm) is just as loud as them yelling in my face. Even if I want to stay focused on whatever I’m working on, be it personal or work, when a child needs me, sometimes it simply can’t wait.
*Now, let me go ahead and say right now that when you work from home, it is critical to create some parameters around work time and have clear boundaries on what time is devoted to your family and what time is devoted to your work. But there are times those boundaries get hazy, and work takes too long or a child is legitimately needing something. When I’m alone with kids and I hear the 2-year-old in the bathroom with all kinds of clanking and flushing sounds going on, work has got to STOP and I have to investigate!
There will always be more to do. This was my big punch in the face lately. It doesn’t matter how much I want to wrap up my work in a pretty little bow, there will be more. When I’m cleaning my house, I may work and work to make it pristine, but it only takes 10 minutes (I counted) for a child to spill a full glass of fruit tea on the freshly mopped floor and me to explode a container of lentils in the microwave that had just been cleaned. We live in our homes. Our work is constantly growing and changing. Technology advances before our website is even created, much less where we want it to be…..which then changes with the next big thing.
So, I happened to actually look through one of those Costco magazines that comes in the mail, and the focus of this one was “Go with the Slow: Putting the brakes on our sped-up, filled-up lifestyles.” And I read something that really hit me.
Think about this. Unlike your cell phone, there are no roll-over minutes you can use the next month. I see parents who work themselves to the bone, so that, one day, they can take a vacation and be fully present. I see people who don’t even take their vacations just so they can work harder so they can retire.
And what happens then? You’ve lived your life for 20-40+ years with work as your top priority to muscle through (so you can live the life you want) – and by the time you get there, the kids are all gone and you have forgotten how to play.
You have your nest egg and no babies left in your nest.
Your time is precious. You can’t get it back. Yes, you need to put food on the table. But here in the States, I see this horrible phenomenon of our money cups never being full, and we spend our lives in a quest for the almighty dollar with this pipe dream of it allowing us to actually have the relationships we want.
Create the relationship now. Invest in it. Step away from the workload and allow yourself to be present in the moment.
The future is always ahead of us. And when you live your life planning only for what’s ahead, you lose the ability to really enjoy the present.
It’s nice to have life wrapped up in a pretty little bow. And like a bow, it will come undone. So don’t stockpile your time thinking it will allow for the rest and being in the present moment later. Know that you have to work it in all the time.
Be present daily.
Schedule your time so you get things done, but you have a walk away point.
Notice your family now, not simply on vacation. Create a “vacation hour” in your home with nothing but free time to visit – no agenda.
What is your purpose for money? Is it worth losing sight of the family you have around you, simply to make more money in hopes that you can one day spend time with that family? They won’t live on pause.
There are no roll-over minutes with time. Don’t hoard it or try to store it up.
How do you intentionally create those “vacation” type of moments every day?
How do you invest in your relationships at home?