Freedom Friday: Make The Time

I want to use today’s post to check in about your focus roles and priorities for 2012.

I will share at the end of this post how some of my 2012 goals are progressing. How about you?

As I’ve reflected on past goals I’ve achieved, I’ve been asking myself: why? Why did some goals get ignored? Why were others achieved?

One goal I made back in 2005 was to take a ballet class. I had always wanted to take ballet as a child. I did take some jazz & modern dance, as well as theater dance (tap & jazz) in college. But I just always wanted to see what a ballet class was like.

This was a goal in 2004 as well. I did not achieve it that year. Why? I did not make time for it. Carving out time in an evening when you are a campus missionary and a leader of a non-profit is not easy! But in 2005, I decided it was a priority, and after years of hoping to do this, I made the time. It was a fantastic and affirming experience.

In the book Getting Things Done (one of the books I’m reading this year), author David Allen says “you don’t manage priorities; you have them.”

Those things that are priorities for us, we will make time for.

If you’re a football fan, I bet you had no trouble fitting the past play-off games and this Sunday’s Superbowl into your schedule! If you love to eat, you don’t have any challenges fitting in 3 meals a day, or finding the time to get to your favorite restaurant.

I never really committed to running until two things happened. First, I learned the major exhaustion I was experiencing (that was likely due to something called “adrenal fatigue”) could be greatly helped by regular, vigorous exercise. Second, I needed to maintain a 50 pound weight loss that I had worked hard to achieve.

I made the time for running because I needed to.

My fatigue issues have improved by about 90%. I barely notice it anymore, above and beyond the normal fatigue of a mom whose kids don’t sleep through the night! It is now normal for me to get up at 5 or earlier (today, I was up at 4:36) to meet folks for a run or go solo. I have found I need less sleep when I run regularly. I also not only maintained my weight loss and lost 10 more pounds.

I made the time for running because I decided it was important for me to do so.

“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.” Psalm 39:4

Here are some tips on how to make the time you need to achieve your goals.

1. Analyze your current use of time. We all have the same number of hours in the day. All those hours have the same 60 minutes. God calls us to be good stewards of the time He gives us. Try carrying around a notebook for a day. Note what time you get up, and what you do for each 15 minute increment from that point on. Yes, that sounds a bit anal, but just try it. I remember how eye-opening it was when my husband & I started using a virtual envelope system, and I realized how much money we were spending in certain categories. 15 minutes 3 times a day on Facebook is 45 minutes. This exercise will likely be quite enlightening.

2. Prioritize your free time. What did the exercise above show you about your free time? I read recently that most Americans have 3-5 hours of free time a day. It likely doesn’t feel that way to you! Ask yourself from the exercise above: how much time do you spend putzing? On Facebook? Twitter? Your smart phone? Watching TV? Is there forced down time (like your commute) that could be used to accomplish your goals? Some examples of my forced down time is when I’m getting my kids to sleep or hanging out with them on the couch. I can write on my laptop or read a book while they watch a movie. We do not need to schedule every minute. That said, I know I feel better emotionally when I have stopped myself from getting drawn into a black hole of time wasted.

3. Create more time. Get up earlier. Go to bed earlier. Say no to things that you don’t have to say yes to and would rather not be doing. Be careful not to overbook yourself or your kids.

Here’s the status of some of my 2012 goals.
1. Keep my iPhone inbox below 50 emails (that’s 50 total for 5 email addresses).
Check. I have been able to do this every day, including when I was out of town and only had internet access on my phone.

2. Cut out food dyes, corn syrup, dairy & wheat, as well as most pre-packaged, processed foods. Cut down on grains.
Making slow progress here. I brought the boys a treat from my trip: green apple gummy bears! Definitely not food-dye free! I’m doing more cooking and baking grain-free.

3. Run 100 miles per month through the winter. Consider what other races I should do.
4. Run a half marathon at a :30/mile faster pace than my 1st half marathon, which I ran with a 10:08 pace.
I did 120.54 miles in January. Looking into some races. I also ran 13.46 miles (slightly longer than a half marathon) at a 9:19 pace, which is faster than my goal for my next half marathon.

7. Create a 4 week meal plan every month and follow it.

9. Continue daily Bible reading. 2 days a week, get up at running time to read the Bible, pray, journal & be silent.

12. Read & finish 25-30 books in 2012. That’s just over 2 books a month. This includes books I’ve started and not yet finished.
2 books done in January. Check.

I only commented on the goals that I made significant progress on. You can go to my original post to see the ones I’m still working on.

What do you need to make the time for today? What can you make the time for right now, in the next 5 minutes? What is draining time from your day?

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