If you have never struggled with time management, you are not living a maximized life. For those of us who have to revisit our time management structure pretty often, it can become stressful to lay out all of the things you “have to do” and try to make them fit in the course of a day/week. If you add on the things you “want to do,” you can easily become depressed when you realize that “the have to’s” have left no room for “the want to’s” in your life. In fact, some “have to’s” take up so much room that other “have to’s” can’t fit either.
This internal struggle was once the basis of my entire life. I worked through all of my twenties and my early thirties without taking vacations. I thought I had too many “have to’s” to finish. Just being honest, I’ve had an on again-off again relationship with working out all of my adulthood. Why? I couldn’t seem to find the time to fit it in my schedule. I hate that it took me 38 yrs. to finally figure out that I can do all of the things I have to do and most of the things I want to do with the right understanding of what it means to live a balanced life. I think I’ve found the secret to overcoming the stress associated with never really being able to complete my “to do” list.
I’m a son, brother, husband, father, musician, preacher, mentor, writer, supervisor, etc. That’s just an abbreviated list of the several hats I wear. This year has been an amazing year of enjoying all of the hats. I’ve decided that I would share how I’ve been delivered from the “can’t do everything” mentality. The advice I want to give is the advice I’m currently taking.
Get Rid of the Seams
I used to live my life like a cafeteria tray. Every single aspect of my life was sectioned off. Then, I would try to figure out how I could give each section the exact same amount of time. There is no way anyone can successfully do that. I wholeheartedly agree with setting boundaries for your life and protecting your space. However, I also wholeheartedly believe that most of us have too many seams. A seam is a line where the edges of two pieces of wood, wallpaper, or another material touch each other. Most seams can be clearly seen and they indicate where one thing ends and the other begins. Those who successfully wear multiple hats are those who have fewer seams. I can minister to a hurting person while I’m at the beach with my family if the opportunity presents itself. That doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped being husband and father to be a minister. It means that ministry and family are seamless. To me, my family is ministry. So, we properly compartmentalize our lives by getting rid of so many seams. We get rid of the “seams” by changing how our responsibilities “seem”.
Overcome the Guilt Trap
One of the tactics that the enemy uses against us is our own guilt. We’ll feel too guilty to do anything recreational knowing that there are things we didn’t finish at work. We’ll be thinking about the things and/or people we left at home while we’re on business trips. Present and active parents even feel bad when we’ve worked all day and go to the gym when we get off. That time is taking time away from our spouses and children. The way I got over the guilt is to realize that some things are a lose/lose situation. It seems like you’re losing time with the ones you love. However, sacrificing the gym to be with the ones you love could ultimately prove detrimental to your health which could cause you to permanently lose time with the ones you love.
Do More Compound and Fewer Isolated Exercises
This one has a dual meaning. Isolated exercises work only one muscle group at a time. Compound exercises involve more than one muscle group. For actually exercising, working multiple muscle groups at once will cut down the amount of time you have to spend in the gym. The new-found extra time can be spent on something else. Transfer this same principle to other areas of your life. Here’s an example:
Your family can go grocery shopping together. Use that time to do compound exercises. Park a challenging distance away from the door of the store. The extra steps can serve as some exercise. Believe it or not, you can make that experience fun and use it as your necessary family time too. You can play I Spy while you shop. You can play “what’s the better deal?” with your children and use it as a time to get them to learn how to shop on a budget. As the husband, if you can cook, tell your wife that you’re cooking dinner and shop for the dinner food you need together. You’ve just exercised a little, played with your kids, taught them how to shop on a budget, communicated to your wife that you’re cooking for the family (especially for her) all at the same time. That’s a compound exercise. Don’t completely abandon isolated exercises. Date nights are important. Focused kid only time is important. However, the more compound exercises you can regularly do, the better.
Romel Gibson is a youth and college pastor, mentor, community leader, motivational speaker, musician, and songwriter living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He serves as a full- time Campus Life Director with Youth for Christ, one of the largest non-profit youth evangelism ministries in the world. As a songwriter, his most notable works include L. Spenser Smith and Testament (Greater, Surgery), Tonya Baker (Miracles), The Anointed Pace Sisters (Praise and Worship), Myron Butler (Changed), Marvin Sapp (Never), Ruben Studdard (Holding On To You Lord), and Johnny Gill (Black Box).Romel has been married for 12 years to his college best friend Quanedra. Together they have been blessed with three beautiful daughters; Allayna Pilar, Moriah Kelis, and Rylee Addison.