I want to be someone that does life well. I want to be able to put my heart and soul into everything I do, and chase after everything God wants me to do.
This is easier said than done – naturally – but here are some of the practical things I’ve started to do to enable this to happen more. They are a selection of tips that work for me and I’m sure I’ll think up plenty more in the coming weeks and months.
Auditing my life
I’ve been saying ‘where did that day go?’ for far too long now without providing any answers.
So, I’ve started the process of trying to audit my week. It involves accounting for each hour of a day in a typical week, working out what I spend my time doing. I’ll find out what priority I give to God, sleeping, my job, my friends, my family, my hobbies and other stuff. I’m pretty sure I won’t like what I discover.
When I’ve done it, I’m going to share the results with a few close friends and ask them for their honest opinions. I’ll probably have to make a few strategic decisions and cut some stuff out of my life, but if it enables me to flourish and thrive in everything that I do, then it’ll be a sacrifice worth making.
Going to bed earlier
Apparently we’ve been sleeping less than we used to since the electric light bulb was invented. It makes sense, considering we can stay up as late as we want, regardless of whether or not the sun is giving us light.
However, this doesn’t always mean it’s the right thing to do.
Sometimes, I just need to go to bed and if it means appearing a little unsociable, that’s okay. The next morning, I never regret it. I need sufficient energy to thrive each day and if I’m going to bed late for no valid reason, I think I’m doing myself a disservice.
Learning to say no
There’s a myth permeating followers of Jesus that you’ll be a bad Christian if you say no to things. Whether it’s going to the evening service, signing up to be on a team or attending a fundraiser, we feel we ought to do things and don’t want to let people down.
However, being able to say no is one of the most liberating things I’ve experienced recently. It’s been painful and difficult because I’ve had to turn down offers and opportunities that I would have really enjoyed. I’m also a hopeless people pleaser.
But, I’ve known that I simply don’t have the time or energy to do these things well. Saying no – and risking disappointing people – is far better than committing and then bailing last minute when it all gets too much, or not doing a very good job because I’m too stressed.
Stopping using my iPhone quite so much
While it connects me to the people I love, navigates me to places I want to go and is a very useful tool, I use my iPhone too much for pointless things. Games and time-wasting apps are fine up until a point, but I never find myself thinking ‘I need to spend more time on my phone’.
Whenever I meet up with someone for a drink, I leave my phone in my pocket. If it vibrates, I ask the person I’m with if it’s okay for me to check it briefly. Friends first, phone second.
Embracing the positives
In the whole glass half-empty or half-full debate, I normally say I’m more concerned about why half of the water is missing, as opposed to what I want to label what is there. I’m prone to focusing on what I haven’t achieved or got and trying to make that happen.
While it’s really good to be ambitious, I’m trying to hold that in tension with an appreciation of what I do have.
I spend a lot of my spare time scriptwriting and, especially after an unproductive session, it’s really easy to get downhearted. However, I’ve started to focus on and be appreciative of the 20 minutes of writing I have done, rather than the two hours I inadvertently wasted playing 2048 – which you should never download, by the way, if you want a life.