Sunday, November 6, 2011

Unloaded Lives are Powerful: Restoring a Margin of Sanity (Part II)

Are you frazzled, going from one commitment to another, continually in a rush, never fully processing one important event before the next one comes? If so, it is time to build a margin of sanity around your life! Judging from how many of you read my post Overloaded Lives are Powerless Lives, this topic has struck a cord. Last week I shared about the syndrome of overload; today I share some of what we can do about it. This comes from Dr Richard Swenson's book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives.

Here are some practical things we can begin to do today to recover the gift of time.
  • Expect the Unexpected. "Everything takes longer than it does," says a proverb in Ecuador. Build in some extra time each day to handle the unexpected.
  • Learn to Say No. And I would add, and "to feel good about it," for this is frequently a step toward greater health. Say No and move on, feeling good about your choice. But, beware. "Saying No is not an excuse for selfishness, rudeness or insensitivity. Instead, it is an invitation to listen carefully to the Spirit's voice, adhering closely to a system of wise priorities that inform our Yes and our No."
  • Turn off the TV! For the average adult, saying no to the TV will open up "twenty to thirty hours a week... Americans watch close to a billion hours of television every day. What did we do with this time before television was invented? Is it possible we lingered at the dinner table, helped the kids with homework, visited with the neighbors, dug in the garden, read great books, took long walks, and slept full nights?"
  • Prune the Activity Branches. Less can be more when it comes to cluttered schedules! And beware of directing your kids into over-scheduled lives by signing them up for everything under the sun. Is there something you can cut out from your weekly schedule that will open up another night to get to know your family again?
  • Practice Simplicity and Contentment. Less focus, energy, and time spent on things means more time for meaningful pursuits and relationships. Stop here a moment and reflect on what you're most focused on, what takes up your time and energy? There's much room for positive change here!
  • Separate Time from Technology. "Time-saving technologies... consume compress, and devour time. All the countries with the most time-saving technologies are the most stressed-out... Try disconnecting from clocks, watches, alarms, beepers, telephones, and e-mail for a day, a weekend or a week... Don't answer the telephone. Stop giving people the number to your cell phone and instead use it to make calls rather than receive calls." Remember the man in Mali, West Africa who said to Dr Swenson, "You Americans have all the watches, but we have all the time."
  • Short-Term Flurry Versus Long-Term Vision. What are we living for? Do we have a sense of direction and a vision for our lives? Have we sought God's vision for us? This is critical!
  • Thank God. Perhaps God orchestrated two events for you in one night so that you can comfortably say No to the one you're not thrilled about. Rather than fretting over it, thank God!
Enjoy Nature today; it's free!

    These are just a few things we can start doing to regain some sanity in our schedules. I will share a few more later this week. Until then, I hope you're becoming more committed to protecting the precious gift of time and using it wisely. You and your loved ones will be glad you did!

    Be free!
    Dr Mari

    Visit Overloaded Lives are Powerless Lives: It's Time for a Change! for Part I and More Ways to Unload Your Life for Part III of this series based on Dr Richard Swenson's book, Margin.

    1 comment:

    1. "Learn to Say No. And I would add, and "to feel good about it," for this is frequently a step toward greater health. Say No and move on, feeling good about your choice." That's a great thought. Although I've gotten much better at saying no, feeling at peace afterward is still a work in comes down to not worrying about what others think of us or our decisions. Being mindful that my peace comes through the Lord--not the world--is a significant help.


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