Making Room for What Matters | Use Your Schedule to Your Advantage

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleepTuesday, we talked about why you should take a break every 90 minutesWednesday, we looked at what electronics can do to our margin. Thursday we looked at what will probably be the most controversial or at least, the one you think is unattainable: Pay people to do what you hate and yesterday we looked at one of the most important things to making room for what matters most: Live the life you want, not the one others want you to live

As we wrap up this series today, I want to share something that we often don’t think about when it comes to our lives and schedules and it is crucial to finding breathing room and making room in life for what matters most. It’s this: Use your schedule to your advantage. 

Every job, career, has a schedule and a rhythm. If you have kids in school, you know this. If you are in school, you know this. No matter what you do, no matter what stage of life you are in, there is a schedule and a rhythm. There are times that are busy and times that are slow. You have days that are more stressful and hectic and tiring than others.

Use them to your advantage instead of letting them use you. 

Simple right?

Here’s what I mean.

For my rhythm as a pastor, the fall and spring are the busiest times of the year. The slowest times? From Christmas Eve until the first week of January and the middle of June to the middle of July. Because of this, I strategically take breaks then. During my week, Tuesday and Wednesday are my most stressful and intense days so I don’t plan much on those evenings.

I am also blessed with being able to make my own schedule so I can work on my sermon, plan meetings when I want.

Maybe you work in the evening and have the days free. How can you be more strategic with those days?

Can you make your own schedule and decide to take a break for your kids during the day? Some people can.

Can you start work earlier to get done earlier? Some people can. Most people can’t (not because their company won’t let them but because they haven’t asked).

When is your slow time? When is the busiest time of the year for you?

Plan accordingly.

The problem for most Americans is we never think about this. We simply roll from one day to the next, one season to the next without ever catching our breath.

When I begin preaching in January, I know it is a long time until summer. That’s okay because I took some downtime over the holidays.

It’s the same in the fall.

Sit down and look at your calendar for the year. If you don’t know when you are busiest, look back and see what you did and how it went. If you are a teacher, you know when it slow down. Use that to live the life you want to live.

Don’t let your schedule dictate your life.

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Making Room for What Matters | Live the Life You Want

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleepTuesday, we talked about why you should take a break every 90 minutes. Wednesday, we looked at what electronics can do to our margin. Yesterday we looked at what will probably be the most controversial or at least, the one you think is unattainable: Pay people to do what you hate

Today is the second last one, but also one of the most important things to making room for what matters most: Live the life you want, not the one others want you to live. 

This came up in the first week of our Breathing Room series and it is a game changer for me.

Too many people live the life others want them to live, make choices others expect them to make and miss life. They leave their dreams on the table and live a life they don’t want to live.

How sad.

This can be seen in the jobs people take, the houses they live in, the sports and activities their kids do, even the people they have as friends or marry.

Think for a minute, what is it that you want to accomplish with your one and only life?

What things if you don’t do will you regret? Travel? Writing a book? Retiring early? Taking up a hobby? Starting a ministry or company?

What is keeping you from those things?

Fear stands in the way of many. What will people think about it?

So far, we have done 2 things that friends and family thought were crazy. We were told by friends and family members that planting a church was not a smart career move because of the percentage that don’t survive. We were told that adopting would bankrupt and set us back financially.

Yet, if we didn’t do those two things, we would live with regret and always wonder, “What if?”

Living with regret is not living.

Make a commitment today, not to live with regret. Live with passion and abandon.

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Making Room for What Matters | Pay People to do What You Hate

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleepTuesday, we talked about why you should take a break every 90 minutesYesterday, we looked at what electronics can do to our margin. Today I want to look at what will probably be the most controversial or at least, the one you think is unattainable.

Pay people to do what you hate. 

When I first came across this idea in Randy Frazee’s book Making Room for Life: Trading Chaotic Lifestyles for Connected RelationshipsI thought, “that’s what wealthy people do.”

Hear me out though.

Think about the things you hate to do: laundry, yard work, cleaning your house, or something else. What if you paid someone else to do it?

Unattainable? Maybe right now. Wasteful? No way.

The reason I reacted like I did when I first read this was because we had just planted Revolution church. We had 2 kids with 1 on the way. We lived on $2,000 a month and our rent was half that.

Slowly, we have begun to work some of this into our budget.

Why do this? The goal of life is to enjoy it and use it for God’s glory. Not be miserable or wasteful.

You already do some of this, you maybe haven’t been as strategic about it. Every time you eat out or go to Starbucks, you are paying someone to do something you don’t want to do. So before you tell me you don’t do this, you do. Most of the time, we don’t have a reason for it, we just do it in that moment.

Here’s something our family did, this past year as our family expanded to 5 we learned how much water costs and how much laundry we do. So, we saved up and bought the biggest washer and dryer on the market. The ones that save energy and water. Consequently, we do less laundry because the loads are bigger.

Now, could that money go to something else? Yes, but we chose it to save Katie time on laundry so she could do other things.

Don’t miss this about time: You get 24 hours. That’s it. 

Every minute you spend doing something is one minute you don’t spend on something else.

It takes a long time to clean your house? Pay someone else to do it so you can be freed up to do something else.

Now, should everyone do this?

No.

I know someone who has 1 child, the wife doesn’t work and they pay someone to clean. Not to save time but because all their friends do that.

You must be careful about motivation on this.

Some people love yard work and find it relaxing. Others hate it. Yet, it has to be done for all of us.

This might be an area to cut back on.

The point is this: is there something you do that keeps you from experiencing life that you can give away or pay someone to do?

Consider doing that.

Here’s the pushback I get: If you have that extra money, you should give it away and be more generous. 

Here’s my response, “I am as generous as I feel God has called me to be. On top of that, if I can be generous to my wife and kids, why wouldn’t I do that? It is stingy to be generous to everyone but my family.”

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Making Room for What Matters | Cut Back on Electronics

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleepYesterday, we talked about why you should take a break every 90 minutes

Today I want to talk about one of the main things that keeps us from having breathing room and enjoying life: electronics. 

I’m not going to tell you that electronics are bad or evil, because they don’t have to be. But, they do need to be controlled in your life.

Why?

They waste time and sap life out of us.

There are also studies being done about how our brains are struggling to handle all the screen time we are getting.

How often have you checked your email, facebook or twitter only to get angry, jealous or frustrated?

Then why do you keep doing it?

Why do you distract yourself at night when you can connect with your kids or spouse? Let’s be honest for a minute, for many people, electronics are an escape from life. At that point, it becomes a sin. It is a way to not deal with something or someone. It is a way to get lost, to escape, it becomes a fantasy.

If you are like me, you need to cut back on electronics. Over the weekend, I don’t check my email. I spend very little time on social media on the weekend and at night. During work hours, I block Facebook on my computer so it doesn’t distract me.

When Katie and I have date nights, we have a strict no electronics policy.

One thing we’ve started to do is to put the Do Not Disturb feature on our phones after 9pm. That means no texts or alerts on our phones. Often, I’ll still pick up my phone to see if I have any alerts and remember, “Oh yeah, nothing will come through.”

Try it sometime.

Tonight, this weekend, your next vacation, sign off of social media and email.

The reason we don’t has to do with fear. Fear we will miss something. Fear that we will discover we aren’t as important as we think. And pride. Pride about how many likes and RT’s our posts get.

So, what are you waiting for?

Tomorrow we’ll look at the most controversial or at least, the one thing you will think is unattainable, yet can make an enormous impact on how much you enjoy life.

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Making Room for What Matters | Take Strategic Breaks in Your Day

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleep

The second one: Take a break every 90 minutes. 

I came across this idea in the book The Power of Full EngagementThe point the authors tried to make is that 90 minutes is the length that your body and brain can handle anything. Once you go past 90 minutes, you are less engaged, less alert and ultimately, less useful at whatever you are doing.

So, take a break every 90 minutes.

Immediately, you are thinking, I can’t do that.

You already do this. You scroll through social media, go to the bathroom, stand and talk to someone at work. The amount of time we waste in our day is unbelievable.

The problem is: we aren’t proactive about taking breaks well. We don’t plan them.

Does this always work? Not always.

Here are some ways to do this:

  1. Plan your day and think through when you’ll take breaks.
  2. Don’t lead a meeting longer than 90 minutes.
  3. Check your email at lunch and before you leave work. This one thing will make an enormous impact.
  4. If you sit at a desk, get up and walk around every 90 minutes. We do this with our kids during homeschooling as well (they run around our culdesac every 90 minutes).

Tomorrow we’ll look at how to create margin when it comes to electronics.

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Making Room for What Matters | Sleep

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one: Get a good night sleep. 

This might seem like a silly way to start. Everyone knows how important sleep is. We know how we feel in the afternoon if we don’t get a good night sleep. If you have kids, you know that you are a better parent when you get good sleep. You are a better student, boss, employee when you get a good night of sleep. You are more creative, lively and all around, more enjoyable when you get a good night sleep.

Yet, how often do you find yourself laying on the couch watching TV when you should be laying in bed? How often do you find yourself staring at a computer screen checking email, scrolling through Facebook when you should be in bed?

More than you want to admit?

Then you need better sleep.

What is fascinating to me in the Bible is how a day starts at night. When God creates things, when he establishes the Sabbath, talks about time, he starts at night. He starts at sleep.

What if you had the mindset that your day started when you went to sleep instead of when you get up?

It changes how you think about things. Talking about starting your day off right starts at 10pm.

Why 10pm?

That’s when your body begins to shut down.

When people talk about a second wind, they get that around 9:30-10pm. If you don’t go to bed then, you will struggle to fall asleep.

Don’t believe me?

Stay up past 10 tonight and see if it is hard to fall asleep. Go to bed by 10 tomorrow night and see how it goes.

Sleep matters. 

So, how do you get a good night sleep?

It isn’t taking sleeping pills (unless your doctor thinks you should, but even then it probably isn’t a good idea). Here are 5 things to do to get a restful night of sleep:

  1. Sleep in a dark room.
  2. Turn off the ringer on your phone.
  3. Don’t look at electronics before going to bed.
  4. Don’t eat after 8.
  5. Set your alarm to get up at the same time each day.

There are more things you can do, but this is a good start.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how to create margin in your day by staying alert and awake.

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Balance is a Pipedream

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As the holidays get closer, schedules get busier. There are parties to attend, pageants to go to, rehearsals for Christmas shows, tree lightings, decorations to buy and hang, presents to buy and wrap, food to prepare and all the while, still keeping up with everything else you do.

December 26th will roll around and most people will want to fall over in a heap of exhaustion, but there’s no time. We have to return clothes that don’t fit, clothes that are ugly, buy things that are on sale and get Christmas cards and decorations for next year because they are on sale for 80% off.

Over the next several weeks, people will quietly vent about all that they are doing and will do to friends and family, they will make resolutions in January about slowing down, eating better, working less, checking Facebook and email less, and signing their kids up for less activities. Only to find in February that they can’t wait for summer to hit so they can take a week off and sit around.

But we all know how summer goes.

In these conversations about pace, tiredness, doing too much, working too much, sleeping too little, an interesting work and concept comes up.

Balance.

Whenever someone says they are tired or doing too much, a friend with good intentions will respond, “You need to get balance in your life.” We talk about work life balance. Balancing schedules, checkbooks, planners, and activities.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, balance is a pipedream.

The next time someone tells you that you need to have more balance in your life, ask him or her what that means or looks like. You’ll get blank stares.

No one seems to know.

Yet, everyone is going for it.

Here’s a better way to think about life, work, kids, money, sleep, food and anything else you try to get balance in.

Every time you say yes to something you say no to something else.

Think about it like this. Whenever you say yes to staying up too late watching TV and eating ice cream you say no to a good night sleep, more sleep and a trimmer waist line.

Whenever you say yes to sign your child up for everyone team and activity you can throw at them, you say no to a sustainable pace, family dinners and overall health.

Whenever you say yes to work late you may say yes to a promotion and more money, but you also say no to family time, relaxing, time with friends and unwinding with a good book.

When you say yes to going into debt, you say no to peace in your life and bank account.

When you say yes to that extra piece of pie over the holidays, you say no to health.

Remember, balance is a pipe dream.

Are all these examples wrong? Not at all. You should eat some good dessert over the holidays. You should sign your kids up for fun things. You should buy nice things you can afford and bless others with nice presents. All of those are great things.

Take a minute though and remember last December, last January and February. What did you feel? Exhaustion, a longing for a break and rest that never came.

Now, the question isn’t should I do these things, it is more about, and what do you want to say yes to and say no to. Because, every time you say yes to something, you say no to something else. Every time.

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