Tuesday, May 27, 2008

T.I.M.E. Tricky. Important. My Master is watching. Eternal results.


It's the one thing that everybody has the same amount of. I've got just as much time as you do, and you have just as much as I do.

Free time.

Now there's where people differ.

I've been thinking a lot about time lately. Should I have free time? Should I always be busy? What are ways that I can be frugal with my time? How can I do two things at once? How can I get more done? How can I redeem my time, as Ephesians tells me to?

Here are a few random things that work for me:

~ I'm working towards rising earlier. This makes such a huge difference. Noon comes at the same time every day, whether I'm ready for it or not, and I can literally enlarge my morning by several hours, just by getting up earlier. Who doesn't want more hours in their morning? I've set my goal as 5:30am. I'm working my way backwards with setting my alarm clock; once my body adapts to waking at a certain time, I set the alarm back by 15 minutes or so.

This will also mean that I need to go to bed a little earlier (or a LOT earlier!) but I think it will be worth it. It's healthier, too. (This sounds really vain....but did you know you can actually improve your looks by sleeping the hours before midnight? Your face will look rosier, smoother, and just all-around better.)

I have tried getting up early before, but always slipped back into old habits after a week or so. Early this year, however, something changed. I've been slipping out to our living room early every morning to read my Bible and pray. I stay awake better out there than reading in my bed. And there's something so special about having that precious hour all for Him. When I have it to look forward to, it's so much easier to get out of bed in the morning.

~ I have a simple routine. I don't just get up and drift for three hours. I try to always get hopping and get things done. I'm still learning this one.

~ I try to do two things at once. ...Now, my mother and older sister are great about doing this when it comes to household matters. They can have a load of laundry running, be washing a load of dishes, and have something in the oven to bake all at the same time.

My mind spins when I try to do that, but I figure I've got to learn, so I'll keep trying.

But I CAN do other things simultaneously. Take reading and crocheting, for instance; prop the book open with a pair of scissors, set it on your lap, push the yarn out of the way, and work and read. ...Or sewing and watching a movie. That works too. ...Or praying while washing the dishes. I love the dish pan. Such an awful lot goes through my head there! (Maybe that's why I can't remember to put a load of laundry in while I'm washing dishes?)

Or making two dishes at once. I can do that.

Or clean a room while reading. (Okay, so this doesn't work so well.)

Or, if you really don't mind being stared at...when you go to the YMCA to walk on a treadmill, take a book to read, and prop it open on the machine, wear headphones to listen to music, and take your latest knitting project to keep your hands busy!

~ If you're a "crafty" person, like me, always have some kind of handwork to occupy your fingers when you're sitting down. (Or walking - stick a ball of yarn in a light bag, sling that over your shoulder, and knit away!)

~ Computer Time. Okay, this can be a biggy. Computers are wonderful tools, but don't let them run your time. I, too, need to work on this. There are always blogs I want to read, things I want to research, emails I want to reply to....and that's just on the Internet.

It helps that there's eight people in our family, and only one computer with Internet access. I couldn't be on all day, even if I wanted to be. And Dad has also set time limits for how long we can be on in one day. That's good too.

When I know I'm only suppose to be on the computer for one hour, it keeps me hopping, to get what I need to do done. I know I don't have to time to just browse.

Speaking of which, I have six minutes left, so I'm going to take off for now.

But, in closing, I'd like to suggest that each of you sit down and list all the activities you do in an average day. Look at them, pray about them, and see how many really need to fill your time. Then take the things that you know you need to do, and compact them as much as you can.

And when you get those "extra" three hours? Don't fill them with time-wasters. Figure out what jobs the Lord has for you to do ...that you didn't have time for before. Now you can do them!


Anna said...

Wow. That will really get one thinking...least it did me. Thanks for sharing that. I know there are many area's I need to work on and how I spend my time is one.

Oh, thats so sad about those bugs on your peas and tomatoes. :) But it WAS funny reading how you wrote it! :) I wonder if snow peas are the same as sugar snap peas--the kind we have. You eat the pod and all, too. This is the first year we've planted them and they taste really good! The Lord is blessing them, we are getting lots!

Anonymous said...

Just the other day I was thinking about that story ... take a glass jar and fill it with large stones. Looks full? Add small stones. Looks full? Add sand. That will go into all the cracks. Looks full? And water.

There's always time in our life for the important (big stones) things, the top priority things.

But if we fill our day, our time with the small things (sand) we won't have time for the important things (quiet time over the Word).

How important to keep our priorities straight and to be redeeming the time!

Just a thought I've enjoyed!

in Christ,
Amy in NY

Amber said...

Oh Amy, I love that example too! I think about it quite often when I am considering time. It's so true.
And Anna, I think sugar snap peas and snow peas are very similar, if not the same thing. They are delicious!!!! Do you steam yours? I think that's the best way to eat them...except for raw, that is (when there aren't any aphids on them!). Do you pray about your garden? We do.
P.S. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about the aphids. I had tongue-in-cheek as I wrote it. I find it funny, ...now that they're dead, that is. :)