Change of Hours

Have you ever taken an objective look at your working hours? That’s what I did recently. I’ve done it before… long ago, but only to lament that my time was so disorganized and I wasn’t working efficiently.

But I took an objective look at my working hours again. This time not to see how they were spent, but to see how many of my waking hours were spent working. Do you know how any of my waking hours were spent in some form of work? All of them. I should clarify that – All of my waking hours were spent either working or thinking about the work that I should be doing. Laundry, dishes, menu planning and meal prep, errands, lesson planning, teaching, cleaning or getting the kids to clean their areas… You’d think I would have actually gotten more done!

So when I realized that every hour of my day was penciled in with some form of work, I decided to make a change. Professionals leave the office, right? And, assuming a healthy relationship with one’s occupation, at some point they finish the day’s work and move on to other things.

Except a stay-at-home mom doesn’t leave the “office,” because she is always on the clock. Well, not this momma. I changed my hours! I didn’t instigate hard hours, because life just isn’t that accommodating, but I promised myself that at some point each day, I would take my break. Not a lunch break, because the littles need to eat, but a kids-are-sleeping-sit-on-the-couch break. Some days it’s in the morning before they wake up, other days it’s in the evening after they go to bed. But every day, I take at least a little bit of time to check “nothing” off my to-do list.

Something counterintuitive happens when you intentionally stop working for a period of time. At least in my house, would you believe I actually get more done? How does that work?

For one thing, with a designated time for rest, I wasn’t tempted to rest so frequently during my working hours. Also, knowing that my working hours had a cut-off meant I work more diligently to get my work done in less time. Besides that, getting more done meant I cut myself some slack, not spending the entire day telling myself that I should be getting more done. Being nicer to myself, coupled with actually seeing some progress, was less of an emotional draw and actually gave me more emotional energy to focus on *tada* getting work done! Beautiful psychology, isn’t it?

Is it time for you to take an objective look at how you’re spending your day?

I’ll add here that this may or may not be the most “efficient” way to get things done… goodness knows I’m NO expert at efficient housekeeping! But I do find that a shift in perspective, even if it’s from A to B and back to A, is very refreshing. So whether or not his will work as a long term strategy remains to be seen. But if it works for now, and I get further than I have in the past, why not stick to it for as long as it lasts?

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Welcome, Wife!

Let me start out with full disclosure:

This is a page born out of frustration. I just got off the phone with another friend who says her marriage is ending. And it frustrates me because I see the hurt that led to the decision. I’m frustrated because she was once so in love with the Lord and her husband and life, but is now so caught up in her trials that her love has stagnated. And I’m frustrated because she is not the only  one. 

Some time ago, I had asked a pastor friend about how to respond to situations like this. He advised that it takes two to work on a marriage, so if you’re out for lunch with one, just help the one. Marital problems can take a toll on our spiritual condition, but I believe (and have  seen) a woman can be spiritually healthy in the midst of turmoil.

So here we are. Are you healthy? As healthy as you want to be? As you know you can be? If not, you might not know where to start.

Let’s start here: find a woman that you have at least three things in common with and commit to pray for her. 

Maybe she has the same kind of kids as you, or the same number, or the same age. Maybe she’s in the same line of work as you or her husband the same as yours. Maybe she has the same name as you, or the same birthday, or the same home town. Maybe she’s also a homeschool momma or lactose intolerant, or whatever, the list goes on. 

Get creative, but get connected. And tell her. Then ask her to reciprocate. “We have a lot in common and I’d like to commit to pray for you. Would you also commit to pray for me?” And when your strong-willed child is acting up, pray for her and her strong-willed child. When there’s a threat at school, pray for her kids as well as yours. When your husband complains about your dinner, pray for her cooking skills. When you’re facing layoffs or up for promotion at work, pray for her career. When you face a challenge that you know she is also likely to face, pray for her.

Then touch base from time to time. Don’t be offended if she forgot she was supposed to be praying for you. Praying for her is your reward, as well as the growth in your own spiritual life. My prayer for you is that you will find yourself growing stronger, healthier as you commit to pray for others, and that your marriage and home will be healthier as a result.