If you’re feeling overscheduled, overworked or overwrought, this message is for you. Being busy might seem like a way of life in our American culture, but we can learn how to be busy with the right things!
On a recent phone call with my mentor, Holly, I asked if she thought I was busier than most people.
She surprised me with her answer:
“Yes, I think you are. I think you really are. But there isn’t a whole lot you can do about that right now,” she said. “You’re busy, but you’re busy with the right things.”
Holly knows the ins and outs of my weekly schedule more than many. A family manager coach by trade, she’s helped me a ton in the area of time management. She’s familiar with my life as a wife, mom to three, business owner, and writer.
Still, I didn’t know how to take her answer.
I cringe to think I’ve gotten the reputation of being busy. But it’s true. Many people even preface their interactions with me like this: “I know you’re so busy.”
I don’t want to give off the air that I don’t have time for anyone else, but, in all reality, I don’t have the margin in my life to pour into every single person in the world.
And neither do you.
As I look over the past few years, I can see where I struggled to say “yes” without thinking, and I avoiding saying “no” at all costs.
Recently, though, that has flip flopped.
I say “no” a lot more liberally, but in order to say “yes” to the very best things–those areas where God is truly calling me–the margin in my life for many events, activities, and relationships have become limited.
I’ve had to get extremely intentional with my time. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
In fact, I think we could all use a little more forethought into how and where and with whom we spend our time.
As an ENFP personality type, I struggle with people pleasing. I want to help everyone all the time.
But I simply can’t.
If I were to give all of myself to everyone who asks for it, there would be nothing left for my family and those who matter most.
There would be no time to rest, recharge, and, most importantly, reconnect with God.
The truth is, when you’re feeling maxed out, it’s hard to live intentionally and set aside time for the Lord.
But how do we balance it all?
How can I juggle being a wife, mom, part-time homeschooling mom, church member, business owner/blogger, and writer?
How can you better balance your busyness as well?
Here are some ways I’ve learned to be busy with the right things over the past year:
If you are a mom, this can start with delegating chores to your little ones!
I didn’t grow up with chores, and I am ashamed when I look back at the load my mother carried.
We recently implemented a new chore system with our three girls–ages 3, 5, and 7–and we are shouting about it from the rooftops because–hallelujah–it works!
In addition, we hired a mother’s helper a few months ago. Megan is a young college student from our church, and having her help me around the house has been a game changer.
You might be surprised how affordable it can be to hire a young girl to come help in your home. I was a mother’s helper for a stay-at-home mom when I was just 11 years old. It helped out the mom, but I also learned a lot about homemaking and motherhood from getting to spend time in her home!
Behind the scenes, I also have a whole team of people (5 of the 6 are pictured here!) as well as contributing writers who help me run my business.
2. “Run” errands online.
I rarely shop. In fact, I rarely run many errands.
I do as much as I can online.
(When I do shop for food, it’s at ALDI. There, I can get in and out super quickly, and I am not plagued with decision fatigue because there is only one brand of everything.)
But I truly do the rest of my shopping online.
We also pay all of our bills online and do online banking. We can do this on our computers or via a mobile app with our phones.
My husband and I have been banking with online for years. Our banks, as do most, also has a mobile app, and from what I’ve read and understand, their banking options are also incredibly convenient for today’s busy families! Their mobile app allows you to pay bills, deposit checks, find ATMs, and transfer money between accounts in just seconds.
3. Let things go.
I recently walked away from a secondary business I co-created.
Fourteen months ago, we left a church where we had been members for five years and joined a church closer to our home.
Last year, I deleted hundreds of “friends” on Facebook, and I also left hundreds of Facebook groups–many of them blogging groups–that sucked my time away.
Instead of participating in online groups with thousands of members, I’m mainly sticking to the ones that are smaller and more intimate in nature–those that can foster more depth in friendship.
Instead of participating in online Bible studies, I’m finally in the season of life where I an invest in relationships via a weekly, in-person Bible study with the women’s group at my church.
When it comes to relationships, in particular, I’m choosing many real life interactions over online ones (although I do love my online friends!).
4. Say “Yes” to Where God Has Called You
When God calls us to new things, we often have to walk away from the old.
I recently announced that I just signed a book deal. There were things I had to let go in order to say “yes” to God’s calling me to write.
What is God calling you to say “yes” to?
Two phenomenal books I read on answering God’s “best yes” and “breaking busy” in 2015 (they both made my favorite books list!) were:
Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington
The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
If you’re struggling with being busy, I highly recommend these reads.
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
Haha. I’m pretty sure I’ve started an email or two to you with a preface about you being busy… I didn’t mean it in a negative sense, just trying to express the fact that I recognize your time is limited and valuable. 😉
I am constantly needing to reassess where my time should be spent, and am in a season in which I do need to say no more often just to get our first year of homeschool completed well , and because we are about ten weeks out from bringing a new baby home. I always appreciate your insight into time management because it’s not one of my strengths at all. I am more of a go-with-the-flow type and am learning more and more each year that structure, goals, and schedules are important in managing a family, home, school, and blog.
Oh no worries, Lisa! And I thank you for respecting my time!! You are never a bother, ever!! I hope it didn’t come across like that!
I am naturally like you too–very go-with-the-flow…but I started to realize that I needed to be more intentional, and it’s helped so much! Can’t wait to see pics of the new baby!!! <3
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
Don’t worry. It didn’t. Just made me chuckle because I’ve done that. 🙂
“Busy with the right things.” This is what I want. This year I’ve intentionally choosen to limit my time on social media and clean my house less -focusing on what truly matters.
I’m glad you feel the same, Aimee! Social media is such a huge temptation in today’s culture–at least it is for me!
Love your cute girls. It is ok to be busy if you are doing the right things with your time. There is a balance you have to strike between being busy and being lazy.
Thank you, Keelie! We had SO much fun with your family and can’t wait to do it again! <3
I love this! I have been saying “no” a WHOLE lot more than I used to. Ever since reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, I have run each potential commitment by my personal priorities and core competencies. If it doesn’t line up with them, then I say no with no guilt!
I really want to read that book!! Thanks for mentioning it!
How do you find contributing writers? I have been thinking of becoming a contributed to someone’s blog so that I can get a feel for the blog life. I KNOW I would like to have my own blog, and did at one point, but since my son was born (14 months old) I just panic when I think of jumping back into my blog by myself.
Hi Beth, you can email [email protected] if you would like to submit a guest post pitch!
Love these tips! I’m often know for being “so busy” as well. But honestly, I don’t FEEL that busy. Yes, I have a lot going on, and I do a bunch of different things, but I also make sure I have time and space for things that really fill me up. And some of the things I am busy with are truly life-giving, which is wonderful.
I think the idea of cutting out unnecessary FB groups, etc, is something I need to work on! I’ve been considering doing a major cut back on the amount of time I spend on social media so that I can give more to my “real life” relationships. Thanks for the tips!
Cutting out the FB groups was a HUGE game changer for me!