How to count the hours so the hours count

"Out of clutter, find simplicity.

From discord, find harmony.

In the middle of difficulty, find opportunity.”

~ Albert Einstein

Life is not meant to be stagnant and unchanging. Even the good parts - the portions of a life we want to clutch tight and hold onto - they change without our permission and we have to recalibrate and find center yet again.

This means rescheduling. It means the things that worked in my life a year ago no longer apply to this day. It means my hourly schedule has to shift with the ebb and flow of a life that changes constantly.

And that generally means I can't keep up.

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I'm in the process of complaining and reevaluating right now, which is a step forward for me. For months I've had the one without the other, the problem without any solution. I've identified the issues and rolled them over at length. I've done all the letting go I can see fit to do and I've run hard to try to keep up, but I still find myself complaining the same complaints to the same poor people who have to listen to me.

You know what my complaints are. You have them, too, and you have answers you've tried and tricks you've traded for the complaints that continue to plague your mind. You can't manage your time. You can't stop the changes or change the stops, and your time is the same as everyone else's. This is what makes time management so universal and why it has it's own category at the bookstore.

Ruts

Everyone has to deal with time and time deals the same with everybody.

It's so easy for me to be nostalgic, which is really a form of snobbery if you think about it. Whether I'm looking back, dewy-eyed, at my life 10 years ago and the joy and ease of pre-schoolers and new readers and nature walks (can you say, "forgetful"), or looking back to people of a different time who obviously had a much simpler, and therefore easier, life, just the thought of looking back assumes that I am somehow at a more advanced place than I was 10 years ago, or than people were back then

When I look back, I'm tempted to minimize the struggles of before and maximize the difficulties of today. Today is just so urgent and important and relevant, and I think nostalgia clouds most of the realities of a past made up entirely of todays.

The true truth might be this: life is ever-changing but I, for the most part, am the same trouble-laden and burdened person I've always been, and therefore, trouble follows me unchangingly.

Times change, and schedules and seasons and duties. But for a person so in love with order and routine, changing me hasn't happened so swiftly. I change slower than I like and slower than I expect and less than I should. I change temporarily, and then a well-worn rut catches me and I coast along familiar lines for too long, too far.

Nostalgia can be self-indulgent. What I really need is to live today from a place of rest in the past, and a plan for the future.

"Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come."

Proverbs 31:25 ESV

Humility and Reality

So two things I know to do about this are 1.) keep giving the anxiety about the hours over to the One who created them, and 2.) number those hours aright.

I'm in the process of writing down the days in 1/2 hour increments, which might seem silly and exhausting, but it's the way for me to number my days and gain wisdom. Getting those 30 minute slots onto paper, evaluating the way I am spending them in light of how I should and want to be spending them, is an exercise in humility and reality - two needful things for time management.

I've changed the chore chart and my kids have my husband to thank for that. His wise counsel was you spend too much time on things the kids should be doing. I love that guy.

Next up is the Listing of the Half Hours in my bullet journal. This process will take awhile, because each day is different and much to my chagrin, I can't set too many things in stone. Flexibility, grace, reality, and humility will be the keys.

Ultimately, I hope to stop complaining about the hours and the way the minutes gang up on me. I hope to have a more realistic view of my time and all the good things prepared for me in the days I'm currently living, to make the hours count for something, to remind myself that I can stop for 15 minutes and redeem the crazy.

I'll probably keep you posted. In the meantime, Amy Lynn Andrews has a great ebook called Tell Your Time and it's on sale right now on Amazon. It's short and to the point, as a time management book should be.

(That's not even an affiliate link. I just happen to see that it was on sale this morning, and I've read it and appreciated it and thought I'd share it.)