Restacking Life

“Sorry I haven’t _______, but I’ve been so busy lately.”

Surely we have all spoken these words at one time, perhaps on a regular basis. As advanced a society we claim to be with all kinds of technology available to help us “save time” or “organize our lives”, we seem to grow deeper and deeper into time debt. I realize this because I have been apologizing like this for weeks now, blaming holidays, conference planning, and all sorts of things that seem to expand to fill my free time. Or do they?

There’s an exercise I’ve been thinking about doing, but I’m afraid to do it because I’m afraid of what I might find. For one entire week, break out your schedule in 15 minute blocks. Now keep track of what you do for every single one of those blocks, including sleeping time. In order for this to work you have to be brutally honest with yourself. If you spent an hour working while watching TV, you’d probably be more honest to say you were watching TV.

My hypothesis is that I would find that if I accounted for all the time during the week that I was doing something unproductive, I would be shocked at the volume of it all. A few minutes ago as I contemplated writing this blog post, I got sucked into an email that tempted me to visit one of my favorite retail websites. Goodbye 5 minutes of productivity.

I stumbled on a quote this morning from a CEO of a well-known company who said that a good work-life balance is possible for nearly everyone, you simply need to have the will to be present for both. Isn’t that so true? The truth is I often view my off-work hours as “me” time, where I zone out of everything else and do what I want to do. The trouble is that “me” time often takes up a disproportionate amount of time. With today’s technology it is common to sit down in front of the TV and watch hours of recorded content on your DVR or streamed through Hulu or Netflix. You can sit with your family at the dinner table and answer text messages or email, or buy a new book on Amazon. We are enabled, encouraged to multitask, though it is virtually proven that our brains aren’t wired to function at their best in that mode.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, largely because I lack the discipline to follow through for more than a few weeks on them. So I’m not making any resolutions this year. I am simply making DECISIONS, decisions to be more productive even when I don’t feel like it. Decisions to resist the urge to try to multitask, especially when members of my family crave my attention. Decisions to put the work of the Lord ahead of my desires to relax or be distracted.

Frankly, I don’t have a lot of hope in succeeding if you look at my track record. That’s why I’m asking for your prayers, that I may succeed by the grace of God alone. I want people to look at my life and say “How can a lazy guy like him accomplish so much?” to which I will point to the sky, to my strength, to Jesus.

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