Some people love to be busy, sometimes even crazy busy; they thrive on it. I am not one of those people; I look forward to being retired. Personally, I need to be productive every day, but I also need to rest every day. Rest includes sleep, but it is not limited to that. I also consider reading, watching a movie, or walking restful. My favorite form of rest is sitting on my couch with a delicious tea, staring outside at my garden, watching the birds and just letting my mind wander. The difficult part is to find a balance between rest and… everything else.
If I am going to endure a busy season, I need to have a good reason.
I don’t thrive on being busy, but there are seasons in life when it is unavoidable or seemingly unavoidable, if you are not willing to sacrifice your priorities. I am currently in one of those seasons of life, and the priorities I have chosen are very specific and important for maintaining my identity and sanity. If I took away any one of these priorities, it would have a negative impact on the other priorities; they are interdependent. Until I find equilibrium between my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual self, I cannot function at full capacity.
In an effort to live life on purpose, I am choosing to prioritize the following:
§ Work full time - Without working full time, I can’t pay my bills. It sucks, but it’s my reality right now until I can finish more education to open up other options.
§ Take classes online part time – I am setting and achieving goals and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment: temporary sacrifice for a long term benefit.
§ Get one hour of activity at least 5 days per week – I would like to have a body that I am proud of and avoid the negative effects of long term inactivity, which is a real and present danger for those of us with static office jobs. I find that increasing my activity increases my energy.
§ Spend at least 30 minutes in spiritual connection and reflection daily – Without this I feel easily overwhelmed and defeated, giving up on myself at the slightest opposition.
§ Keep a clean house – For me to achieve a restful state, I need a clean and peaceful environment. If I don’t have this, burn out is inevitable.
§ Cook a meal 3 evenings per week (this is hard for me because I hate cooking) - Healthy home-cooked food is necessary to give me clean energy and get me through a long day of work, school, and exercise. Bonus: I have noticed a reduction in headaches during the week.
§ Give a portion of my time and finances to a person/people that have less than I do - Where would I be without the people that took the time to love and support me through the tough times in my life? And who would I be if I didn’t do the same for others? This is something that I am passionate about. On the same topic, I found this quote on a blog I enjoyed reading. “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” - Mandy Hale
§ Take time to invest in relationships with family and friends – Unfortunately, I have less time for family and friends than I used to, but I am trying to focus on improving the quality to maximize the time that I do have. “Happiness is only real when shared.” – Christopher McCandless
All this makes for a tight schedule with little wiggle room for whimsy. However, for the first time in my life all my dials are turned up full throttle and I find it scary and empowering at the same time.
“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau
Reality check: I just need to clarify that I have only been doing this for the last two weeks, so the sustainability is still something to be seen. I don’t want anyone to think that I have achieved some magical state where I never drop the ball. In fact, just this week, I re-started my side business of knitting and selling scarves. I am well aware that I can’t prioritize the necessary time to this venture without the other areas of my life suffering, but I just couldn’t resist! Fall, my favorite season is starting, and I really enjoy being a part of the festivities. As a side note, selling scarves gives me an opportunity to apply what I am learning in my Technical Communication course to my advertising strategy.
So, no, I am not there yet, but I feel like I have a taken a big step forward by being intentional. I am pleasantly surprised that writing this blog has also helped me implement the things that I have been thinking about for months. Please feel free to leave a comment: What is your favorite form of rest? How busy is your schedule right now? Have you found the right balance in your life? What are the priorities in your life that you can’t be successful without?