3 SIMPLE TIME HACKS FOR PARENTS
Posted by Carey Nieuwhof
So you probably think you would be a much better parent if you had more hours in the day, don’t you?
Bummer that life doesn’t work that way. When you have another child, it’s not like someone shows up and magically hands you another 4 hours a day. Nope, now you have to manage 100% more kids (or 50% or 25% more kids) with exactly zero extra time. No wonder parenting feels hard.
To complicate things, time feels like it’s speeding up as your kids get older. Although some days feel like an eternity, as Sandra Stanley has often said, the days are long but the years are short. The kids will be in college or the workplace before you know it.
So what do you do? How do you handle the time pressures of parenting and life in the stage you’re in?
I’ve discovered a few things that really help me. I hope they can help you.
1. ABANDON BALANCE
If you’re like most people, you’re hoping for some kind of balance in your life. A better balance of work and home, of time for yourself and time with your family or even a few hobbies.
But you ever notice this? Greatness and balance never seem go together.
In fact, most truly great people aren’t balanced people. They’re passionate people.
Passion gets you further than balance. Imagine approaching everything you did in life with passion.
Throwing your heart into all you do can really make a difference. Even when you rest…rest well. When you’re home, be home. Passionately pursue your top priorities.
I think passion creates a far more compelling story than balance does.
As John Wesley famously said, “Light yourself on fire with passion, and people will come from miles around to watch you burn.”
2. DECIDE AHEAD OF TIME HOW YOU’LL SPEND YOUR TIME
So you want to have a date night with your spouse, but life keeps crowding it out. Ditto with family night. Family night way too often becomes homework night or clean-up-dinner-because-we’re-running-late night. Same with your devotion time. etc etc etc.
A simple fix is this: Decide ahead of time how you will spend your week. I did this years ago when I moved to a fixed calendar. Leadership puts a lot of demands on my time, and I realized I could easily work non-stop and miss the most important things in life.
So I started booking appointments with myself, my family, and my priorities. Every Friday night became date night. Every Saturday was family day. Every Sunday afternoon was family time to rest and relax. Every Monday was a writing day—with zero meetings. Etc etc.
The value in plotting this out ahead of time is simple: When someone asks you what you’re doing Saturday, you look at your calendar and tell them as much as you’d love to join them, you already have a commitment. You don’t need to tell them it’s with your family.
3. STOP SAYING YOU DON’T HAVE THE TIME
Your best friend asks you when you’re going to get that bathroom finished, and you instinctively reply “I just haven’t had the time for that yet.”
Your boss wants you to take an another project at work and you say, “I really don’t have the time for that.”
Well, that’s actually not true. You have exactly the same amount of time as every other person on planet earth. You have the same amount of time today as someone running a multi-million dollar company, as the President of the United States and as a researcher who just won the Nobel Prize. We all get 24 hours a day.
A few years ago, I made myself stop saying I didn’t have the time. Because the truth is, I did. Instead, I started saying (to myself) “I’m not going to make the time.”
That’s a massive shift in mindset, and you have to be careful not to say it out loud or you’ll lose all your friends. But when you admit to yourself that you’re not going to make the time for date night, that you’re not going to make the time to read a story to your five-year-old, or that you’re not going to make the time to exercise . . . it changes things.
So stop saying you don’t have the time. Start admitting to yourself that you’re just not making the time. Things will change.
These three time hacks—abandoning balance, deciding ahead of time how I’ll spend my time, and refusing to say I don’t have the time—have helped me spend my time far better than I used to.
Imagine spending the time God gives on the things you really should do. Now, you’re a little closer to knowing how.
About the Author:
Carey Nieuwhof is the lead pastor of Connexus Church and author of several books, including Parenting Beyond Your Capacity (with Reggie Joiner) and his latest book, "Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow." Carey speaks to church leaders around the world about leadership and parenting. He writes one of the most widely read church leadership blogs at www.CareyNieuwhof.com and hosts the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast where he interviews top leaders each week.
RESOLVING TO ENDURE
Posted by Tim Walker
I ran a 5k once.
Once is the operative word.
I might do it again some day when the faint smell of impending death finally leaves my nostrils. The race was fine, it was the runner who had a problem.
I had always wanted to do it and wondered if I could. So when I turned 40, a friend of mine said he would run it with me. His company put on an annual 5K as a fundraiser for a local charity, and he had done it before.
So with the promise of a running buddy, I signed up. We trained separately, but on race day, he promised he would stay with me the whole time. I figured that promise would fade away once we got out there and the lure of a finish line and a good time would win over running alongside dead weight.
I was wrong. My friend John stayed with me every step of the way. And I do mean step. Because I ran some, walked some. Prayed—a lot. And the entire time I thought “my lungs are going to explode,” “my legs feel like they are made of lead,” and “is this how I’m going to die?”
5K seems so much shorter on a piece of paper. After all, 5K is like a really small computer file size. But on this particular course, 5K felt like an endless loop.
But I endured, finished the race, and got a t-shirt. It really was all about the finish line and that t-shirt. I was proud of that t-shirt. Now five years later, and a few pounds heavier, I don’t ever wear that shirt. But I survived.
Some seasons of life are like that. They seem okay, then you step in and it’s so much more than you realized it would be. It’s hard. It’s painful. You just want it to stop. But you have to see it through to the end. You have to endure. And as a parent, those seasons are part of life.
Endurance is a word associated with triathletes, not families. In fact, some might even take issue with it being used in that context.
I can’t imagine a wife being happy with her husband responding to a moment of time spent together by saying, “I endured it.”
Or a parent being happy with a child enduring the words of wisdom they are trying to impart.
But parenting and families require endurance. There are sexier words, like commitment, for example. But commitment feels like something in our head at times. Endurance feels like something that requires something of us—physically, mentally, emotionally.
And family requires enduring those seasons. Like illness. Or hormones. Or new freedoms. Or bad choices.
The t-shirts for this race are poop or vomit stained, or years out of fashion.
But you endure. You keep going. Because the cost of stopping is too great. The relationship with your kids is too important. You have to see them through.
When they’re younger, you may be holding their hand through the “race.”
And as they get older, seeing them through may be simply cheering on the sidelines and praying fervently as they take step after step on their own.
And if you have more than one child, you get to walk through those seasons in a different way with each different child.
It all requires endurance. Staying the course. Never leaving.
Seeing it through to the end.
Sometimes that involves running, other times it’s walking, limping or even crawling.
Because the race was meant to be finished.
And to do that, sometimes you just have to resolve to endure.
About the Author:
Tim Walker is the lead editor for MarriedPeople.org, and also works on other projects for Orange. He has been married to his wife, Jennifer, over 20 years and has three sons, twin boys in high school and his oldest in college. He blogs at timswords.com and tweets @timswords.