Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Time Tale

One day a woman Tessa attended a motivational seminar for work. One of the exercises asked her to list the things that mattered most to her. For Tessa this was easy. She quickly jotted a few things down. At the top of her list were: God, family, health and her writing. She felt proud as she put her pen down. "I know what is truly important," she thought to herself.

Next the facilitator asked her to think about how much time and attention she gave to the items her list.

Of course God was important, but she hadn't attended church in ages or even cracked open her Bible since she didn't know when. She meant to carve out prayer time in the morning, but how could she get up any earlier? Her days were packed and at night she was just too tired.

Surely she'd fare better with family. "Did time spent shuttling the kids back and forth count?" someone asked jokingly. He said only if it was quality time. If everyone was listening to iPods, texting and talking on phones then it didn't count.

This cut the time Tessa spent with the kids in half. She didn't even want to think about how much quality time she spend with the hubs. Date night was a nice concept, but that was about it.

Now, she cringed as she thought about exercising (which she rarely did) and eating right (a Snickers for lunch might satisfy but it's not actually healthy).

Writing was something she always planned to do when there was time, and there never was time.
Now Tessa was discouraged. She had a full-time job. She had kids to raise. She had other obligations. She'd seen the movie Eat Pray Love but who has months at a time to devote to spirituality and love? Definitely not her!

However, as the facilitator continued, the amount of time was less important than the quality of time and the fact that she made time for these things at all that was most important. She could make a lot of little changes to accomodate the things that she valued. She left the seminar vowing to do just that. 

A month later, she had made some significant changes.

  • She got some inspirational books on CD and started listening to them on her commute to work.
  • She found a bible study that was close by that she could attend once a week.
  • She and her family started attending church more often.

  • Although they objected at first, she made some of their car time (some, not all), talk time and not iPod/gaming/texting time.
  • She worked out a babysitting schedule with another couple so they both could get a date night once a month.
  • She and the hubs tried to find at least a few things that they could do together as a family (like brunch after church) or even watching a favorite TV show together.
  • She started planning her meals which made dinner at home healthier for everyone.
  • Sometimes she'd pack her lunch and other times she'd go to the cafe in the building and make better choices.
  • She started taking short walks in the evening (and sometimes even during lunch at work). Her daughter often accompanied her so it served as family time too.
  • She started keeping a journal and jotting her thoughts down in the evening before bed.
  • She's even thinking of blogging.
The great thing about these changes is that they were small, doable changes. They didn't require a lot of time. Although they took some effort - planning meals, arranging date night - most of the planning took just a few minutes.

When Tessa looked over her month, she could not only see the changes she'd made but she felt she was living a life where she made time for what mattered most.

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