Choosing the UNnatural
I was 26 when my boss challenged me to read a book called “Taking Control of Your Time and your Life.” To be honest, I was not good at managing my time. Part of it was a simple lack of discipline, part was my natural personality type, and last was a complete lack of tools and plans. My life changed that year. More than I can say.
It was a tiny book, but it seemed that every page was yanking my chain and I started a journey most people can recognize when they are around me for very long. After 35 years of this journey, I am absolutely certain of two things:
- People are naturally RESISTANT to boundaries.
- People NEED boundaries desperately.
Time is not something you can create. It measures what already exists or will exist. I can’t “make” time. I can only manage it, plan it, budget it, assign it, and use it. “Manage your nooks and crannies,” the author wrote. Big blocks of time are rarely obtainable. Most of us are not able to protect that kind of time because it requires a very healthy dose of “no’s” to say “yes” to that kind of time. So on most days for most of us, we manage nooks and crannies of time. If we don’t manage them, others will manage them for us.
First, priority issues must be planned and protected, usually with plenty of advanced space. I try to take advantage of 15-minute increments that would normally be lost or wasted because I didn’t have that mindset, but before I do, I work to block out major needs, opportunities, and priorities. Next, I log my time. Literally, I keep a running record of my time (and two other people have confidential access to it). Conversations (often coded because of confidentiality needs), appointments, tasks all go on that record. WHY? Because it keeps me honest, disciplined and focused. If someone comes to see me, I’ll guard that time and will be painfully aware of the need to complete conversations without rushing away from them prematurely. Time is too precious a commodity to miss. People’s needs are too precious to cheat because I didn’t plan well.
Why am I writing about this? Because everything and person that I care about can only get my attention if I have time–and the same is true for you.
It’s not natural to me.
It’s probably not natural to most.
But I choose the unnatural road of discipline so I can have quality conversations with my wife, family, friends, and people I shepherd. I choose the unnatural way so I can protect time for praying and scripture, so I can do my very best to serve the Lord and my church family. (And yes, I choose that way to protect time for healthy rest and recreation, too!)
35 years ago I began to choose what was UNnatural for me.