With twenty four hours in a day,the time to do all you want to do or ought to do is still limited. But twenty four hours is ample time to get through with all things important. Just prioritize! Knowing what is most important and most urgent makes your goals more realizable.
When making sorrel, that refreshing tropical drink, at Christmas time, the sepals of the sorrel flower are added to a pot of water along with various spices such as cinnamon bark, cloves, ginger and orange peel. The mixture is boiled for about thirty minutes, allowing it to steep, overnight if possible. The sweetened crimson product proves delectable.
For a smooth drink, the spices must be removed by straining. Mixtures are filtered in Chemistry practicals to remove any unwanted, undissolved material. Similarly we have to “filter” our activities to remove extraneous detractors and to maintain that which adds value to our lifes.
In this post I will discuss just five ways in which your time, including time for spiritual growth, can dissipate, leaving you tired and frustrated and with much still to do. I will briefly suggest how you can mitigate these factors.
1 Setting too many objectives (unattainable)
In setting quotidian goals, it is possible to be over ambitious. A to-do list of numerous tasks soon appears like a plumb bob, pulling you under its weight. If it is designed with no order of priority, then items on the list are accomplished in a disorganised manner. Physical objectives such as cleaning or cooking are done first because the results from such tasks are visible; manual labour also tends to be the line of least resistance whereas tasks requiring perspicacity require more discipline and determination.
To overcome this detractor of time you have to develop a list of goals which are attainable and realistic. A strategic move would be to recognise what are your priorities. For example establishing a fervent connection with God ought to be the number one priority. This means that on any list of objectives, this goal should be placed at the top of the list. When this is accomplished then all other goals can be pursued. Bear in mind that the remainder of that list still needs to be moderated so that what you set out to do can be reached within the limit of twenty four hours.
2 Saying yes does not help always.
I have a problem with this one. It is something on which I am still working. In being too nice to others, we can treat ourselves badly. It is alright to say no to requests from others sometimes; it is impossible to be and do all things for others and still have time for yourself. Change the perspective of thought. If you do for others at the expense of your time allotted for spending with God then that cannot be right. If you are a believer then God must come first.
Saying no can be done nicely, politely and done so that the relationship with the one to whom you are saying no is still preserved. Let them know that you would be willing to assist at another time, when you have completed your own duties, chores and other objectives. Smile and let them know that it is not that you do not want to help but that there is a matter of urgency (prayer and meditation) to which you first have to attend.
3 Being physically tired
Awaking early in the morning to do your meditation can seem to be burdensome when you are just physically exhausted. Having gone to bed to late, it is tempting to hit the sleep button of your alarm clock and ignore the commitment to God to awake and spend time with Him. Perhaps you overworked the day before, mentally or physically or you may be recovering from an illness. These are not reasons to ignore your Maker, your dearest friend and companion. There has to be some way to circumvent this detractor.
There are in fact several options available to avoid missing out on bonding time with God because of tiredness. The obvious option is to get to bed earlier. Make a decision to get to sleep by a particular time and stick with it. For a variety of reasons, this may sometimes be difficult, so what else can be done?
To combat tiredness could be as simple as addressing dietary needs. Perhaps some adjustments in your eating habits may help: smaller meals, more regular meals, less refined food, more water… Maybe you need to supplement your diet with a daily vitamin or some other nutrient that you may be lacking. Adjust your schedule so that you are still productive on one day but not exhausted the following day (see point 1).
4 Social media distractions
Facebook, twitter and so many other distractions abound in this technological age. I am not bashing their use but it has to be a discriminatory use. There is no need to check messages every hour or minute; manage your time spent on social media. Factor in times for use of the internet in your schedule and stick with those times, unless there is some emergency. How would you feel if your best friend ditched you because of a Facebook appointment? This is what it is equivalent to when you postpone your time with God because you were too busy checking messages.
5 No fixed routine.
So having goals and priority lists were already discussed. The idea now is to put things in place so that you have a clear idea of how your day is going to unfold on a routine basis. There may be slight changes or differences but essentially there must be some template for what each day looks like, even for those who value spontaneity.
Having a routine makes it so much easier to begin the day. You know how to start; there is no period of confusion as to what needs to be done. No brain work is required except what is needed to accomplish your tasks.
Are you making the time for the real priorities in your life? Do you recognise any of these detractors in your life? What have you done to eliminate distractions which hamper your spiritual growth? I look forward to hearing your own thoughts. Drop me a line, let me know and perhaps you may help me too!