I debated what to label this capacity blocker and I'm still not sure if I have settled on the right one but it's a start. Overfilling my time with both time wasters and good things stifles my ability to be responsive in my day and puts a cap on my capacity. Now if someone else was to look at my schedule on some days that feel overcrowded they may come to a different conclusion. I struggled with this in myself (and still do at times). Oh the comparison trap!! I have spoken before about how I need time at home away from people to feed my introvert self so it sometimes doesn't take too many things in one day to feel too much! I am embracing this truth about myself. I need that time to process. I need that time to recharge. Stubbornly pushing on with adding more into my day because I think that is what I "should" be able to do benefits no one.
The key I am trying to build in is flexibility. There are some days where I feel I have the capacity to do more, so I am then able to be a bit more spontaneous and add in playdates, errands or whatever for then. I am also grateful for this "open time" in my calendar on the days of little sleep or feeling "fragile". The surprising outcome of this is sometimes that I am actually able to cope with more and more in my schedule as God works at increasing my capacity in other areas too.
Of course, the nature of life is that there are some days when I know I just have to push through with the myriad of tasks and appointments. I am trying to be more intentional about building quieter days around these times to give me that buffer I need. Having a daughter who has struggled with anxiety type symptoms and who gets easily overwhelmed by sound and crowds forced me into this type of thinking and I am so grateful for the benefits it has brought to myself. I love how God uses the seemingly "bad" parts of life to teach us more about ourselves and how to live life well His way.
Hand in hand with the issue of overcrowding my schedule is my propensity to say yes. I recognise in myself a people pleasing nature. I find it hard to say no, feeling I am letting people down or worrying about what it says about me. I recognise that I have come a long way with this but I think it will be a life long process of allowing God's grace to chip away at this in me. I am so grateful for the honest conversations I have had with my mother about this, learning from her journey with this. I am also grateful to be in a community of friends and colleagues that challenge me on my "yeses" at times and encourage me to seek God first and pursue my "best yes" (Have you read that book by Lysa TerKeurst? I highly recommend it.)
Another aspect of reducing my schedule load is possibly my biggest growth area needed. As is God's way, the same message kept popping up in books, blogs, podcasts and conversations that I was engaging in: building flexibility into our schedules to allow us the space to be able to obey God as He speaks in our day. When I have that sense of rush and inability to fit anything else in, how can I respond to the need of a friend or listen to a prompting to go speak to someone or buy food for a person in need? Too often I have used the excuse of I don't have time right now. Too wrapped up in my own self and day to take the time to see what God is showing me. I now have to decide whether to use that time I build in to my weeks for simply my own and family's benefit or tune in to what God might be setting that aside for. (That is honestly a scary and humbling thought for me right now.)
What is your schedule like? How do you ensure you have the space you need for the important things in life?
This post is part of a series called "My journey of increasing capacity" written as part of the Write 31 Days challenge. To read other posts in this series please click on the button below, in the side bar or on the Write 31 Days 2015 tab at the top.
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