Are you exhausted, overwhelmed and overscheduled? If so, you’re not alone. It seems like everyone I talk to lately is on the verge of burnout. And when we’re depleted, we tend to get irritable. Resentment builds up. We lose focus and mistake motion for progress.
I’m convinced that God is calling most of us to simplify our lives. We need to take steps that will bring us back from our unhealthy, overscheduled lives and bring us into a place that allows us to focus on what’s really important.
So how do we change the pattern? Here are some steps. They’re not easy, but they are worth it.
1. Be honest about where you are.
Are you at the end of your rope? Are areas of your life are out of control? Be honest about where you are in your life. Ask God to show you how you are choosing the urgent over the important.
2. Recognize that you control your schedule.
Too often we see ourselves as victims of our too busy lives. We act as if our schedule just happened to us or we blame our boss or family. News flash: You are responsible to keep command of your schedule. You may disappoint some people. You may have to make hard choices. But those choices are yours.
3. Think about what replenishes you.
For me, the major replenishments in my life are: God, family, satisfying work, recreation, and exercise. What replenishes you? If you have a hard time answering that question, think about a time when you felt filled with energy and joy. Make a list of those activities.
4. Schedule the important first.
Instead of filling your calendar with a list of activities, start each week by blocking out specific times for the important, replenishing aspects of your life. Block out time for God and your family first. Schedule time for exercise and other activities that replenish you. Only then schedule the rest of your week.
Make your schedule more about who you want to become and less about what you want to get done. If you do that, you will find yourself moving toward a life that is God-honoring and far less exhausting.