Living “A Limited Number of Hours”: Prioritizing

Since I posted my theoretical schedule of how it would be to live having only A Limited Number of Hours, I have attempted to live this out and somewhat keep track of my hours.  Living this schedule is just as–and maybe even more–difficult than I had anticipated.  20 hours a week of both friend and alone time is not enough!  Especially for an extrovert like me!

One think I did realize is that I can use some of my “extra” Starbucks time (the time I allow for commuting plus lunch breaks) to call friends, so some of that time can overlap.  But I find it difficult to be as present with people when I know that I’m under the time crunch of a limited drive time.

The other huge problem this past week?  I got horribly sick.  I mean, it was awful.  Granted, I’m a big baby when it comes to being sick, but still it was bad.  I had basically no voice because I was coughing almost constantly.  I’m thankful the illness didn’t start in my sinuses like it usually does (I hate it when I feel like my head is going to explode!), but I can tell you that a good, deep cough is not very comforting to customers!

And because I’m so new, I didn’t feel like I could take off of work.  So I kept working during what was my busiest week yet: 34.5 hours.

Actually, until I lost my voice I really didn’t feel awful–just tired, really REALLY tired–but that was enough to practically do me in.  So, my schedule got all out of whack because I took naps whenever I had even 20 minutes of down time.

Translation: I didn’t read and write every day last week.  I’m so sad to have to admit this!  I am still really committed to this project, but man, is my life a lot to juggle right now!

So I realized the next step is living out this full schedule these days is figuring out my priorities:

1. Connection:  For my own sanity I have to be connected with people and with God.  If this doesn’t happen, I don’t function as a healthy person.  Last week, this meant using what little energy I had to connect with people rather than to read or write.  I won’t be effective in ministry or as a person if I’m not vitally connected to others.  And thankfully, many of the things I do for ministry are revitalizing for me so they can count under this too.

2. Money:  The hard truth of my situation right now is that I am about to have to start paying back school loans, so I need to make money.  So I’m committed to working my close-to-full-time hours at Starbucks because this is how I’m paying the bills.  Over time, I would like to start tutoring more to make some better money than way and cut back on Starbucks hours, but for now Starbucks it is!

3. Reading/Writing:  Unfortunately, these are a slightly lesser priority these days, though they still are a priority.  Hopefully as I’m able to pull back at Starbucks a little, I can increase the time I give to these.

Finally, things that are not a priority: watching TV (unless it’s a time to connect with friends), dancing (I was thinking about starting to get into dancing but it’s just not gonna happen right now), dating (though I still want to get married–and still set me up on a blind date if you find someone good!), and any kind of bigger group hang-outs.  I do love all of these things, but they aren’t the life-giving sources that I really need to focus on while I have so little time.

What does it boil down to?  My life is busy these days!  So, while I have so little free time, I need to use it effectively to get my connection/alone needs met rather than on extraneous or peripheral activities that don’t actually fulfill me in that deep, life-giving way.

And actually, all of this energizes me because I love living intentionally!