Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Go Fly a Kite

I bet you know these people: Kimber and Jackson work all day. They leave work, pick up the kids and grab some take-out before heading to Little Jimmy's soccer game. On Tuesday and Thursday, Kimber takes daughter Melody to piano lessons, dashes home to check Jimmy's homework before Jackson heads out to the seminar he is giving for a work related project. Then there is the PTO obligation, all the church functions, book club, family dinners and that awful Saturday where they realize there are 3 birthday parties on the same day. Is it any wonder these people are cranky, complaining and taking headache medication on a regular basis?

Or maybe you are Kimber and Jackson. You're doing the best you can to enrich the lives of  your family and it is beginning to backfire in a major way.  So, what can you do?

Go fly a kite.

Grab a nap, take a breather or just don't do anything. You need to put the brakes on and just stop. I often wonder why we do this to ourselves. Why do we overschedule ourselves and everyone else until we are on the brink of collapse? Does it make us feel better? Are we keeping up with the Joneses? Are our kids better than the neighbors' because they are oboe-proficient?

Take a look at your schedule. I bet you are stretched so thin you're about to snap. Maybe you cannot get it all done and you end up with mediocrity as a result because there's simply too much going on. Did you ever wonder if your kids or spouse felt the same way?

I think we often feel guilty if we don't try to pack everything into our already-tight schedules. If we don't try improving our kids, then we aren't good parents. If we don't volunteer for every single project, then we are bad people. It is a vicious cycle that we just keep perpetuating. It is perfectly okay to dial it down just a little. I do not condone abandoning everything or the things that truly matter. Volunteering and church choir may be the things that give you heartwarming pleasure. You should keep those activities and consider stepping down from PTO and the bridge club. The same principles apply to your children. Let them be kids. Just plain ole kids that know how to find shapes in the clouds and love to finger paint. Nobody wants an overscheduled, stressed child.  Go ahead and eliminate some of the excess. My kids have ample down time and their imaginations are flourishing. They are well-rounded and less frazzled; thus improving family time as well.

Time management is an invaluable tool in our daily lives. This isn't really the time for multitasking but a period for reflection and deletion. Think about what brings the most happiness and fulfillment. Focus on those things and they will become more enjoyable. Delete the things that never put a smile on your face. You have the right to say, 'Thanks for asking, however, I can't fit it into my schedule now. Perhaps later.' Enjoy the free space you've made on your calendar.

 Controlling your time is as much about the hours on the clock as it is the value you receive from those same hours. Look over your schedule and see if there's room to improve it. You will feel like a whole new person.

I give thee permission.

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