Harnessing time to do what you love

What should you take time to do?-3

Notice how we talk about time—we spend time, waste time, save time, take time—all suggesting we have control over time!

Judging by the number of times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have enough time,” it sounds like there is a universal shortage of it. How do we get more?

We have the talents and skills to make many things, but we can’t make more time. So, the real question is: “How do we use the time we have in the most fulfilling way?”

If you were given a month free of responsibilities how would you be spending your time?

Do what you love

If you were given a month free of responsibilities how would you be spending your time? Does your response inform what your priorities should be? Even amidst your busy daily activities, if you are not taking some time for doing what you love, you’re probably not a very happy camper. In fact, if you find you are slightly agitated on a daily basis, it may be a sign that something is blocking you from doing what you may only subconsciously believe you should be doing. Your values are trying to tell you something.

At this point in my life, I strongly desire to write down legacy information for the next generation to enjoy reading and to possibly learn from my life lessons. I know that if I’m not making time for writing in my weekly routine, every request of my time becomes an irritation. That all changes when I’m doing what I know I should be. Then I am much more flexible, accommodating, and joyful. What about you? What should you be making time for?

Harnessing time

While we cannot manufacture more time, there are at least a couple ways we might be able to better handle what we do have. I want to talk about two of these today: setting priorities and scheduling.

Practices reveal priorities

At the beginning of the day, my first priority is to turn to God. He is the only one who can control time—partly because he is outside the time-space continuum and mostly because he’s God! Notice what 1 Peter 3:8 says about God and time: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Clearly, God has time for everyone and everything! How can we tap in?

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 1 Peter 3:8

Ordering time

Throughout the Bible, we see God measuring things. Measurements set boundaries. For humans, time is measured by days and nights, months, years, and a lifetime. Within those boundaries, we can order our time by setting priorities—making time for what’s important. and by putting them on the calendar— taking time to do them.

Making the most of your time

Do you have tricks and strategies for making the most of your time? Do you schedule time to do the things you love? I’d like to hear them! Here are a few that work for me:

  • By rising early in the morning, I can avoid interruptions and spend time with God meditating on his Word. When I take time to make this my first priority, God seems to make up for it in other ways. For example: maybe I arrive at a solution or idea sooner rather than agonizing over it for hours. Or a client serendipitously reschedules an appointment freeing up an already packed schedule.
  • Next, I intentionally schedule doing things that I want to do. For me, it is being with grandchildren or taking time for writing or having coffee with a friend. If I have a big project I’m working on, I break it into small deadlines and try my best to meet them.
  • I make appointments with myself putting them on the calendar. I have done this with writing days. I set up a consistent day of the week to write, put it on the calendar like an appointment, and protect it from interruptions! When another invitation comes you can say, “Oh sorry, I have another appointment scheduled at that time.”
  • When up against a deadline, I used to worry myself into a migraine. Now, I use this little trick. While I’m working, I’m telling myself: “There is enough time, there is enough time.” It serves two purposes: 1. It reminds me to relax and, 2. Somehow miraculously, there is always enough time!

Living in the moment

I know that I am going to hear from my friends who are constantly reminding me to be in the moment! OK, I tend to be a planner and when something interferes with my schedule, it throws me off a little. I’m trying to be flexible! I applaud those of you who can savor every moment! Are you someone that in whatever circumstance, you find an opportunity for enjoyment and appreciation? You have something to teach me!

What are your tips and tricks for making the most of time? What are you taking time to do that you love? I want to hear from you. Leave me a comment!

Write On!
Kathy

P.S. Coming Soon: Writer’s Block Busters

Since writing is something I should be making time for, my next blog series addresses What should you take time to do?breaking through writer’s blocks (both physically and mentally). In the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging on “Eight Writer’s Block Busters.” If you have some tips that work for you, please share them in the comments area! We will all thank you! 

 

Why do you write?

LegacyThe other day my grown daughter commented, “Mom, you are always writing for someone else, why don’t you write for your family?” She proceeded to remind me about some children’s books I had started years ago when she was growing up. Since then, her words keep ringing in my ears. It got me questioning, “Why am I writing?” How about you?

Why do you write? Who do you want to read your words? It’s not an easy answer. It takes some soul searching. I pondered, “Am I seeking recognition from others?” Or to feel good about myself because I made someone else feel good?” The truth is, there are far more people that will forget who I am than those who will remember me. But to my family, I’m pretty important. Especially to my young, impressionable grandchildren! I am blessed! You are important too!

In this busy world, we strive to make a name for ourselves, to make our lives matter. While you may not know it yet, your life already matters. It matters now and for generations that will come after you. Your children’s children, and their children may want to know what you were like. They will seek to glean what they can learn from your life, your struggles, your successes, your values, your faith. They will wonder what qualities or characteristics of yours are similar to theirs. Your life, good or bad, is a great teacher.

LucyMy husband has a journal from his great grandmother, Lucy, who lived from 1878 to 1960. It is entitled: “Seventy Years of Living.” It is profoundly interesting reading about what life was like, but not nearly as interesting as the lessons we learned from her life and the characteristics I see present in her great, great grandson! We learned of a young couple who were intent on building a farm and a lifestyle. They were entrepreneur types always expanding at great financial risk. Unfortunately, they borrowed rather than saved to have the things they thought they needed. They were particularly impressed with the latest and greatest inventions of the time—like a flush toilet for example! Dean’s great uncle, the oldest of the children, complained he’d have to run upstairs and refill it with water every time anyone flushed! Funny? Not so very much. They lost the farm. But they endured and that’s the real lesson.

LucyJournalExerptOn another occasion, we were cleaning out his grandmother’s attic and discovered a gorgeous family photo album. As we looked through the obviously well-preserved document of history, nameless faces stared back. Not a single photo was named or dated. It was meaningless to us! It might as well have been a book of strangers! We passed it on to another relative who didn’t know them either. Our children will never know who from that side of the family they might resemble. Please, label your pictures! Someone will appreciate it one day.

What legacy are you leaving? What treasures of knowledge are you passing forward? Are you being intentional about making a historical record? If so, don’t leave it as a file in your computer! Who is going to search through that thing to find your treasures after you pass? Print out those stories. Never mind if you don’t have archival paper! My husband’s great grandmother Lucy’s journal was a typewritten carbon copy on cheap paper and it’s still holding up! Print it out and pass it out, that’s the way to back up your documents!

Interestingly, the end of Lucy’s journal reads: “But I will do my very best to accept whatever is to be my future, with all the cheerfulness and fortitude possible. I only ask that I may be able to keep what little mentality I have, and care for myself to the end of my days—but I will try to say—Thy will, not mine.” After living a full life having gained and lost, she concluded that was her most important lesson in life was to trust God.

I’ve determined I want to leave a legacy of faith for the next generation. I want my grandchildren, and future great grandchildren to know they have been born into not just a Christian heritage, but into a family that knows and loves God. I want them to know the faithfulness of God in providing for us, of trusting when you can’t see the reason, and our deep love for them even though we don’t know all of them yet! We want them to know we are praying it forward for them. What will future generations read about your life?

Write On!

Psalm78

Writing With Perspective

My best time of day is early morning as the sun is rising. The air is damp, the birds are beginning to sing, and the clouds have pink edges. Everything is renewed, and I have an optimistic perspective for the day. Today, as usual, I’m having coffee on the patio and contemplating God’s Word when movement among the heather bushes beneath the bottle brush tree attracts my attention. A rabbit!
Cute right? Not!
My husband coos, “We have a new pet.”
I complain, “He will probably eat our flowers.”
Interesting. We each spoke from our personal perspective. Same scene, same bunny, but different responses. It suggests something about our personalities. Maybe, maybe not, but it makes the story more interesting. In writing, your perspective can reveal something of your story or nature or just where you are standing that day. It can powerfully charge your message and challenge your reader to see things differently.

Different views of the same reality
As an art major, I studied perspective. In a drawing or painting, the underlying lines of YourPerspectiveperspective provide the proper shape, proportion, and position to make things appear three dimensional and realistic. Usually one-point perspective is taught first where you are at the center of the picture and the vanishing point is right in front of you. Much more interesting is two-point perspective as seen in the picture at the right. There are two vanishing points one at each  side of the picture revealing more dimension. Imagine yourself standing in different locations in this picture, you’d have an altered view of the very same reality. In writing editorials, offering differing points of view can bring balance and validity to your message. In your stories, providing differing points of view can add interest and dimension to your characters.

How do you see it?
In art, writing, and life, different perspectives can challenge us to see things differently. Where you position yourself affects how you see reality. For example, imagine the perspective picture as a city scene and you are standing in front of a tall building, how do you see it? Is it an obstacle blocking your view of what’s ahead? Or is it an opportunity to go up to the top floor and see much further than you would from the ground? If you feel stuck right now, try looking at your circumstance from a different position.

Version 2Two-point perspective also reminds us that there are two sides to an argument. You don’t have to agree with the other person but viewing things from their position will give you insights into their backstory. Ordinarily, I’m more tenderhearted about bunnies, but my response was provoked by the amount of work I had put into nurturing those flowers and plants and uncharacteristically, I was already planning that rabbit’s demise. It is a reminder that our beliefs, personality, and life experiences are like the hidden perspective guidelines that shape how we respond to what we see. Try tracing these out in your next conversation.

Write what you see
In my first writing workshop, I was told: “Write what you know.” In other words, tell the stories that are from your own experience because they will be credible. I say, don’t stay stuck in your one-point perspective where the world centers on you, but add dimension to your life by standing in different positions and tell what you learn. By the way, the bunny is fine. I decided he could be fun to have around. Keep writing my friend!

Write On!
Kathy

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:4-5

Your web presence, does it reflect who you really are?

How does someone learn about your professional services? Authors, service providers, and small business owners know they need a platform to promote their offerings to the public. Most often this is done through internet presence and social media. But does your profile and your brand reflect who you really are?
WebPresenceBuilding a platform
I recently contemplated this very thought in seeking to establish a platform for myself as a writer. Yes, yes, I know some of you think of me as a serial entrepreneur. Writing is something I’ve always done, and this is the right career for me since my husband and I moved to Tallahassee a couple of years ago to be with our grandchildren. I’m excited, but I was stressing about having to establish a new identity on social media. I lamented about having to do this all over again. This time, I did something different. Rather than looking at what others were doing out there, I started with soul-searching about my brand.

Where to start
Remember the old Westerns? Cattle were branded with a logo that identified the owner. When launching a business or a web presence, marketing gurus say we must develop a brand. They mean more than a logo, it’s a whole identity. For most of us, our first instincts are to name our book, business, or URL, have a logo designed, get business cards printed, and have a website designed. That would be my first impulse, too, but first I contemplated my new identity. I questioned: “Do I create a brand, or be a brand?” I decided I should be a brand—that my public identity needed to reflect my character and deepest passion, not just a look I create. Does the identity you’re expressing reflect who you really are?

DavidsAppearanceBLK

Consider the verse from 1 Samuel 16:7 when the prophet Samuel was sent to the home of Jesse to anoint a new king of Israel. He did not consider the sons that looked the part—tall and handsome—but rather, God wanted him to select the one that had a heart for the interests of God. Samuel selected the son that was to be the future King David. He was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” Does your brand reflect your heart?

Create a Brand or be a Brand?
Your brand needs to be consistent, recognizable, and most especially, genuine. It should reflect your passion. People can tell if what you are broadcasting is genuine. Your brand is something people can feel. If it isn’t real, they won’t trust you. If they don’t trust you, they won’t purchase what you’re selling. So, what I’m suggesting is that your internet presence needs to have a look and message that genuinely reflects who you are rather than a look you create. To discover my brand, I asked myself some questions.

How to be a brand
I propose that you don’t build a brand, you identify your brand. To begin discerning your brand, identify who you are and what motivates you. Here is a list of the soul-searching questions I asked myself:

  • Who am I? (What would people say about me? How would they identify me? How am I known? Defines my character and characteristics.)
  • What do I stand for? (What is important to me? What guides my life and my responses to my life experiences? Defines my passion.)
  • What do I do? (How do I act on what I stand for? Defines my purpose.)
  • Why do I want to do this? (What motivates me? Defines my mission.)
  • What do I offer? (Products, services, insights. Defines my offering.)
  • What do I want to communicate about me, the product, and the benefit to my customer? (Defines my message.)
  • How do I want people to respond? (Defines my benefit.)
  • What will be my client’s benefit? (Defines their benefit and my impact.)
  • How does this honor God? (Defines how God is glorified.)

Write your answers

After answering these questions, my hesitation turned to enthusiasm as I became eager to set up my blog site and communicate the rediscovered passion that drives me!

Why is this important?
Hopefully, answering these questions for yourself will fire up your enthusiasm for what you do and how you express your brand. Connecting with your passion energizes your message and inspires your audience. It’s contagious! My writing friends, ask yourself these questions in reference to your blogging or book writing. Small business owners, review your current branding to see if it reflects who you genuinely are.

Your turn
Friends, I sincerely hope this exercise has helped you in some way. I’d love you to follow me in my new venture as a writer and share your challenges and what you’ve learned. At the right, click to follow me!

Write On Friends!

Kathy

Power of Your Written Words

What motivates you to go to the keyboard or a notebook to capture your thoughts before they are lost? Do you write for you own personal reflection or are you writing something for someone else to read one day? Don’t underestimate the power of your words!

Even before God put his finger to the stone tablets to write the ten commandments, man was making meaningful marks in the form of cuneiforms. Throughout the ages, we have been compelled to harness ideas, history, laws, advice, and stories through the written word. It gives those concepts permanence and power and makes them available for future generations.

God insured that we would benefit from his written word when he told Moses and his prophets to: “Write this down.” Later, his Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to write the gospels and epistles. God’s word of truth and love has benefitted many generations and will do so for years to come as its timeless truths are relevant for our everyday living. What truths have you discovered in your life experience that are important for you to pass down?

I have witnessed power in my own writing. Since my passion is for God’s Word, I write to help people apply scripture to their personal and professional lives. Some years ago, I self-published a strategic planning manual applying biblical principles to business and ministry planning. In delivering workshops using the book as our reference, I noticed a remarkable thing. In class, participants when reiterating a point would often say, “The book says….” The book I had written had more power and credibility than my spoken word! No doubt that even though the author was standing there before them, the power of the Holy Spirit and the biblical principles in the writing most influenced them.

What does your book need to say? What powerful life lessons do you need to share? Yes, even the hard ones as they are most impactful. You are the knowledgeable authority on your own life. Who needs to benefit from your experiences? Children? Grandchildren? Future generations? Write for them!

Thanks for joining me. Please respond to this post and tell me who needs to read your life lessons.
Blessings on your day!
Write On!
Kathy

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrew 4:12 NIV