The other day I received a phone call from a gentleman that immediately added stress to my life.
I sat there and imagined all the extra work and hours his information was about to add to my already busy life.
Thief! I felt like he had just entered my home and stole time away from me.
After musing in my mental mud for a while, I took a few minutes and jotted down exactly what and when things would have to be done for this man.
Then I called him back and explained what I was going to do.
Surprisingly, I felt better. The load was still there, but the weight lifted.
Then the aha moment hit…
I had cleaned up the mental mud, I could think clearly, and there was s-p-a-c-e in my thinking again.
In those few minutes I had given myself the gift of mental time.
AND I had given my caller the same gift. He felt better, and his stress had simmered waaaay down.
One of the easiest and greatest gifts you can give to others, and yourself, is the gift of time.
Because, like the man who called me, we steal time from others without even realizing it and in the process steal time from ourselves.
Here’s 10 ways to give the gift of time to others and yourself:
- Boundaries: Learn to say no to commitments you really don’t have time for or aren’t interested in.
If you commit and then resent it, you’ll be a drain on other people.
A sincere “yes” or “no” is a gift of time and a joy to embrace.
- A watch: Arrive on time. When you’re late you’re actually stealing time from other people. (Yikes! You thief!)
- Technology: Put down your phone/computer/video game/mobile device and give your undivided attention to another.
- Emails: Writing short, simple emails saves you time and releases time to your recipient.
Receiving a long email filled with crowded paragraphs can cause anyone to feel overwhelmed—like you’ve just piled 2 hours on their day. Not exactly a gift!
- Conversations: Listen more than you talk.
Seek to understand and appreciate what the other person is saying.
Exit a conversation graciously… before you or the other person feels trapped in a never-ending dialogue.
- Work: Give your employer the gift of time by arriving on time, using the internet and phone only for job related issues, and socializing with co-workers only on your breaks.
Doing otherwise is stealing time… and you don’t want that on your spiritual resume, do you? 🙂
- Cooking: Double that casserole you’re making for dinner and freeze the second one.
Savor the time you save next week when you stick it in the oven while enjoying hot cocoa and a cozy conversation with your spouse.
- Shut up: Better to avoid saying that ugly thing you’re thinking in the midst of an argument than to regret it later.
This saves you loads of negative thinking time for both you and the listener.
- Clothes: Mix + match and lay your clothes out for the next day when you go to bed.
You’ll save time in the morning AND give the gift of a well dressed you to those you’ll be in contact with throughout the day.
(Ever arrive at work or church with an unmatched pair of socks or earrings?)
- Passwords: Keep your passwords, user names, and other important information in a secret place where you can reach them easily when needed.
Let one person in your family know in case you ever end up in the hospital.
As encouragement to increase your sparkle…
… choose one of the above to put into practice this week.
Then rinse and repeat.
You’ve got this.
The wise heart will know the proper time and the just way (Ecclesiastes 8:5).
Think of the gift of time as a little self-care package for yourself and others.
Now, go open that gift of time,