At the FILO Conference back in May, we did an exercise to remind ourselves how important it is to take care of ourselves. As part of that exercise, we had each person make a calendar invite to themselves, in order to carve out time just for themselves.
After about 6 weeks went by, we were talking about it here at the FILO offices and wondering if it would be helpful to follow up with the FILO attendees to see how they were doing at prioritizing their own personal development and care. The problem was that I personally haven’t been prioritizing my own personal development and care since we were last together. It felt a little hypocritical to talk about how important self leadership is if I’m doing a horrible job of it myself.
Since FILO, I really haven’t exercised. Something that I used to do 4 to 5 days a week. My time in God’s word has been minimal. I’m eating horribly. I’m burning life at both ends of the candle.
I keep joking with people that as someone who is basically in charge and can decide how to spend my time, you’d think I would have more control over my schedule. Instead I’ve chosen to let the demands of my schedule run my life, instead of being intentional with the time that I have been given.
All this to say, it is difficult to take care of and prioritize myself. And I imagine the same goes for you also.
So what do we do about it? I have a couple of potentially counter intuitive thoughts.
SCHEDULE MORE STUFF
I know it doesn’t sound like this will be a solution to get control over my life, but it is important for me to fill up my time with things that matter, before my calendar gets filled with other tasks. The problem with my current schedule is that it is full of really meaningful things to do. It isn’t like my calendar is loaded with things that I shouldn’t be doing, most things are worth the time I’m spending on them.
The challenge is to get to your own calendar before someone else does. This requires some actual planning, and if you get there first, other things will have to schedule around the times that are important to you.
Some of what you schedule could be work related. Some of it might be family related. Some of it is self related.
An example in my own life is that I’m learning to fly an airplane. Now when I say that, I mean I’m learning to fly an airplane on Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. I wanted to try it out to see if I would like it enough to try it for real. Instead of actually learning to fly, I spend a lot of time walking by my simulator set up wishing I had more time to devote to learning to fly. I need to make time for it or else the rest of my life will squeeze that out. I need to schedule it. Is there a hobby that you need to make time for? Learning the clarinet maybe?
For work, I need to be writing more often, and it always seems to slip to the bottom of the list. On one hand, writing isn’t easy, so it is easy for me to put it off. On the other hand, I need to make time for it or else it won’t happen. What projects do you have that just keep getting pushed off?
FIGURE OUT WHAT MATTERS TO YOU
OK, this is definitely something that needs to be done before you just start adding things to your schedule willy-nilly.
What is important to you? What will enrich your life personally? What are some ways you can invest in your family? What are some growth areas for you at work? How do you want to be more intentional about your spiritual life?
To take control over our schedules, we need to have a good understanding of what is important and what isn’t. Not to others. To you. What is important to you.
When I don’t have a grasp on what is important to me, I usually work really hard and then plop myself down in front of the TV at the end of a long day. I don’t even think about it. I just plop. There’s nothing wrong with this, but in my life currently, it is because I have been living much of my life without intentionality.
I have a general idea of what matters to me, but it has been a long time since I’ve named those things and made space in my life for them. When was the last time you sat down and figured out what matters most to you?
LIVING WITH INTENTION
In the last couple of months, I have been going from event to event, project to project and just letting it all drag me around. In order to live the kind of life I can be proud of, I need to be more intentional than I have been. The same applies to each of us. The life of a technical artist in the local church is tough and will definitely eat you up and spit you out if you don’t start living each day with some thoughtful purpose.
In his book “Think Again”, Adam Grant talks about the importance of setting aside time for thinking. Most of us spend most of our time doing. His challenge is to make time for thinking about what is most important and how we should be spending our time. Not just filling our calendar with doing tasks.
I’m using this blog post as my accountability to take some time and build some strategic scheduling into my life during this very busy summer. I encourage you to do the same.
Interested in joining a community of other technical artists trying to do life and work more intentionally? We have new FILO Coaching Cohorts launching soon! Join the wait list for the first opportunity to sign up.