Slowing Down

I’m two weeks into living a slower, more relaxed life. As I mentioned in a previous post, The Power of Focus, I’ve begun to eliminate much of my work-related activity – becoming less productive, but enjoying life much more. I’m focused on the most important stuff and have begun to let go of everything else. A process that has been very freeing and exhilarating. I’m still learning a lot about focusing on the most important stuff and eliminating the rest. Here’s what I’m learning and the benefits you can enjoy by doing the same.

You’ll never get it all done. It’s really easy for my to-do list to get long. I’m the creative type and come up with new ideas all the time. The truth is that my to-do list will never be complete and neither will yours. You’re in ministry, which means you wear 100 different hats. You’ll never have everything complete. You might even fall into the trap of putting in extra hours to get some long awaited tasks complete. I recommend you don’t. Identify the most important tasks or projects to complete, and stay focused on those things. Ignore the rest. Enjoy getting less done.

Resist the urge to work. A funny thing happens when you cut down your work hours and eliminate things in your life – you get the itch to work when relaxing. You’ve been in productivity mode for so long, that when it’s time to relax, you have the itch to work. How do you resist the urge? Instead of working, do things that relax you. I’ve begun to journal a lot lately. Been very refreshing. I also enjoy to take walks, read and take long baths (my wife makes fun of me). So, when I get the urge to work (on times I’m off the clock), I do those things instead. The more you build balance into your life, the less you’ll have the urge to work. The itch slowly goes away. And when you’re working, you enjoy it more without the sense of stress. You begin to actually experience a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment when working (remember that?)

Simplify your family life. My wife and I decided (only in an effort to survive) to simplify our family life. Our church is 25 minutes away (new church), kids schools went from one to two schools (one of which is 20 minutes away and the other is 15 minutes away in another direction) ,and we went from 2 cars to one family car (and a scooter for me – yippie) a few months ago. So, in the fall when all these changes happened, we also had my two boys in winterball. As a result, we were sick busy. So, we decided to simply our family life. No baseball in the spring. Kids will still be involved in an activity (took a break for a couple of months), but something that meets less often than baseball. We’ve also decided to just relax on the weekends, rather than filing up our calendar with so much activity. I’ve also made the decision to do less church activities. We do less, but are more effective at what we do. So far, so good. How about you, how can you simplify your family life? What can you eliminate?

Ran out of space  to write more about the benefits of doing all this. Maybe I can share that in another post.

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Over twelve years ago Nick Diliberto lauched a preteen ministry with a handful of volunteers and about 25 kids. Over the years it grew to over 100 kids and has impacted hundreds of young people's lives. Nick is the driving force behind, Children's Director at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, workshop speaker and author of an ongoing preteen column in Children's Ministry Magazine.