A friend called late at night to inform me his marriage was in trouble and he needed to meet. So we met early the next morning to talk, pray, and come up with a plan. After we met, I arrived at the office to start working through my tight schedule. First was staff meeting followed by individual meetings then a lunch meeting, and three more afternoon meetings. All of them were important because they dealt with urgent challenges. I planned on going home around five to get a couple of projects done at home but that was not to be. A police chaplain call came in and three emotional hours later, I pulled into the driveway exhausted. I got home just in time to put the kids to bed then spent two hours writing my message for the weekend. Finally around midnight I called it a day. Fortunately not every day is like this. Too many busy, cluttered days lead to burnout. Something has to give.
All of us have days that refuse to end, those days when we can’t seem to catch up, catch a break, or keep up with life. The commitments we feel obligated to keep consume our calendar and we try to squeeze every day for all its worth. Maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about. You might need to make significant changes in your life to bring it back into a sustainable level. Here are six suggestions to help fill your tank so you can live a full life.
1. Take a day of rest.
God calls this the “Sabbath” day. Your Sabbath might be Tuesdays, Saturdays, or Sundays. It really doesn’t matter what day you take to rest, just pick one to retreat from the crazy and recharge your own batteries. This isn’t pop-psychology, it’s a biblical principle given to us by God. Yes, it does apply to you.
2. Keep a realistic schedule.
When you schedule your week, consider drive times and add some margin. Plan times to do nothing just to give your-self some margin. Many people schedule so many back to back meetings that if one runs long it completely throws’ off the rest of their day and they can never catch up because there is no margin for error.
3. Know your limits.
Everybody has limits including you. If you need eight hours of sleep every night in order to function at your best, then do whatever it takes to get eight hours of sleep. Most people can only handle one emotional meeting a day. If you have multiple emotionally taxing meetings every day then you need to figure out how to relive the pressure in a healthy way. Once you know your limits, don’t overstep them.
4. Know your spouse’s limits
My wife and I run at a different pace. I would want to go out and she would want to stay home. We could never seem to get in sync which resulted in neither of us being happy. The solution was to talk more and respect each other’s limits. Once we accepted the reality that we run at different speeds, we are able to pick the right lane on the track and still finish together.
5. Schedule fun.
We all need fun in our lives yet when we get busy fun is the first thing to go. Plan fun things to do as a couple, a family, or with a friend. Give yourself permission to have a good time and enjoy every second of it.
6. Invest in life-giving relationships.
Chances are, there are people around you that suck the life out of you. Avoid them if possible or limit the time you spend with them. Invest in others who fill your tank. You need to prioritize and invest in life giving relationships for your own health.
If you want to live a full life, you need to have a full tank. Take this list and put it somewhere where you can see it. Don’t blow it off or assume things will slow down, because they won’t unless you change them.