Up until now, the biggest focus of my journey to simplify life has been paring down our possessions. I believe we still have some work to be done there and it will require a constant vigilance about what possessions we allow into our home moving forward. In other words, that journey may never be fully “complete” but that’s OK.
Life itself is a journey, and we may never come to a place where we’ve “arrived” fully. There was a time when I would have been reluctant to accept that, but I’m learning that regular growth and change are good for us. Challenging ourselves to new things keeps life exciting! Even if it’s scary or takes a lot of effort sometimes.
One of the things I struggle with is feeling overwhelmed with plans and obligations and places to be and things I want to do. There never seems to be enough TIME.
Last summer, I made the difficult decision to leave my job and take a year off to let God lead me wherever He chooses. Yet somehow, I still find myself feeling overwhelmed with everything that I need or want to do.
For whatever reason, one of my biggest struggles is getting myself together in the morning. In my ideal world, I’d be up and at ’em at 7am, bed made, exercise clothes on by 7:15, breakfast and quiet time and caring for my menagerie of animals finished no later than 8am. I’d spring out the door, work out, and be ready to charge into the rest of my day well before lunch time. It never works this way.
So, I’ve been more carefully examining my morning habits. I cherish the quiet times I spend before launching into any of the day’s activities, and that is always a priority for me. I do not and will not put a time limit on that. Sometimes a cat throws up, or my dog forgets how to pee in the yard and just stands there looking at me. Those things will happen from time to time. But I’ve determined that the biggest time-sucking culprit in my morning routine is social media.
You guys, sometimes I don’t even THINK before reaching for my phone and popping Facebook open to mindlessly scroll. That can mean I lay in bed for who knows how long instead of getting up because it is an evil time-suck.
During or after my quiet times, I can usually be found, iPad in hand, with distractions begging for my attention. A Pinterest notification, or an interesting sounding article I saw earlier on Facebook and now want to read.
And of course, even though I know better, I am guilty of clicking on idiotic articles with extreme titles like: “The ONE thing you should NEVER eat!!!” or “Guy visits [insert political candidate here] Rally and is Stunned When He Sees THIS!!” You know what I mean. Sometimes, your curiosity gets the better of you. Other times, you know you’re entering into a war zone of horrible comments from internet trolls but you scroll through them anyways.
While there are many edifying and worthwhile websites that Facebook or Twitter might link me to (Becoming Minimalist, No Sidebar and Be More With Less to name a few), most of what clamors for my attention on Social Media is just not worth the time it takes up.
In fact, I believe that we have allowed smart phones and social media to distract us to the point that we live half our lives with screens rather than other human beings. Our attention spans are suffering.
Let’s be honest with ourselves about our habits. How much time are you spending each day on things that aren’t even important to you? What are the top 5 (or 20!) most important things to you? In life? Each day? I’m willing to bet if you wrote such a list, scrolling through social media wouldn’t be on it.
It’s not on mine, either. So, I am proposing a challenge. To myself and anyone else who wants to reclaim time lost chasing the unimportant. Here’s what I’m planning to do for the next 30 days:
- Disable social media notifications on my phone and ipad.
- No time spent on social media sites until after 12pm.
You may want to tweak or change these goals so they make sense for you personally. But I want my mornings back, free from social media. If I want to read an article from Becoming Minimalist, I can visit the website and read it intentionally. Not just because I stumbled across it while mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed.
Cheers to simplifying the morning routine!