This post first appeared in 2016 but I thought it was time for an update!!
If you’ve read The Finishing School, you have already heard me quote Professor Bruce Hindmarsh when he said:
“Busyness is moral laziness [because it is often a statement of our excuse to be inattentive to people]…But God has given us just enough time to do what we need to do moment by moment to respond to him. And his grace is there; it is eternally present. Every moment is a sacrament where time touches eternity and there is exactly enough time to do what God has called us to do.”
When I first read this it seemed to counter everything I thought. How could busyness be seen as laziness? Hindmarsh is making a bold statement telling people that choosing busyness over margin is actually a cop-out. It’s letting other people dictate what you do so you don’t have to decide or so you don’t have to hurt feelings, disappoint people, etc.
Guess what? Jesus disappointed people. It’s uncomfortable but true. And here’s the reality, we can’t please everyone and God doesn’t ask us to do that.
If you feel like life is too busy, like not just a little hectic but spinning out of control, it might be time to get serious about the things you won’t do. We have to actively decide this or people will dictate the things that make up our life. Scary, no? That our future can be decided by the demands of others?
When I get asked how I balance a family, a business and tossing a book in, I am quick to say that there are tons of things I don’t do. My hope is that people won’t get overwhelmed with thinking they have to do it all. There are certain things that I don’t do that have allowed me to do the things that are most important to me.
Here is a very random list of things I don’t do. This doesn’t need to be your list of course. You may genuinely enjoy some of these things or these may align with your goals, but I hope it will give some insight into my world and also help you discover any things you may be doing that you don’t NEED to do.
1. I don’t second guess decisions.
Once it’s made, I don’t look back. There are exceptions. I do pray that if I made the wrong decision God would give me an unsettled feeling. When I was a wedding planner, I used to tell my brides not to look at dresses (or flowers or cakes) once they picked out theirs. With all the options out there, it won’t be hard to start comparing more.
2. We aren’t on the birthday circuit.
This is what my husband calls it. Our kids are still obviously very young and we know soon, they will want to go to more parties, but we honestly don’t go to many of them. Saturdays are precious to our family so we make a very conscious effort to protect them. This also means our time isn’t spent finding birthday gifts. I’m a horrible gift giver so this stuff stresses me out. If you are good at this and love a party, keep on partying friend!
Update: We go to a few and genuinely enjoy them because it’s really close friends.
3. I don’t dress the girls to the T almost ever.
We skip the headbands or shoes for my infant and bags, bracelets and multiple outfit pieces for my toddler. This sounds like a small thing, but getting out the door with two kids takes long enough. Vana just needs a diaper and a onesie and we can get out the door. Vivi wears shoes she can put on herself (for now!) Does Vana ever wear headbands? Of course, but they aren’t a requirement.
Update: This is still true beside the occasional accessory that the girls’ are responsible for.
4. I don’t wash my hair all the time.
I wash my hear once a week. I’m lucky. Part of this is genes I guess, but once I started using Living Proof “Perfect Hair Day” shampoo and conditioner, I was able to go from 3-4 days to 7! This honestly seems a little crazy to me that I can go so long in between washes, but I have long hair that I straighten and I’m just so grateful to not have to do this every other day. I don’t know where I would find the time to do it.
Update: I’m getting older and my hair is slightly changing so it’s more like 5-6 days now.
5. I don’t spend an hour + at the gym.
My gym workouts are quick. I do 10-15 minutes moderate to intense cardio and then 10-15 minutes of weights and stretching three times a week. I leave feeling energized for the rest of my day (not like I’m going to collapse) which is good because I have two kids to chase around. I’ve done longer workouts and left feeling wrecked for the rest of the day. I love that a shorter workout actually leaves me feeling ready for the day. I know one day I will be in a season where I can devote more time to fitness but right now, I’m just glad I can go to the gym 3-4 times a week for any amount of time.
Update: My routine has changed, but it’s still less than an hour at the gym.
6. I don’t scrub my house clean.
Our house is tidy most days but sparkly clean? Never.
7. I don’t get my nails done.
I love having my nails professionally painted, but I don’t actually enjoy the process. It ALWAYS takes longer than I plan and is just not relaxing for me to sit and do. Instead, I opt for a hot bath with epsom salt and a good book. It takes less time and leaves me refreshed. If I do happen to get my nails done, it’s a quick paint and not an extensive process.
8. I don’t dye my hair.
I ombre’d it once and it took 2 hours and have tried to do it again and can’t bring myself to spend the time doing that. I may attempt to dye my hair one day, but right now, it’s not on my radar.
Update: I’m getting some grays now so this might change but for now, still a no.
9. I don’t DIY or craft.
It’s not my thing so I don’t force it. I wish I could turn a piece of trash into a treasure AND enjoy it, but I don’t.
10. I don’t volunteer much.
This might sound horrible and I hesitated putting it because it sounds bad, but it’s the truth. I don’t volunteer at soup kitchen’s or non-profits. In this season, our contribution has been mostly monetary. The things we do devote our time to in serving are church-related: my husband serving as deacon (definitely a family commitment), leading a small group and serving on a few seasonal committees.
Update: This is still true. My husband is now an elder which is even more of a time commitment and we are a part of a few other things in the church. We get to give a lot through VMP which YOU are a crucial part of. Here’s a story of what we were able to do recently through the 10% we give from each dollar sold.
11. We don’t travel much.
I see pictures of friends who travel all the time. This is awesome. And one day, I hope to be in that season, but for now, we have one beach trip a year and a weekend here or there that we are gone for but otherwise, we stay put at home.
Update: This is still pretty true. It is getting easier to travel with the girls. In the last month we went to San Antonio about 45 minutes after we decided to go. And we went to the beach where we normally go each year. Still, very little planning as you can tell but I have enjoyed the chances to get away.
12. I don’t shop in stores often.
When I used to spend two hours at the mall and still don’t find something I need, I felt like I just wasted so much time. Instead, for the most part I online shop at the stores that fit me best.
13. I don’t read People’s magazine or news sites often.
This used to take up a lot of time in my life. It would be my go-to way to “relax” until I realized it didn’t relax me. So I cut the majority out.
14. I don’t comment on hot-button posts (or read them).
I did this recently and blew 30 minutes crafting a comment and the rest of the day thinking about what I’d like to say if I didn’t have a filter. 🙂 Since then, I have realized how much time something as simple as commenting on a Facebook post can be. I’m not talking about friendly chatter or encouragement. I’m talking about posts that you know will have no good outcome if you engage in it.
New things I’m adding to the list!
15. I don’t wear tons of different outfits.
I have some pieces I wear over and over again. It’s crazy how much I used to care about making sure I wasn’t repeating outfits and now I couldn’t care less. It means less shopping and less agony in the morning deciding what to wear.
16. We don’t do a lot of kid’s activities.
The girls are each in a dance class once a week and it’s conveniently at these same time. The thing is, the class Vivi was supposed to be in was much later in the evening. She was really close to the cutoff for the class grade above (her birthday is October 6) so I asked if she could take that one. The studio had no problem with it! I know this won’t be the case every year but I could have totally just assumed I had no choice and had to do the really late class but I’m glad I spoke up. I am hoping to use the summer as an opportunity for them to test out a few things they might like to do with weekly camps instead of committing to a year of one activity.
17. We don’t take on every church duty.
I know I mentioned we have some church responsibilities but we actually do say no to some things. It’s easy to be asked to do lots when you start saying yes and we’ve found it really important to have boundaries. Not. just because we want margin for ourselves but because we know how much being involved or volunteering has deepened our connections to people in the church and we want to not take up ever opportunity when they could benefit others to serve.
18. We pack light.
I don’t necessarily mean for vacation but just trips out the house. We’ve always done this. Even with a one-year-old, I’d toss a diaper and some wipes in my purse if we were running in a few stores just in case. With a 5 and 7-year-old it’s even less.
19. I don’t wear eye shadow or eyeliner.
Only on fancy date nights or weddings and the occasional photo session. The truth is I don’t know what I’m doing with eye shadow so it’s been easy to skip but this keeps my makeup routine very minimal and quick!
20. I don’t get on Instagram anymore.
More on why I left here but I’ve had a few people ask me if I’m glad I did it and I have zero regrets. I was curious how it would affect our business but we’ve actually been growing since I left so I’m thrilled it’s worked out so well!
21. We don’t have team meetings every week.
I have about 3 hours a day, 4 days a week to work while the girls are at school. This means we’ve had to figure out a way to keep meeting to a minimum. We have a Vox group to share our daily big 3 and stay connected that way in between our 2-hour monthly meeting.
22. I don’t grocery shop regularly.
We use Shipt and have found it more than worth the cost! I used to go on Sundays often before church and it’s added so much actual rest to our Sabbath since we started doing Shipt years ago.
23. I don’t make a separate dinner for our girls.
If they don’t know like it, they just don’t eat much. I always try to include something I know they will like but if they’re feeling extra picky or in a mood, you won’t find me in the kitchen like a short-order cook. 😉
24. I don’t do coffee date “pick-your-brain” sessions.
This might sound bad, but I’ve chosen to invest in a handful of relationships where we can go deep instead of responding to every email asking for advice. I’ve gotten plenty of emails asking for my help with the wrong name, no name or just very impersonal. Maybe if I had unlimited hours, I’d respond, but a yes to someone means a no to someone else. Over the years, I feel like God has drawn me to certain people who I could tell were intentional themselves and weren’t just trying to squeeze something out of me. I’m intentional to pray for them, check in on them and be available for questions.
25. I don’t go to movies.
I fall asleep even in theaters and since nights out don’t happen as often as I’d like, I’d rather go to dinner with friends or Tyler and have chat time then sit in a movie.
26. I don’t subscribe to a ton of podcasts.
I LOVE podcasts but I’m actually not subscribed to a ton. I have select few I listen to every one of but more than not, I’ll go look to see what’s come out recently on some podcasts I like. On that note, I’ve got my own podcast coming out later this summer! 🙂 Stay tuned! I’ve tried to make it one of those you’d love to subscribe to. 😜
I’d love to hear from you!! What things do you not do that leave time for what matters most?