Life Full of Limits

There are so many options, so many good options, for what we could do each day. Sometimes that is exciting, but often it seems more of a problem.

Recently we were enjoying time with friends and the conversation turned to highlight the possibilities open to one couple and those waiting for the other. One family has four young children, and a priority for this season is raising them well. The other has an empty nest and the ability at this time to see the world and the amazing things it holds. Both of us appreciate the treasure each other has, but also we know that we can’t have both at the same time.

That is real life. We can’t have everything. We can’t do everything. We are finite creatures.

There may be five great things you could do today, but you know you only have time and energy for two or three of them. You may want to start your own business next year, but that means you can’t fully invest in mentoring a young associate at your current company. You may be able to join the team of a new church plant in your neighborhood or take advantage of a year sabbatical to travel the world. Drama practice and soccer practice schedules overlap almost completely. The next two hours could be for running errands or for deep cleaning the pantry.

So we have a choice, both in life and each day.

We can ignore the limits, try to grasp it all, fail in frustration, foster discontentment, and focus on what isn’t. We can keep trying to do everything poorly and nothing well. We can mourn all the missed opportunities, constantly, as they continue coming. We can regret taking the path we did. We can feel like a failure as we focus on the path we didn’t take. We can feed a resentful, coveting, jealous, discontent attitude and pour all our energy on that flame.

OR

We can be thankful for the gift of the life God has already given us, in all the big and small situations and choices. We can trust the wisdom and love of our Father. We can appreciate the options we have now, pray for wisdom, pick one, and live in it today as an act of worship. We can live a limited life in a limited world while turning our eyes to an infinite God of power greater than we can imagine.

My Planner

In my role as time management coach, people occasionally ask what my planner looks like. So today we’ll look at it. Please keep in mind that what works for me may not be the best tool for you. So take a peek and use what you can.

My planner is paper. This was a change a couple of years ago when my days became more mobile. A binder, that is small enough to hold easily, can come with me from place to place and be where I need it. In addition to the calendar, it also holds coupons and shopping lists. I’m not a huge fan of paper in general, so having every bit of paper I need in one place is helpful.

The calendar is a week per spread. This is the right balance for my days — enough room to write various appointments and details but still small enough to see the whole week at once. A monthly option isn’t quite enough room, and a page per day leaves too much empty space unfilled.

The days contain appointments and tasks. One side of the sheet is marked hourly, so I can put appointments and commitments at the right times. The other side is for a to-do list, so I can keep track of tasks for each day and the week. Having them side-by-side is important for my success. Both parts work together to map out the day.

The pages are plain. Color-coding can be useful, but I don’t get enough benefit from it. I use whatever pen is handy (one on my desk or the one in the planner loop) to write what is needed. It just needs to be legible until it’s past or crossed off.

It’s simple, but it works.