Friday, August 12, 2016

Simplify Your Life by Marcia Ramsland

As we grow older, we (hopefully) grow wiser. One of my favorite post-parenting lessons has been to learn to cut back on the busy activities that drain me and to increase the tasks and ministries that bring me joy. That's why I appreciated both of Marcia Ramsland's books Simplify Your Life and Simplify Your Time.

In Simplify Your Life, Ramsland encourages list makers (like me) to live horizontally rather than vertically. A vertical person looks at a long "to do" list from top to bottom and becomes overwhelmed. A horizontal person looks at a calendar ("the big picture") and sees where active days have to followed up with lighter ones. I started doing this even before reading about it in her book. Programming quiet and alone time after days of heavy social interaction has been revolutionary for me.

An overcommitted calendar is the quickest way to drain all the enthusiasm and momentum from your life, as well as the lives of your spouse and children. (p. 23)

She gives many suggestions for time management, but for me her best tip is to plan something into every day that gives you a deep sense of satisfaction. This would be different for everyone, but some of the things that I do are: Bible journaling, killer sudoku puzzles, read a good book, or bake bread. Or drink a cup of tea in a beautiful tea cup.

The second book, Simplify Your Time, centers more on reaching your goals. Denise Waitley says, "A goal is a dream with a date attached." Without attention to your personal goals, you will never find the time to do the things you really want to do. This is another practice that I've begun in the last few years that has made a big difference. With personal deadlines written into my calendar, an overwhelming project became do-able. And dreams that are always on the back burner start to happen.

None of this is rocket science, but every year I read at least one book on time management to make sure that I'm on track. Both of these books were helpful.

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