Paulelmo's Blog

Don’t forget to put R and R time on your To-Do list

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I know what you’re going through. I’m down with your struggle. You’ve got work and the kids. You’ve got the house and the family. You’ve got dinner and the lawn and the bills. You’ve got scholastic sports and extracurricular activities and after school duties. You’ve got homework help and teenage heartbreak, or you’ve got retirement planning and the lawn. You’ve got the gym, your book club, and paint night.

Whatever its color and flavor, no matter what activities fill up your time, your time is indeed filled up.

If you’re the kind of person who cares to take the time to read something like this, then you’re upwardly mobile and always busy.

It might seem like you never have time to relax and that you never get enough rest. How can you expect yourself to get any rest when you have such a full plate? How can you be expected to relax when you’re so busy?

These are questions I used to ask. People see me at work these days, and they get the impression that I don’t know how to relax when I get home. That isn’t the case. I relax quite nicely.

If there’s one thing I can say about myself, it’s this: I get a lot accomplished, and I’ve found that the secret to getting a lot accomplished is by not allowing any of my time to be wasted. I learned a long time ago that, when I have a long list of things to get done, it doesn’t typically matter where I begin; rather, it only matters that I do begin. Yes, sometimes there are more time sensitive tasks on my list, but generally keeping myself occupied with whatever presents itself next suffices.

The greatest benefit from getting a lot done is that I can take comfort in it; I never feel like I should be getting more done. This affords me the ability to rest and relax regularly; it allows me the freedom to prove to myself that plenty of good rest and relaxation are necessary parts of my schedule.

John Quincy Adams said something that helps. He said “Duty is ours; results are God’s.” Said another way, that’s “All you can do is all you can do.”

I like the sports adage “Leave it all on the field.” If we do everything we can, if we leave it all on the field, if we stay true to our duties and leave the rest up to God (fate, the Universe, or whatever higher power you prefer), then we can be satisfied with our efforts. That allows us the ability to give ourselves the rest we need to stay so focused, so accomplished.

I’m only saying these things because I see so many of you getting so stressed and/or down on yourselves because you don’t feel like you’re doing enough, when, in fact, you’re doing all you can do. You can’t expect yourself to do any more than that.

And, upon reaching that level of effort and accomplishment, you can lighten up on yourself a little. You’ve done your duty, and you can leave it up to God to handle the results, and I don’t think God is going to begrudge you the rest you need to be at your best.

I know He won’t begrudge me that, and that’s why I can say I don’t allow any of my time to be wasted while still affording myself the ability to get the rest I need and an appropriate amount of relaxation time. Those things are necessary for me to keep the schedule I do, and I know that I get more accomplished by allowing myself to recharge and rejuvenate myself with those periods.

I want to finish with this. When I began writing this post over the weekend, I did so with nobody in particular in mind; rather, I just knew that I often come into contact with someone who just feels like they’re up against it, like there’s just not enough time in the day to do all they need to get done. Since then I’ve encountered two such people, which showed me that there are people out there who need to hear this message. To that, I say this: If you are such a person, ease up a little. I have to believe that God is fair; He’s got your back, and if you’re giving it your all, He’s not going to allow you to suffer because you took a little time for yourself. What’s more, relaxing will help you be better and more efficient at all those tasks you have on your list.

So, relax a little; catch your breath, and take a moment to note all you do get done. Be proud of yourself. The kids are well and attended to. The laundry is done. The bills are paid. And…even if those aren’t all completely true right now, you’ve done your best; you’re doing your best, and, while that might not be enough for you, it’s enough for God, and He’s got your back.

Love, warm thoughts, and prayers, friends. Hope to see you back here sometime soon.

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