Taking Back the Day: Redeeming and Reclaiming Your Time
Updated: Aug 13
It's interesting how time seems to go faster with each passing year. There's actually an entire article on this phenomenon in Psychology Today. As more chapters of my life unfold, the faster they seem to speed by. Time is a funny thing. It's what we live by, watch, waste, and wish for. We have no control over its steady march into the future yet incredible power in how we choose to spend each day.
Like William Penn said, "Time is what we want the most, but what we use the worst." It's a personal goal of mine to be a better steward of my own time, treating it like the gift it really is. So even if you're in a rush today, wishing the clock would tick faster or slow down, let's start to redeem and reclaim our time today!
What It Means to Redeem Your Time
To redeem your time is a calling to a higher perspective, one not bound to life on earth, which we know comes to an end eventually. Just like it says in Ecclesiastes, "He has planted eternity in the human heart..." we are reminded that there is a beyond, and an after, our heavenly home. Adopting this truth for ourselves takes on an entirely new lens that changes how we view this time on earth. It allows us to see beyond the struggles we're facing now (Romans 8:18), pour grace over others (Colossians 4:5-6) and accept fresh mercies each morning (Lamentations 3:23). Praise God for that mercy!
This also gives us true hope in knowing that our individual roles on earth, YOUR own uniquely important story, is part of a bigger picture. There is purpose in what you're experiencing and how your time is unfolding. YOU have purpose. And only you can be YOU in order to fulfill that purpose in God's plan.
What others say about redeeming time:
How to Reclaim Your Time
I don't know how many times I've reached the end of the day feeling less than accomplished. Hours of doing stuff, but very little to show for it. Or, so It seems. The day gets away from us sometimes; it happens. So what exactly does it mean to reclaim the time?
Taking back your time doesn't make you selfish or stingy with those precious minutes, but rather implies healthy life-balance. It's time management that dials down some of the noise that comes with rushing through the day, and allows us to embrace individual moments. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live with the constant feeling that time is flying and completely out of my control. Because it's not. While there will always be mandatory commitments and curveballs that are truly out of our control, to live with a sense of ownership over the gift of each day is empowering and very possible.
Here are a few tips:
Start the day off right
I'm one of those snooze-button people with 3 alarms and always have been. Carving out 15-20 minutes of my morning for quality quiet time is a challenge, but I do notice a difference in my day. The quietness of the morning also promotes rejuvenation and peace in our minds as well. It doesn't always happen or play out perfectly, but starting my day like this reorients my heart and mind by dwelling on those things- hello eternal perspective again.
Evaluate "productivity" standards
If you're a fellow performance-driven achiever, you know how it is when you've run out of hours in the day and still don't feel like you've accomplished enough. There will always be dishes to wash and laundry to fold. Lunches to pack and phone calls to make.
1. Prioritize- what do you NEED to accomplish on this calendar day?
2. Don't beat yourself up when you choose to spend your time doing something that might be more important.
Don't glorify procrastination
I'm sure not everyone does this, but it has become a bit of a joke in our society to put off responsibility. I've certainly written off my tendency to wait until the last minute or be late to everything as a sort of cutesy-quality but what it really is is poor time management. Period. My dad sets his clocks several minutes ahead so he's nearly always on time or early, which we used to poke fun of but punctuality is nothing to scoff at, especially when it really matters. It gains respect from others and makes us feel better about ourselves.
Maintain a passion
A "passion" might simply be something manageable that you enjoy- like cooking, getting your nails done, jogging, doing puzzles. One study explored how those who don't build something enjoyable into their day or week wind up feeling the burden of time pressure. The daily grind is just that- a grind. Those who spent a little extra time and money on something small they enjoy doing found joy and felt less time constraints in their schedules overall.
We talked about boundaries recently. As much as possible, aim to live with the policy of making your yes really be YES and your no's be NO. Stick to your guns. If you made a commitment, follow through but carefully filter social, relational, and workplace requests before you sign yourself up. If there's a looming question or decision clouding your vision, accept that the best answer might be no.
Make productive rest a thing
Mommas- I see that gaping need for rest and lack of available time. This is HARD. But I'm realizing even when I want to write here or exercise (rather, feel like I should) the best route is to read. Or stretch on the floor. Or take a long shower. Doing something simple for yourself is not unproductive. Just like when on a plane we're instructed to put our own oxygen masks on first, take this as your instruction to breathe first or you'll be no good to anyone else.
I chuckled to myself when writing this one because I rush literally everywhere. It's just no good. Not only does it leave us frenzied and somewhat irritated, but I'm convinced it hinders driving ability, mental clarity, and the ease of stepping into a new activity with uninhibited joy. Even if you're running late and tempted to speed-walk, hurry through a task to get to the next thing, or drive a little faster, resist. Acknowledge that things will be accomplished in time. You'll get to where you need to be. Your task will be completed. It will be okay.
No one is going to savor every moment of everyday. We are humans, after all. We complain both of boredom and being too busy. We rush around but are often late. We're united under the status of work in progress and that's okay! Learning to take back the day and practice redeeming and reclaiming your time is another one of those life-long endeavors.
Challenge yourself this week with spending a few minutes at the end of your day to reflect:
--> If you had to recap your day from start to finish, are you proud of how you spent your time? What would you do differently that you might be able to implement in the future? Who can help you stay accountable when working on redeeming and reclaiming the hours of your day?