The Days Of Our Lives

How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.

Annie Dillard

I have a love-hate relationship with time. I love that I have it and am grateful for every moment that is mine. I hate how hard it is to corral it, and to create a framework that enables me to spend those moments in meaningful ways.

There is no question that time is one of the most valuable resources entrusted to us, and like any other asset at our disposal, it is about so much more than mere management. It is about stewardship.

What will we do with the time we have?

It seems like a question worthy of some serious consideration, and today was my day to consider.

Taking different colored sticky notes, I created four categories, and the endeavors and activities that fall under each. Putting them up in separated columns on the wall, I began moving the pieces around to reflect my priorities. It wasn’t an exercise in creating a longterm plan. I was building a platform for creating a life.

When the picture felt complete, I began playing around with the calendar function shared on all of my devices. I use iCal exclusively for organizing my days, and so assigned a different color to each category so that my calendar visually mirrored the sticky notes on the wall.

While providing ample time for each category, I also built in margins. Times that provide a buffer and build in a sense of spaciousness. Looking at this newly emerging framework, I was reminded that just because there is open space on my calendar doesn’t mean I need to fill it. I began to get a glimpse of how knowing what matters will help me know what to do when, and make more clear what is mine to do. And, what is not. The further along in the process, the more I could see how I can better connect who I am at my core with how I live out in the world.

It’s still a work in progress, and hopefully will be until I run out of the moments that are mine to live. I can expect that for the rest of my days the unanticipated, good, bad, and otherwise, will show up and blow a carefully planned day out of the water, because time is meant to be fluid, not rigid.

Annie Dillard is right.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

Which means, of course, that to be good stewards of our lives, we must first become good stewards of our days.

In case you’re wondering, my categories were: Molly; People; Vocation; Everything Else. In that order.

What are yours?

Paris Clock Photo: Tom Pierson

Paris Clock Photo: Tom Pierson