Pacing Life: a balanced lifestyle without employment
Here are some considerations for finding a new balance following a change in employment or other responsibilities.

Some Principles

If, for any reason, you move from full time employment to part time work or none you may need to find a new balance of activity and possibly a different pace.

As Christians we have a responsibility to use our time well: to worship, to serve, to take recreation and rest. It’s important to be intentional and strategic: to be clear about our calling and priorities and to exercise some level of planning and time management.

 

Rhythms

Some of us are better than others at managing our time. That won’t automatically change in this new phase of life. But this may be an opportunity to find new ways to order our time and balance our lives.

  • Some like a more structured approach than others.

  • We need to find a new rhythm that works well for us, which allows both flexibility and a measure of discipline.

What might be a helpful rhythm for you in this next phase of life? Here are some suggestions, though only you can find your own balance.

 

Daily

In waking hours after devotional time and the activities required for daily living, a allocate time for each for:

  • Chores and service

  • Recreation & social activity

  • Rest and relaxation

 

Weekly

Some people may find it helpful to allocate specific days such as:

  • For part time work or voluntary service

  • Spreading the household activities such as admin, cleaning, gardening, shopping across the other days

  • Taking a day a week as Sabbath

  • Taking a full day a week for fun activities and outings: things to look forward to

  • Allocating time to spend with those closest to you including friends, family and your spouse (if you are married).

 

Monthly and Annual

  • Scheduling holidays and trips

  • Regular activities like tax returns or spring cleans or preparations for Christmas!

  

Managing your diary

  • You will still need somewhere to record your appointments whether it’s a diary or on your mobile or computer…

  • You may be a person who likes lists, these are as valid outside work as in it.

  • Diaries need to be slaves rather than masters, we need to control them, rather than they control us.

  • Set yourself realistic expectations and timescales.

  • Take a few minutes, at the start of the month, week or day to look at the month ahead, the week ahead, the day ahead. Bring prayer into this activity and ask God’s guidance about how you will prioritise and spend your time.

    • Have you got the balance right? What could you leave till tomorrow or next week or next month?

      • What’s important and urgent... this is a priority today or this week

      • What’s important but not urgent… you need to plan time for this before it becomes urgent!

      • What’s not important but urgent… beware spending too much time on these activities

      • What’s not important and not urgent… are these really necessary at all? If so limit your time on them

    • What are the activities that will give you a sense of purpose or achievement?

    • Are there some quick wins to give you a sense of satisfaction and some treats (activities not biscuits!) to reward yourself for the chores?

  • Don’t forget the invisible diary: all those things that take our time for which we don’t have specific appointments.

  • You may need to find new strategies for saying “NO”, to filter out the low priorities.

 

Banish the Time Wasting Traps

  • Pray about what’s in your diary

  • Be clear about your calling and priorities

  • Prioritise and plan

  • Learn when and how to say NO; don’t say yes straight away

  • Ensure you’re giving focused quality time to each activity, rather than quantity time

  • Prevent the unimportant tasks from eating up your time.

 

Self-worth without paid employment

Often the first question during social introductions is “What do you do?”

  • How do you tend to introduce yourself?

  • How might you introduce yourself in the future? Without saying “I used to be…”

  • How do your new ideas for an introduction feel? Why is this? You may need to experiment for a while until you find forms of words that you are comfortable with…

 

We all like a pat on the back, to be appreciated and thanked. In a work context we may have had encouraging appraisals, we may have received positive feedback and thanks for work we’ve done. It will have made us feel valued. Some of us may not have felt valued in our work, we may have received more negative than positive feedback!

  • Where might your encouragement and positive feedback come from in the future?

  • How might you appraise your own self-worth?

 

Its important to remember that as Christians we are first and foremost children of God and citizens of heaven. Reflect on who you are, on being rather than doing. Passages such as Romans 8:14-17, Ephesians 2: 4-10 & 19-22, Philippians 3:20-21, 1 Peter 2:9 and 1 John 3:1 may prove helpful.

 

Signposts

 

Author and copyright: Helen Calder 2019