Six Ways To Be Intentional With Time

 

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If life is a dance, then time is your partner.

I could be a couch potato. It wouldn’t be that hard really…except…time won’t let me. She keeps whispering in my ear, driving me crazy with her relentless reminders that the music of my life will only play for so long. She tugs on my hand, urging me up off the couch, inviting me to move with her, because… if life is a dance, then time is my partner. 

How intentional are you with time?

I’ve learned to pay attention to time’s whisper. She’s created a restlessness inside of me that drives me on, encouraging me to see life as a dance that I can choreograph. I can choose the music. I can choose my routine. I can be purposeful and intentional about everything I do.

It wasn’t always this way though.

When I was young my life was a lazy, gentle waltz that I wanted to rush through. I complained constantly about how slowly time moved when I was bored, or how quickly she moved when I begged her to slow down. We were terrible dance partners, mostly because I didn’t understand the value of partnering with her.

Using time with intention is the key to building an abundant, purpose-driven life

How do you get the most out of your partnership with time so that you can live with full intention?

1.  Be mindful about the time you have.

When I worked for others I watched the clock as much as anyone else, not out of a desire for productivity but to count down the hours until I could freestyle the rest of my day away.

And then I went to work for myself and everything changed.

It got harder… and time and I re-defined our relationship. I had to become more mindful about how I viewed time, so I began to view her as my partner in my quest for a fully intentioned life; not the ungainly, awkward, toe-smashing one who would yank me around the floor, but as my willing partner, ready to show me moves I didn’t know I was capable of, spin me around to places I didn’t know I could go, and together achieve the divinely designed dance God wants me to have. 

There comes a point in every woman’s life when she has to grow up. When you were young time was your playful companion. You could be carefree and careless with her. You could let her slip playfully away, knowing she’d tap you on the shoulder soon enough. 

Life’s different now and so is your relationship with time. 

She won’t be around forever, and when the music finally stops, she’s not coming back.

Time is planning to leave you!

If that doesn’t give you a sense of urgency, nothing can. 

It’s not that you need to worry or be stressed about her going.

That’s not it.

It’s that you need to be very, very, very intentional about how you move with her from this point forward.

2.  Determine your intentions, then schedule the time.

Music defines your dance, whether that’s a sassy salsa or a formal foxtrot. In the dance of life, the song you select is determined by your purpose, in this lifetime and beyond. Your purpose is derived from your beliefs or values (not your roles).

If you don’t know what you’re dancing to or why you’re even on the dance floor, it’s going to be impossible to capture our attention.

The pace or tempo of your life sets the mood, translates feeling and conveys connection and smoothness. Ask yourself, if the world is your audience, are they bored or paying rapt attention? Too many times, when our purpose isn’t well-defined, the end result is a relationship with time that has very little connection with the music. We see you moving, but not going anywhere intentional.

3.  Do a daily self-check on how intentional you’re being with your time

Your day-to-day routine needs to be in sync with the life you are intentionally creating. In the early stages of your partnership you’re still figuring out the mechanics of your dance; your dreams, goals and the daily habits you’ve put into place that support those dreams and goals. If they aren’t well-defined then how can you and time learn to move harmoniously?

Two appointments you need to make every day; one with God and one with yourself. God is your ultimate guide for how to dance a life of abundance and joy. You need His help! So talk to Him about the life you want to create, then listen as He tells you what He wants to see in your dance.

Second, an appointment with you is essential for living intentionally. It gives you opportunity to think about and structure your day mindfully, to determine your priorities and align your goals with your current habits.  

Sometimes, though, it may feel like time’s not working with you. 

Don’t blame time.

Life is filled with distractions that take your mind off of your own dance. Take inventory for a few days of all the ways you let yourself be pulled away from your own choreography. Was it worth it? What price did you (and others) pay as a result?

With the proper use of time management tools (which really just means managing yourself better) you can smooth out the initial awkwardness; the missteps, bungled turns, impractical lifts. There’s no need to count steps under your breath anymore. 

With practice you achieve…not perfection.

Perfection’s not attainable in this lifetime, though you shouldn’t stop trying to attain it.

Instead, you create a seamless, breathtaking dance of beauty that leaves us mesmerized…and wanting more.

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4.  Find the routine that works best for, then stick to it

Time can be unruly. She marches on relentlessly whether you know what you’re doing or not. She’ll step on your toes, sweep you off your feet and climb over you while you’re flat on your back, in her quest to keep moving forward. 

That’s just her style. 

She doesn’t stand still; as long as the music’s playing she’s moving.

So learn to move with her. You can’t slow her down, or tug her back. It won’t work. But that doesn’t mean she needs to lead either. Stop trying to control her and instead control yourself, by assessing how you’re currently using time. 

Sometimes you’re swaying slowly – the day has just started and your brain is in a coffee-deprived fog; at other times your toes are tapping energetically and you’re ready to “cha cha cha” your way through that to-do list. 

When are you at your best? When are you the most creative? Energetic? Feel the most like dancing?

Lists, planners and calendars are tools that help you be mindful of the life you’ve purposed to create. They keep you on track and give you a record of what you’ve already achieved. Use them correctly and efficiently and your life will begin to demonstrate that to others. 

Time gives you support – but only you know when it’s time to pirouette. 

5.  Using time intentionally means giving it your all

Enjoy the time you have…while you have it.After all, there’s more to a beautiful, intentional life than just memorizing the dance steps. There’s passion.

To live intentionally, you must love to live!

You must be able to find joy in the midst of chaos. 

Peace in the midst of turmoil…

Contentment in the face of uncertainty…

You must know the difference between happiness that is derived from others’ applause and the sheer exhilaration that comes from just throwing everything you have into your dance.

Those who have a zest for life aren’t those who have suffered or struggled with less. They are those who have learned to incorporate those struggles and sufferings into their routine. 

Think about the obstacles that continually pop up for you: negative self-talk; hurtful wounds from the past; relationships that drag you down.

It’s up to you to figure out what’s keeping you from enjoying your life and then do something about it.

In actual fact it is the challenges that you face that make your dance worth watching. Not because you crave applause (though that will come), but because you’ve learned to just love dancing.

6.  Don’t waste your time on wasted pursuits, but be mindful of others’ time too

You’re finally moving in sync, only to feel that tap on your shoulder. Someone’s come to “steal” your partner away for a spin.

If you let them, that is.

You can say no. It’s your time.

If you “loan” her out or give her away to something or someone who disrespects your dance, that’s on you. 

Just remember, you’re not the only one dancing, so be respectful. Time is an equal opportunity dance partner. You don’t have to give her away, but you do have to share the dance floor. 

Enjoy the beauty of others’ dances as you twirl on by.  Feel free to incorporate some new moves into your routine as you admire what others have achieved. Just don’t get distracted from your own dance.

Finally, avoid stepping on toes or bumping into others, but when it inevitably happens – you disrespect someone else’s dance with time (or they disrespect yours) – don’t use it as an excuse to sit down. 

Never stop trying to make better use of your time. Keep dancing!

As you and time whirl and twirl your way through this life, have fun, but know this; your dance with time is the  preparation ground for something big…much BIGGER than you or I can possibly imagine. If your dance only focuses on the here and now you’re missing the point.

So yes, I could be a couch potato. So could you.   

But I for one don’t want to. I’d rather take time’s hand, get off that couch and go dance my way to something AMAZING.

  

1 Comments

  1. Debbie Pierce on November 20, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks Codi for your comment! Can’t wait see what kind of ‘dance" you’ve been inspired to choreograph 🙂

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