“I’m just living for the weekend.”
Have you ever said these words? I can’t tell you how many of friends I have who seem to endure 120 hours per week just to get to 48 short ones. I’ve spoken these words myself from time to time.
I love what author Jon Acuff writes in his book, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck. He said, “It kills me that we eat at TGI Fridays and not TGI Mondays. We as a culture have accepted that work is where your fun goes to die and on the weekends you try to live again.”
I love Friday nights as much as the next guy, but I began wondering recently, “What if we didn’t have to suffer through the majority of our days for short weekends and once-a-year vacations?”
Building a Life You Don’t Need to Escape
Like you, I want to build a life I don’t need to escape constantly. Now, I believe in taking extended time off and using up all my vacation days every year. There’s huge value in drawing away. I do that on a weekly and monthly and yearly basis and I cover this in my previous post on healthy rhythms and seasons. But what about when you can’t run away from life? What are the little things which happen on a daily basis which keep you engaged, refreshed and fueled?
After deciding I was tired of living for the weekend, I audited my calendar and looked for the daily acts which renewed and refueled me. I found something every day which filled me up.
I identified habits I hadn’t really noticed and certain actions which I enjoyed but engaged inconsistently. I committed to one habit per day.
On Sundays, I now take a couple of hours (at minimum) to watch sports. I love getting my competitive spirit going, especially if the Arizona Cardinals are playing. I take time to celebrate wins on Mondays. Making a list of success points helps me get perspective on why my work matters. Tuesdays are my Creative Day. After a marathon of meetings on Monday, I focus on making something (an article, a sermon, a video, etc.) I get together with some good friends on Wednesday mornings. We drink coffee, check in with one another, encourage each other and laugh a lot. Our family has breakfast for dinner most Thursdays. Something about syrup, pancakes, waffles, bacon and my young kids brings joy to my heart. The bath time that follows is pretty fun, too. I take my four year-old son to lunch every Friday. It’s amazing to see the wonder and imagination he brings to even the littlest moments of his life. He helps me to recover my wonder. My wife and I do Date Night on Saturdays. These evenings remind me that our love is resilient and important.
5 Steps to Replenish and Recharge
Amidst this series on replenishing and recharging, I wanted to share a plan with those of you who won’t be leaving on a jet plane or snagging a condo on the water. You can recharge in the middle of the madness and replenish yourself. Here are the five steps I took, which you could do today!
1. Audit your weekly calendar.
Get a sense of what happens during a “normal” week. Instead of dreaming of an ideal day, get a sense of what your average week looks like, so you can begin making adjustments towards a more ideal flow.
2. Identify the things which renew and refresh you.
Look back over the last few months for moments where you felt engaged in the middle of regular everyday life. Some of our favorite moments aren’t expensive or elaborate. We need to pay attention to these moments where we felt alive and full.
3. Identify the days where you only have things which drain you.
For me, Mondays are an exhausting marathon of meetings. What is your “worst day?” Our goal is to schedule a fill-up during the drain so you can persevere.
4. Establish a habit or practice on the draining days.
The goal is at least one moment which renews and refreshes you. By starting with the worst days, we can expand to each day included habits and practices which refresh us. We only get one weekend per week, but we can get moments of rest, renewal and refilling every day.
5. Commit to these daily practices.
In my opinion, the best way to manage your life is your schedule. Committing to daily practices creates a more sustainable life. Also, calendar regular times of review to make sure you’re keeping these commitments.
I realized recently that I need to buy a new iPhone. Mine is nearly two years old, and the battery is not holding a charge like it used to when I first purchased it. I have one of those battery cases where I can charge it in the middle of the day. But I’m a heavy user, and even the battery case won’t get me through to bedtime. I pay far too much attention to the little battery icon these days.
The truth is we aren’t all that different from our phone batteries in this area. We slowly deplete our charge and need consistent renewal. However, it is far easier to check the status of your battery than the state of your soul. As terrible as a dead phone is, a burned out self is much worse. Taking time to replenish daily and refuel yourself will empower you to push through even the most difficult days and the longest seasons.
By all means, take your vacation time summer and get away this summer if you can. But in the meantime, find daily moments to replenish you. After all, it’s much easier to buy a new phone than it is to get a new you.