Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thought Provoking Time Targets Thursday

The timing was wonderful – in today’s email inbox was an article from Laura Vanderkam on “How to slow down and savor the rest of summer.”  Perfect – August 1st, a new start for the remaining summer of 2013.  One line I loved from one of her blog readers saying that June was the Friday night of the summer, so August must be the Sunday equivalent.  Being one who, even though I love my job(s), still tends to get a healthy dose of the Sunday night blue meanies every now and then, this analogy resonated deep within me.  Remember when summer days lasted forever? Sigh…

Well, Laura Vanderkam’s article instilled a fresh breath of encouragement and hope as I look at the next 792 hours (including Labor Day weekend).  Yep, yep, yep… 792 hours.  As I can’t seem to locate a link on her blog to this particular article, I am pasting an excerpt from it below.  I also encourage you to read her blog (click HERE) and books – she’s a favorite author of mine!!

"That’s plenty of time, and there are plenty of ways to savor every last hour of this season, whether you’ll be spending 168 hours or more on vacation, or even if you’ll be working at least 160 of those hours.

Any breezy evening can become a different kind of happy hour as you linger outside, strolling on the streets, or having a beer on the porch.

Exercising in the morning -- running on a trail as the early sun streams through the trees -- can make any of those 33 days seem full of possibility.

If you brown bag your lunch at work, a 30 minute spot of free time can become a picnic, ideally with colleagues you like or a friend who works nearby.

Weekends bring options for beach trips or excursions to county fairs with their kiddie rides and comically large milkshakes.

Even work hours don’t have to be dreary. Take a conference call outside. Commute with the windows open. Walk to a coffee shop on your breaks.

And to make sure it doesn’t all slip through your fingers, write these moments of August down. I’ve been keeping a “Summer 2013” list with a few wonderful, quirky, or just fun things that happened each day. Without the list, I might have remembered that I awoke the morning of June 27 in Paradise Inn on Mt. Rainier and saw snow out my window. But I’m not sure I would have remembered that I baked muffins on the morning of June 7 and then returned to bed to eat my breakfast there, that I drank port and ate oysters in a restaurant on Rittenhouse Square on June 14, that July 15 was a “tri” day featuring running, biking, and swimming, or that I went swimming twice (!) on July 23.

Time in retrospect often seems to have gone fast, but our perception of time is partly influenced by how many new experiences and memories our brains are processing. By choosing to focus on varied experiences -- and choosing to create them, and choosing to remember them -- time seems to slow down. You can linger in those 792 hours, focusing on the now instead of the fall to come."

Based on the last several days of my blog here, have you determined what stumbling block entanglements you will be eliminating for the month of August?  What are your August goals?  You have 792 hours in which to accomplish them or at least make a major dent in them.  I want you to feel encouragement and excitement and anticipation as you think of this new month.  Endless possibilities for achievement, love, laughter and rest.  It’s up to you – it’s your choice how you will begin, but whatever you do, be in a giant step or one small itsy-bitsy toehold to your future, begin it today. 

I’ve chosen to eliminate random television viewing from my schedule this month.  Sometimes I’ll just flip the TV on and the next thing I know, I’m up too late watching some chef get chopped, or the 10th viewing of some old classic beloved movie which at this point I can quote verbatim.  Not that these aren’t fun, but it’s a major timewaster and sleep-stealer.  Therefore, I will only watch specific pre-scheduled or pre-taped television or DVD movie.  I will eliminate the casual habit of the “plug-in drug” and exchange that time with reading.  My goal is to read the following books (most in Kindle) in August (aside from my textbooks for my college class): 

(1) Daily reading of my Bible as I pursue the goal of reading it through in one year; (spiritual)

My goal is to read one book a week, and I’ve tried to have a good cross-section of topics to help balance out my brain, body, spirit and time!  Now maybe I won’t get it all done, but I’m not stressing over it – this is my goal, not a plan to beat myself up and sabotage my calm into a stressful “Gotta read this! Gotta read this!” page-flipping frenzy.

I am also taking the suggestion from Vanderkam to journal in August… every day.  I’ve been improving in my journal-writing consistency and wish to continue that flow/trend in my life, and this is just the little pop of “stick-to-it” that I needed.  I would cheer you on to do the same.

Happy first day of August, wild women, and as the old phrase says, first day of the rest of your life.  May the next 792 hours be amazing, meaningful and the best yet – choose each day to make it so!


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