• Hope Butcher

Weekly Oxygen

Do you consider Friday-Sunday more of a weekendor week-beginning? As someone who who lives out of my planner and obsesses over organizational details, I tend to treat the traditional weekend as more of a restart to my week. For our family, Sunday is a work day. We pastor a church and there are obviously all sorts of responsibilities tied to that day of the week. Over the years we have picked different days of the week to spend our true Sabbath. That selected day has changed over time as our children have grown and are involved in different things. For my week, I feel like things are just getting started when Friday rolls around. The Friday-Saturday combo has never been a put-on-your-sweats-and-chill kind of time. We work through the day on Saturday preparing for Sunday and on top of that, most people schedule events on Saturday. I never go into the weekend expecting time off. Then, if Saturday randomly happens to end up free, BONUS! 

My debriefing "weekend" time seems to start on Monday. This is the time that I start thinking through the days ahead, assessing the week before and hanging out in my pajamas a little longer than is socially acceptable. I also don't set the alarm for Monday morning. Of course, there are still starvinglittle faces standing by the bed staring at me around 7 am but something about not having to wake up to my alarm makes me feel like I'm getting more rest. 

For me, wrapping up a week looks like this: 

1. What's coming up?

My schedule is  tricky thing. Like most people, there are a hundred routine things that happen throughout every single week. Every week we host our VC Students group. Every week we host a small group. Every week my kids go to band, choir, art, gymnastics and swim. Every week we have regular therapy appointments for our youngest. Still, stuck in the gaps between those appointments are the coffee appointments with church families, monthly meetings that require my presence and special events I don't want to miss. As I wrap up one week and start the next I need to see my schedule visually laid out and those extra things highlighted. I have a color-coding system for all of the possible things.

Yellow-this is for family time-- my favorite! So, it's yellow like sunshine! I also currently use this color for Truitt's activities because even though I am obligated to all of his different appointments, the one-on-one time is precious and life-giving to me.

Blue- this is for stuff I'm obligated to but not necessarily really excited about. These aren't negative things, but it probably represents me pouring out of my time and energy into someone or something else, without being guaranteed to get something back. 

Green- Green is for growth- personal growth. Whether it be times of spiritual growth or ways I'm improving myself physically, like a workout class, I use green.

Purple-my boys' activities get purple. I don't know why...maybe it was the only color left available. Shhh, don't tell them!

Pink-Well, Ava gets pink. Anything having to do with her specifically gets written in or highlighted pink.

Another reason this is so helpful, is that as I see my week laid out on paper (yes, paper. I love you iCal but I have to also use an actual paper planner!), I can see what category is getting most of my time. If it's a reasonable amount of time for that particular category, that's good. But, sometimes it allows me to notice that too much of my time (aka too much of me!) is being poured into a particular thing, without balancing it out with the other things. It's just a really helpful practice that has benefitted the balance in my life for years. 

2. What was missing out of last week?

This is one I'm trying to get better at. We should always be positively assessing our experiences- what went well, what was off, what could be better? Looking back, immediately after an event or a time in our life, and assessing that time right away is much more helpful than waiting until it comes up again the next month or even year and trying to remember the wins or misses. Companies do this all the time. Immediately following an event they will meet to assess and tweak the plan for next time. Sure, you could come off the week or event and just flop down and veg out for two days but assessing everything while it is fresh and the emotions are fresh is much more beneficial.  

So, going into a new week I might find that I felt completely hectic and spread too thin the week before. Sometimes this is beyond my control and different things just happened, but usually there are ways I could have approached the week that would have helped tame some of that chaos. Maybe I realized that I'm not spending enough time taking care of my health. Maybe I have goals about working out and this is a good opportunity to find where I'm going to make time for that in the upcoming week.

3. Finally, I breathe. 

At the end of a week and before I jump into the next one, I take a minute (or at least a morning) to breathe. I choose to not rush into that day. I choose to go easy on myself and my family if school drags a bit through the day and we don't always complete everything on our list. We have to breathe. We have to laugh and lean into thankfulness and joy and we have to let ourself rest for a moment. There will always be things on the list to do. There will always be appointments you could have squeezed into that time but it's important to have some space of time set aside for breathing in your life. I'm stingy about my Mondays. If someone contacts me about meeting or arranging an appointment I protect my Monday morning as long as I can. I will say, and it's not a lie, "I am not available on that morning." If an emergency comes up I won't be mad but I will never offer that time to anyone but the Lord and then to my husband and kids. It is the oxygen for my week.

We all have to learn how to self assess and get better. Letting life just happen to you is no way to live. We were created with so much more potential than that! What kind of things have you implemented in your week to help you catch your breath and be excellent the next week? I'd love to hear about them!

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