Olivia, our oldest kiddo, celebrated her second birthday yesterday. A world away, Rome Reports reports that the Pope is beginning his search for the next guy to take his old job–Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. What’s the relation? Time flies.
I can’t believe Olivia is two years old. She’s my little
baby, toddler, preschooler? (I still say she’s a toddler, but BabyCenter disagrees.) My reaction when I read the Rome Reports headline was similar—Cardinal Levada was just appointed! Why is the Holy Father searching for his replacement already? Then, it hit me. He was appointed in 2005. Over six years ago.
I catch myself, too often I’m afraid, telling myself that I’ll get around to starting this or that big dream “someday” or “pretty soon”. The truth is, however, that I would keep on saying that everyday while being more and more frustrated at my lack of progess.
In addition to being frustrating to us, I imagine that God must be frustrated with us sometimes too. Of all of the gifts God gives to us, the most universal is time. We are all given some amount of time to discover our God-given talents, advance our skill level and use those things to make the world a better place. Some of us, it’s an incredibly short amount of time and others are given a century or more.
At the same time, it is likely the most universally wasted gift.
No, we don’t need to be, always and at every moment, actively engaged in discernment or productive activity, but how often to we truly waste time? In part to be accountable to the greater Austin Catholic community and in part to help jump start some thinking for yourselves, here are three resolutions I’ve set to help me do the most with the time which God has blessed me.
1. Consumption of Information
Whereas, I greatly enjoy breaking news. When Hurricane Ike hit Galveston, one of the local stations simulcasted the Houston-area station and I watched it until 4 a.m. With Hurricane Irene or yesterday’s Oklahoma City wildfire, I was constantly refreshing Twitter annoyed that no new updates occurred in the 30 seconds since I last refreshed. I have found a balance with Twitter, Facebook, etc in my life—until anything “breaking” happened.
Whereas, I love knowing things. Some useful, mostly random and obscure. Wikipedia is my best friend and my worst enemy. When a bit of information would be useful, it answers quickly. But then… it happens.
Therefore, be it resolved, that I will maintain my normal scheduled Twitter/Facebook checks (3x a day) with the only exception being something that is truly urgent with immediate relation to me or my family.
2. Consumption of Entertainment
Whereas, movies and TV are great. Sometimes, we really do need to unwind or there is a particular movie or show that we feel edified by watching. Sometimes it informs us, allows us to see hope in the world or a whole list of good things.
Whereas, while ignoring that there is plenty of content on television or released on DVD that is never worth anyone’s time to watch, I tend to find myself trapped into watching TV that I simply don’t care about. In most cases, I’m bored and I’m too lazy in that moment to think about what I could be doing. Even a show that is worth watching is virtually never worth watching a second time just because nothing else is on and sometimes, even a show that is worth watching is just too long (I’m looking at you The Voice).
Therefore, be it resolved, that, in agreement with my wife, we will return to only watching TV when there is a specific show we wish to watch.
3. The List
Whereas, I have a long list-in-my-head of things I want to get down, I don’t write them down in a system that captures everything. For the fans of GTD, you’ll know that if you can’t trust your system, your mind won’t let you forget about it and let you focus at the task at hand. Same thing here. I have my “100 Things To Do In Life” list in Remember the Milk, I have an outdated five-year goal list that was never complete in the first place, I have some random post it notes or paper clippings in a folder here.
Whereas, in short, when I have time, I don’t know what I truly want to be doing with it. I don’t take time to review all my options and pick the next two or three that matter most now. Unless there’s a deadline on the calendar, things tend to always be left for this nebula of “Yeah, I’m still working on that.”
Therefore, be it resolved, that I’m going to compile all of my various lists and on a biweekly basis, review it to prioritize “what’s next”.
In short, God has blessed each of us with so much potential that, personally, I want to do a better job of working toward that potential.
What about you? What would be your resolutions to either waste less time or use your time more efficiently?