How to Slow Down Life by being Frugal with your Time

I spend a lot of time on this site talking about being frugal with your money. However, being frugal with your time is also important.  Do you want to know how to slow down life?

how to slow down life

We live in a very busy time.  People commute farther then ever, kids do more extra-curriculars then ever before, and often we are being pulled a million different ways.  Trying to cram it all into a 24 hour day can feel overwhelming and at times impossible.

What does it mean to be frugal with your time, anyways?  Well, if we are frugal with our money, we try to be careful on how much of it we spend.  We give thought to where each penny is going.  We decide that we have to cut back on one thing to pay for another.  Sometimes we have to cut expenses out because the money just isn’t there.

The same can be said for our time.  Are we careful on how we spend it?  Do we make sure we have enough time to do all we need to do or are we trying to use more time than we have hours?  Do we spread ourselves too thin?

Here’s the thing.  Depending on the season of life you are in, it can be difficult to balance everything.  There are going to be times that you are busier than others.  All you can do is look at where you are and consider how you can slow down life and manage your time better with whatever circumstances you are given.

WHEN LIFE IS CONSTANTLY CRAZY BUSY

If you have kids, like I do, you will find that time is a very precious commodity.  My 3 kids are all under the age of 11.  When they were babies and toddlers I was EXHAUSTED.  There was no time to take care of myself.  It was difficult to keep up with the house.  Dates out with my husband was a rare occurrence.

No question about it, that was a hard time.  I remember thinking to myself that once the kids got a little older, things would slow down.

Well, to my surprise, it hasn’t.  If anything, life has gotten busier.  Sure, I get more solid sleep now and don’t have to nurse babies or change diapers thankfully, but that has been replaced with new things.  The kids have extra-curriculars they need to be driven to, and homeschooling definitely is more time consuming the older they get.  Also, no longer can I get away with handing them some fish crackers, cheese, and chunks of kielbasa for lunch.  They are growing and need bigger, more substantial meals.  Which means more cooking.  Lots of cooking to keep up with their constant snacking needs!

Oh, and when I do cook, they want to help.  Which is a great time to spend some quality time together while they are learning, but any mom knows it takes twice as long to do.

So,  having kids is a busy time for sure, no matter how old they are.  A beautiful, would-not-trade-it-for-the-world kind of busy time, but nonetheless 24 hours seems like just not enough time each day.

HOW TO SLOW DOWN LIFE

Therefore, I’m very guarded with my time.  We work hard to not over-commit.  While we are involved in things like church, we try to be careful to not overdo it.  We keep the extra-curriculars to a minimum.

We say no sometimes to get-togethers that we would like to be at.  There might be work to do on the homestead, or the kids may have had a long week and are overtired, or we might just need a night at home.

Because, when we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else.

You have to decide what is important to you, and what you want to say yes to.   Don’t continually say yes to the things that don’t add value to our life.  They can end up filling up your schedule and then you have no time for the things you really want to say yes to.

Obviously there are things we can’t avoid.  We have to say yes to working or there won’t be food on the table.  We have to make time for laundry or our family will be running around without clothes (yikes!).  We have to make schoolwork a priority or our kids won’t progress later in life.

But you can stop saying yes to everything that comes your way.  I find we get so caught up in “obligatory” yeses.  You know the ones.  “If I don’t say yes, so and so will be mad at me.”

That’s true.  You might make someone upset.  But, generally, they will eventually get over it.  And I don’t want to look back at the things I’ve done and see that I only said yes to half of them to keep someone else happy.

When I say no to something, I still don’t like if it makes someone mad who feels I should be there.  But I’ve learned to be okay with it.

Because, my kids are only young once.  If I fill my days with things that will exhaust me and give my best to too many other things, I only have the leftovers for my family, I know I would regret that one day.  I want to slow down and enjoy life while they are still here in my home.

Aside from the fact that filling our schedule beyond what we can handle takes us away form the things we want to do, what also often happens is that we are spread so thin over too many commitments or jobs that we don’t end up bringing our best to the things we’ve given our time to.  We can get to the point where each job or commitment is not being done well because we just can’t do it all!  We can end up just going through the motions, trying to get through our day.

And let’s be honest.  What’s one of the first things to go when you don’t have enough time?  Often it is taking care of ourselves.  So we stop exercising.  Lunch becomes a handful of crackers and a spoonful of peanut butter that we can eat in just a few minutes while we stand up in the kitchen in between all our commitments.  We put off going to the doctor because we can’t fit it into our schedule.

Do all that for too long and it catches up to you.  In the end you will feel overwhelmed and exhausted, and the road back to taking care of yourself will feel long.

I know, because I’ve been there.  More than once.  and I’ll probably be there again eventually, because I am a ridiculously slow learner no matter how many times I remind myself how to slow down life.

Of course, while I believe that guarding your time is super important, we always have to be careful to not take it to the extreme.  We need to be able to give of our time as well to others sometimes.  For example, if you go to church, I would recommend you be involved in at least one ministry.  If your kids are in school, maybe you can volunteer for a limited amount of events throughout the year.  or Maybe you can give to your community by volunteering.

The same goes for people in your life.  When time is a rare commodity, do try to make some time for the important people in your life.  I have a friend whom we both have quite busy lives, but we try to meet for coffee once a month.  When life gets busier, it might stretch to once every two months.  But spending time with people in your life says to them “you are important to me.”

The point of being guarded with our time is not to avoid any type of commitment.  It is to take a more balanced approach to what we do with our time,  so that when we do say yes we can give it our best.

SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY LIFE

It can be very difficult to enjoy life to the fullest if we are constantly overwhelmed.  If you feel exhausted and like you have too much on your plate, it might be time to figure out how to slow down life and cut some things from your schedule.

Related: Tired Moms:  When you can’t do it All

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