Monday, May 31, 2010

Thinning Plants

I'm in gardening heaven these days, but there's one task that makes me sad. Can you guess which one? I planted lots of seeds, and most of them sprouted. Unfortunately, they're too close together to thrive. So, I must thin out the plants so each has the space it needs to grow.

Most of us enjoy many healthy, good activities. With our time at a premium, we often must take a long, hard look at our schedules and prioritize. Isn't it better to do five things well than do a mediocre job with ten things? It hurts to say goodbye to a fun hobby, a club meeting, or some other time eater.

How do you keep your schedule balanced? Do you say, "yes," to projects without counting the cost in time and effort?

30 comments:

Jessica Nelson said...

No, I say no. lol Actually, I'm pretty careful about not overextending myself with outside things. Gives me more time at home to do chores and read blogs. *grin*

Sandra Heska King said...

What a great analogy! I used to be bad about that. I learned the hard way the importance of "no in order to say "yes."

I wasn't consumed with writing when I purchased my harp a little over a year ago. Drove 1-1/2 hours one way for lessons, went to a conference, bought a bunch of books. Even bought my new car around it (for transport.) Now I'm thinking about selling it because I spend all my free time reading or writing and just seeing it consumes energy because I know I "should" be playing it.

Karen Lange said...

This is a tough one, but necessary as you said, to stay balanced. I value my peace and sanity and this helps me to say no. Not always, but I'm getting better:)
Blessings,
Karen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Isn't having strong boundaries freeing? They empower you to do what's important in life.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sandra -

You brought up an excellent point. When we take on projects and can't find the time to do them well, it saps our energy.

Oh, oh, you gave me an idea for a blog post! Thanks, Sandra.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

Prioritizing can be painful. I love to crochet and dabble in crafts. Both of those hobbies are time consuming. I couldn't give my writing the level of attention it needed and still have time for these pursuits.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Carol J. Alexander said...

Hi Susan,
When we were first married my husband noticed that I will overextend myself. So this is what he came up with. If someone asks me to do something (anything, no matter how small) I reply, "I might be able to do that, just let me check with my husband." Then I do. And if he thinks it's too much I tell the person, "I'm sorry, as much as I'd love to, my husband says I'm overextended right now." That way the blame is on him and I don't look like I'm trying to get out of things.
Another thought on thinning plants...It's like editing our writing...As much as we'd love to use all those lovely words that came to mind, we cannot. Some just have to go.
Have a great weekend,
Carol

quietspirit said...

Susan:
I find I have times when I have added something to my 'to-do' list that will take up a lot of time. I find I have to pace myself and stay in tune with God in order to get things done like writing and church things. Saying no is hard for me. I have friends who seem to understand that I have some reason to decline bing involved in certain events and activities.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carol -

Ah, great strategy. Unfortunately, it won't work for me as hubby's address is 15 Street of Gold, Heaven. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

Staying in tune with God is critical to balance. If He's given you an assignment, that has priority.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Sonia said...

This is something I struggle with.. so much so that it tends to put all things behind including my time with the Lord's word. I have good intentions and try to schedule time, like I do at work, but it doesn't work at home. Have got to come up with a solution, getting behind on projects, gets me down and when I get away from my Bible study, I get down in spirit also.

Carla Gade said...

I try to prioritize, but somehow things just keep sneaking in. I think I forget the principle of discarding something if I add something new. Things usually settle out when I am prayerful about my activities. I try to remember to ask the Lord permission first.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

My new favorite word is "NO!" and not to feel guilty about it!

I'm learning to prioritize the things that are necessary for activities of daily living...get help with them and not feel compelled to do them all at one time and wear myself out!

I'm also learning to do things I love and have given the excuse before that I'm too busy! I can say that it's been fun not to make the bed and instead go out for a nature walk with my camera in the morning. Before I used to wait until all the household chores were done and then I was too tired to enjoy the things I wanted to do!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, Susan, I hate to thin baby plants too. It seems like needless killing. But it's not really needless, if the ones left bear more fruit.

I am learning to say "no" more often. I have to remind myself that it's not a four-letter word!

Love you, love your blog,
Jen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sonia -

I start my day in the Word. If it doesn't happen then, it doesn't happen at all. Once I get into my day, the time passes at warp speed. Before I know it, I'm sleeping again.

The interesting thing: my day goes much smoother and I get more done when I put the Lord first.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carla -

Thanks for reminding us about an excellent method. If you take on something new, something else has to be removed.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Thanks for the encouragement.

I'm with you on thinning baby plants. It seems like such a waste, but I know they won't do well crammed together.

Here's a question: Do we hesitate to say, "no," to a project or to the people asking us to take it on?

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Donna -

We definitely need to stop and smell the roses (cliche alert). This weekend, I abandoned all the things that press me and enjoyed spending time with my Mom and friends.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Nancy said...

I agree with Jessica. I say "no" a lot. And I do prioritize the things I keep. Even at busy times, it seems to work.

Shmologna said...

I need to to thin out some plants myself (both in my literal garden and my spiritual one.) I'm so busy lately, and my books are sitting on the backburner. This is the second blog to convict me today.

Good post as usual, Susan!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Nancy -

My late husband often said, "No is a complete sentence." He reminded me I didn't have to give reasons or make the other person agree with me. Good advice.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Schmologna -

I'm glad the post spoke to your heart. When I see multiple posts on the same subject, I know the Lord is trying to get my attention. :)

Blessings,
Susan

kristen said...

Oh, a lesson I have not mastered yet. The culling of the schedule. I really need to employ that old, tried and true method of pros and cons. Is it worth the effort? Thanks for the reminder, Susan. I do have some things I need to work on:)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Maybe this skill is hard on the writer psyche. We're interested in so many things, all of which could end up in a book.

Have a great day.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Stephen Tremp said...

I try not to over extend myself. I've committed to reading other people's manuscripts. Sometimes I was too busy to finish them. Felt bad about that. I'm more careful these days as to what I say YES to.

Stephen Tremp

Erin said...

I have a tendency to say yes, and the thing that gets thinned is sleep. That's probably something like pulling the strongest plants, to keep with the analogy. I'll have to keep this in mind next time I'm considering saying yes to something!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Erin -

Welcome!

Ooo, sleep is probably not the best thing to eliminate. I'm not a happy camper when sleep deprived.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I work really hard not to overextend myself. I don't always succeed, but it's a goal of mine. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Shannon -

Being aware of the problem is the first step to solving it. It takes some of us time to figure out what isn't working and how to fix it. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Hi Susan,
Great illustration. It's so true! I have had to sift through my schedule time and again trying to discern what "good things" need to be cut to allow the "best things" to flourish.
Susan