Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Being Busy Can Become a Toxic Trap for Writers


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I dreaded Januarys when I was a kid. Gray, cold, and slow. Not much to do. After coming off the thrill of Christmas with its church pageants, parties, Christmas shopping, and seeing family, I wished January would speed by. 

Now that I’m in publishing, I crave January. It’s still the slowest month of the year, but it gives me a breather. A chance to catch up on a project or start a new one. In one particular January, I took a course on building WordPress websites, and this month our new site, LightHouse Bible Studies is done! 

I have a tendency to stuff a slower period with more things. Do you?

The thrill of “busy” may drive us to cram our schedules with one more thing. And one more. And one more. After all, we may enjoy writing assignments and book projects and helping people and traveling and volunteering at church. None of these are bad, but how much we say yes to, can turn the thrill of having fun things to do into a toxic drain on our energy, focus, joy, or health. 

Recently, I pictured taking the “sting” out of stress—taking the “demand” out of “it has to be done now.” Or “you aren’t doing enough.” Or “why can’t you answer those emails faster?” Or even “hurry, hurry to the post office before it closes.” When we place unrealistic expectations on our to-do list, eventually it catches up with us. 

And then our Lord whispers, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NKJV).

“But, Lord, I am supposed to be doing all these wonderful things. Right?”

For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:30). 

“My schedule is anything but light, Lord. I remember how busy You were when You were here. What was Your secret?”

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed (Mark 1:35). 

Time with the Father.

Of course.

When we push ourselves too much, it’s time to sit down with God and ask Him for His wisdom and perspective. What does He want us to focus on right now? What can wait? 

I’ve been surprised when God has added yet another layer of work to my already busy schedule. But this year, I know better what to do. Here are four keys to handling “busy” and running your schedule instead of it running you.

4 Keys to Creating a Schedule a Writer Can Actually Keep

1. Never sacrifice personal time with God for a to-do list. 

It’s this time with God that refreshes our hearts, teaches us about life with Him, and lays out the priorities of the day. We can ask Him what to tackle and how to order our time, and He will give us the grace to stick with the plan or show us how to handle surprises that alter it. More than anything, we can fellowship with Him, listen to Him teach us, and share our hearts with Him.

2. Pace yourself, and build “buffers” into your promises.

I’ve known to do this for years, but now I really want to. We can pace our projects so we run them instead of them running us. We can work ahead on deadlines—three weeks ahead is a good idea. We can spread out when we work on a major project so we can do normal life and tend to the relationships we treasure. We can add a buffer of six weeks to the promise of a finished manuscript or add two weeks (if possible) to reviewing edits. 

When we tell someone we’ll deliver something, we want to move mountains to get it done. But sometimes, the mountains are hard to climb and God may have a “detour” planned ahead. I’ve discovered though that a delay on finishing a project actually yields a better result because of the extra time I had to give it my best. Or I needed to live a bit more of life and gain a bit more wisdom.

3. Operate from a sense of “with.”

Write for God and with God. When I remember I am writing for Him and I take the time to study Scripture with Him, peace replaces anxiety. When we operate from a connection to God, we can have joy as we write and research. And our readers gain greater blessings than if we tried to write on our own. 

4. Make time for “happy.”

I find my happy in time with family and friends, in watching butterflies visit my garden, and in drawing flowers or painting landscapes. Where do you find your happy?

Carve out time to take a breather, and do something that doesn’t require a lot of intense brain power. Doing something relaxing or creative takes the “intense” out of a busy schedule.

How do you try to manage stress and a busy schedule? Tell us in the comments. This will be a conversation we all need!

TWEETABLE

Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of LIGHTHOUSE BIBLE STUDIES. She loves connecting with writers and working alongside them in compilations, such as Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 1 which is a 2020 Selah Awards finalist.

In addition to online magazines, Katy’s writing can be found at CBN.COM, thoughts-about-God.com, and three blogs on writing. She loves to spend time with family and friends, talk about art and crafts in her group MY ARTSY TRIBE, and tend the garden in the morning sun. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Connect with on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

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9 comments:

  1. Great words for me this morning!

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  2. Excellent insights and advice! Thank you, Katy!

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  3. Melissa HendersonJuly 20, 2022 at 9:08 AM

    A much needed message this morning. Thank you Katy. :-) Have a blessed day!

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  4. What a timely post, so much on the to do list, it can be overwhelming. I realized I was sacrificing some time with God and then stopped and changed my priorities. What a difference it has made! Thank you for these four terrific keys! Blessings.

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  5. Thank you for this very helpful article.
    Tonirypkema.com

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  6. The days I remember to “pray without ceasing,” asking God to guide my day, I hear His answers and work with more peace. Thank you the these tips, Katy.

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  7. Great strategies, Katy. I have found that a walk in nature is a wonderful way to refresh me, relieve stress from a "too busy" schedule, and find some quiet time with God.

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