Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Solid Yellow Lines

In the book "Body by God" the author not only talks about fitness and nutrition but also stress and time management because he feels to have the body God created us to have we must address all aspects of the body and what affects it.

One concept he talks about is drawing "solid yellow lines", like on a road, around various aspects of our life.  Priorities.  So, for instance, he has his quiet time in the morning and no matter what he doesn't see patients, check email or play with his kids during that time.  That is his time with God.  But the same is true of the time he spends with patients, family or writing.

Now I Personally feel a little stifled by this idea and like the guy must be a little high strung type A personality.  That is serious structure.   But I do have a girlfriend who is really good at this type of thing and I have experienced this structure as I have viewed her life.  She is always aware of keeping a balance taking time with each child regularly, managing the home efficiently and carving out time for work and personal indulgences without feeling guilt because she knows her priorities are not being neglected.

It would be easy for me to dismiss my girlfriend as a nutty type A as well but I can't help wonder if there isn't something to this idea worth exploring in my own life now that I am working.

In some ways being at home creates its own challenges with keeping priorities.  You have so much unstructured time you think you can get it all done with no planning.  Yet you can be home with your kids all day and never really spend time with them, never get around to cleaning or making dinner or organizing, or...There is always something ready and waiting to pull you away from responsibilities and skew priorities.

For me, as I have observed this practice in my girlfriend over the years, what I see is an ability to enjoy each task in her life without saying any, "I should be...".  She knows she will be spending the evening doing certain activities with her daughter, for instance, so she is free to spend the afternoon working on her own projects without any guilt.  She knows when her house will be cleaned and what is for dinner so she can totally focus on the task before her.  Totally present in each moment of her life.

That is the aspect of drawing lines around tasks that I want to experience.

So that is what I am working on figuring out and organizing this week. Since I am not particularly type A in my approach to life I won't be creating a permanent structure but more of a loose concept in which we as a family are aware of the priorities and look to see they are happening each week in some way.  And with that confidence I can be fully involved in my life and relationships and not worry about what is falling through the cracks.

It is slowing coming together at our house.


  1. I meant to mention it Sunday, but the group high-energy atmosphere blew the response out of my mind. Where I work, two moms job-share the receptionist position; one works something like 7:30 to noon and the other about 11:30 to 5:00. Just a seed to plant when you get close to the semi-retirement phase.

  2. Great post Mel. It makes me think about how I need to embrace both of those things. Discipline is freedom and God made us to need rest and relaxation... Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor. :)