Avoiding Burnout, part 2

Here is part two of a three part series entitled “Avoiding Burnout”. This material was originally presented by Brad Hambrick, Summit’s counseling pastor. Part one is here.

Budgeting Rest, Work, and Family

You must have an intentional plan for how you use your time. Like a financial budget, it must be detailed enough to be useful, flexible enough to be practical, and looked at enough to alter your life (here is a model that I’ve made that you are welcome to use). Here are some general parameters:

First, you should allocate at least 50 hours per week to sleep. This is a bare minimum of honoring the Sabbath command to express faith in God by resting a significant portion of each week.

Second, you should budget around 50 hours per week for work. Even before the fall, God called every person to productively use their lives for the betterment of others and stewardship of creation (Genesis 1:28). Allocating these hours may be easier for hourly workers than for, say, business owners or full-time parents. But some limit must be put on this sector of life or it will expand until it destroys the others. When the rest of life is destroyed, productivity loses its purpose.

Third, you should budget at least 17 hours per week for marriage and family. This is a little arbitrary, but represents a tithe (10%) of your time. Being part of a family strongly influences your usage of the rest of your time. If you are married with children, it is difficult to have quality time with your family if this quantity of time is not being met. And “family time” does not merely mean “in the same physical location.” It means investing your full attention to reinforce and strengthen the sense of knowing and being known within your family.

Budgeting “The Rest of Life”

Fourth, if you follow the recommendations above, that leaves 51 hours for “the rest of life.” In the first 117 hours you are merely looking for the wisest and most enjoyable way to accomplish rest, family time, and productivity. But in these last 51 hours we have an additional degree of freedom.

For those of us who are Christians, the lordship of Christ necessarily places a limit upon our freedom. Within these last 51 hours God calls us to do maintenance, service, and recreation.

Maintenance: This involves cleaning your house, going to the store, paying bills, and the other mundane activities necessary for life. In this area, a grandmother’s advice on home cleanliness provides sound guidance for all areas of life maintenance: “A home should be clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy.”

Recreation: This involves the kind of activities that you find rewarding and replenishing. Life requires more than just 50 hours of sleep in order to be healthily sustained. Here the advice is to know yourself-what restores you, gives you energy, or relaxes you?

Service: This involves service through your church to the congregation and community for the purpose of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth and deeper into the lives of those around you.

No recommended time allotments can be given for these three areas. But all three are essential to healthy living and should be given time. Healthy relationships are those that actively help you guard and honor balance in all three of these areas of involvement.

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