Laugh More!

I am a joyful person and love life, but I tend to be a pretty serious person. My bent is for deep conversations, and I don't last long with small talk. I try to make the most of each moment and find purpose in every step. And I over analyze. I just don't find myself belly laughing often.

That is until this year. One of my words for the year is FUN, and I trusted that God would lead me to lean in to LAUGHTER and enjoy life more than I already do. *Genesis 21:6 NLT- And Sarah declared, "God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me.

When I opened myself up to this, I looked around and realized that the Lord purposefully placed me in environments around people that help me to take myself less seriously. The team I work alongside daily are all super funny people and encourage me to lighten up. They stop by my desk to show me hilarious memes, tell me stories that I wouldn't believe, and help me to find humor in a world that often seems so heavy. 

I also meet monthly with a group of women, many are spouses of those with whom I work. We get together late at night after the kids are in bed, and around a table of good food, we share our lives and laugh so hard we cry. They remind me that in the intensity of life, laughter is good medicine for your soul.  *Proverbs 17:22 MSG- A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

I don’t know what is going on in your world or the burdens you are carrying, but I would challenge you that in the middle of it all, in spite of your circumstances, right now, purposefully lean into an opportunity to laugh. Maybe watch a funny Youtube video, listen to a song that brings you joy (this is one of our family’s favorite), or grab lunch with a friend that always has a story to tell. Sometimes it can feel like the weight of the world is ours to carry, but it is important that we remember that God has it all under control. He made this day simply for you to ENJOY it, so let go and laugh a little. *Psalm 118:24 ESV- This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

It just takes time.

Last fall while on maternity leave, another amazing assistant helped take care of my workload so I could tend to my newest little girl. The assistant did an outstanding job! ; )  

When I got back, she and I debriefed about what went well and the items I needed to follow up. She made a comment that her greatest challenge was not knowing the context and history of different people with whom she communicated. It was something that I have taken for granted having worked with my boss for so long.  This assistant was new to staff and was still meeting our church family. I reassured her that it takes time to get to know people.

This can be a challenge in the early months, and even years, of assisting. When your boss asks you to set up a lunch or contact a person, you may not know their phone number or the context for the meeting. It can be difficult because you don’t want to ask too many questions, but you also don’t know the details.

Having served in the same position for almost a decade, I have had the privilege of getting to know a lot of people with whom my boss interacts. I have been honored to greet pastors, work alongside our board, write cards to church members, and talk with business people in the community.  In doing so, I have heard their stories, celebrated their successes, and prayed for their families.

I want to encourage you that this is part of the job that just takes time. Getting to know people and relationships isn’t something you can “microwave cook”. It is a journey that will take you being involved and in the loop of their lives, not in a gossip way, but in a genuine "care for them as people, value their family and investment in the church/ministry/business" kind of way.  Day by day, as you meet people and learn about your community, this knowledge will help you continue to grow to be the best assistant for your boss.  

Tasks vs. Projects

In a previous post, I talked about my love for TO DO lists. I shared that Google Tasks is my favorite and that I find great satisfaction in checking off items.  

But I must confess that in this post I didn't admit my weakness with lists. And if we are going to be honest friends, learning and growing together this journey, I need to shoot straight with you: I don't usually create helpful to do lists.

I love them yes, and I love checking off the items I get done, but my downfall is that I make lists of goals or projects, rather than tasks. I put together a list for a day that I realize in my right mind will never be accomplished in one day. However, instead of adjusting or eliminating that list to make it more achievable, I find myself toiling to get it all done, and I live ever frustrated and constantly discouraged under the guilt that I never get enough done. Am I the only one who does this?? 

To Do lists have a strict and simple purpose. They are tasks that can get completed in a day. If you have an item that takes you an entire day, it should be the only item on your list for that day. If you choose to have more on your list, they should be things that take 10-30 minutes to accomplish. (And if we are talking honestly, I need to recognize that I also have a poor perception of the duration for tasks. For example, I cannot run an errand in 8 minutes, not even to the bank. I need to put a little more margin in my time... should this be another post?)

Here is my to do list from today: 

  • Call Katie- I plan 2 minutes to leave a message, but she ends up answering. We talk for 45 min, and the conversation was so good for my soul but slowed down my "productivity". 
  • Confirm Appointments- I plan 20 minutes to text everyone, but then there is an adjustment for Tuesday and it ends up taking about 40 minutes to reconfirm
  • Find & print iCloud receipt- 3 min, as long at the internet and copier are working...

All those seem normal, but then there's these:

  • Respond to emails- like ALL 34?! This could take me all day because emails contain their own tasks within them...
  • Write thank you cards- How many? It takes me 6-10 minutes to write one card. Unless it's heartfelt and then it is about 30 minutes to draft and then write. What can I say- I like encouraging others.
  • Buy gifts for upcoming birthdays- This is a project. Period. It really needs to be broken down into researching for gifts, ordering online, going to each store, buying wrapping paper, and wrapping gifts. 
  • Plan Staff Development- Yup, here's another project. I need to make tasks out of this to even begin to feel accomplished. 

So as you can see, there is an art to task lists, but "Mastering my To Do List" is a project I don't expect to get done in a day. 

 

P.S.- Here are some articles I have found helpful if you can relate: