Singles get frustrated when they feel others are taking advantage of their time simply because they don’t have a spouse and children waiting on them at home, especially in the workplace or the church. It’s one of those fragile situations where if we offer ourselves up to do more because everyone else needs to get home to family, then it’s okay, but we want to be the ones to offer our own time and not have someone assume we’re free and assign us a task.
But there’s also a danger that, as singles, we get selfish with our time. There aren’t many people who are intimately familiar with our daily schedule so few can really hold us accountable that we’ve spent our numbered hours on things that matter to our personal growth and to the Kingdom.
Being intentional with our time means a lot of things to a lot of people. Bottom line, it’s important for singles to create margin in their lives for stewarding their time well. Otherwise, we could easily build a nice little insulated life that is really comfortable yet lacking substance and meaning.
SingleRoots Writers Say…
For wise counsel, we asked some of our SingleRoots alumni writers to weigh in on the matter. Here’s what they had to say:
“Using your time wisely starts with realizing you cannot do everything just because you are single. You have a limited amount of time just like everyone else. It starts with setting boundaries around your time and learning to say no. Another thing that’s important is setting goals and having a project. These goals could be anything like ‘I want to clean my apartment throughout the week so it’s not trashed when people come over’ to ‘I want to learn another language.’ Working towards those projects will help give you use for that free time so you’re not killing it on social media.”
:: Katie Axelson, author of When Singleness Hurts
“I recently heard a nugget of wisdom that apparently comes from Jewish tradition, which is to keep four pots going. When you are cooking dinner, you might have multiple dishes simmering away, but you can only focus on one pot at a time. In the context of your life and your vocation, that main pot is what you spend the most time doing – your classes or your job or your family. But if you have three other pots staying warm, maybe your idea of starting a small business, or your interest in going to graduate school, you can switch over to them quickly and make them your main pot. Most of us can’t focus on more than three or four things at a time, but also, most of us would get bored with only one main thing. Having four pots keeps us balanced, so the advice goes. I’m not sure how robust this analogy is, but I’ve certainly found it helpful when I begin to think about all the things that I’m interested in. So how do you keep your side pots simmering? Read some blogs to stay up on the industry, take some practice GRE tests to keep your skills fresh, attend an event at a local non-profit to meet some people who work in that field. I try to do something at least once a week to simmer one of my side pots. Doing something regularly to keep one of these side pots warm makes it easier to open the door to something in that field if the opportunity presents itself.”
:: Jacque Otto Isaacs, author of The Single Most Important Thing Singles Can Do for Their Careers
“I went through a season where I hadn’t found a local church and my life pretty much revolved around work, trips to the grocery store, Netflix, and then back to work the next morning. It was nice to not have commitments that kept me crazy busy, but after a few weeks, I just kept thinking how my time outside of work felt like such a waste. I started researching local Christian ministries and non-profits and found one to volunteer at while I was searching for a church home. It was such a good thing for me to focus on someone besides myself at least one night a week. I know we often struggle with setting boundaries and saying no in this crazy busy world, but sometimes we need to say yes and look outward. If our purpose is to point others to Christ but we’re not spending time with people outside our normal bubble and routine, what are we doing with the time we’ve been given?”
:: Liesl Bennett, author of Never Been Kissed…or in Love
“I think it depends on your personality. There are some introverts that need to force themselves to schedule regular time with friends and/or be intentional about committing to community. Extroverts are often tempted to believe they’re purely fed socially, and need to slow down for regular quiet time. Type-A folks might need to assess their schedules and their work, and intentionally and regularly give themselves time to relax. The Play-it-by-Ear crowd (hey, that’s me) would often be well served to make a schedule and insert time for physical/mental/spiritual growth and among all the play and relaxation. This advice is the exact same whether you’re married or not, but I’ve found that since I didn’t often do this well as a single person, it just made it more difficult as a married man.”
:: W. Brandon Howard, author of Changing the Way I Think
Explore the Topic Further…
For further discussion on how to manage your free time as a single person, check out these posts:
Alone on a Friday Night? 8 Things to Do with Your Evening – Sure, you’d rather be spending the evening with people, but unless you’re due one good night of takeout and tv watching (limit 1 per month), put down the egg rolls and the remote control, consider these options, and dang it, live a little! Or, at least do some things you’ve not made time for.
Single and…Investing in Kids That Aren’t Yours – Being an aunt or an uncle or a pseudo-aunt or uncle has its benefits. You get to be the fun friend or family member—the one who gets to spoil the kids, make them laugh, fill them with sugar and caffeine, and send them home. It’s a win-win for you and the kids.
Alone on a Saturday Night? 8 Things to Do with Your Evening – Being alone on Saturday night is not necessarily a bad thing, you know. Many of us like the peace and quiet and nothingness an occasional night home alone affords us. But there are times, for some of us, when it happens just a little too often.
5 Things Single People Don’t Have Enough Of – While we’re single we have all kinds of opportunities, and, we may not say it, but we often wait to live our lives after we’ve exchanged wedding vows with someone. In the interim, we become so focused on finding a spouse that we forget to live in the moment.