Hey there, Writer!
Today I’m hosting Patty H. Scott, author of Slow Down, Mama — Intentional Living in a Hurried World.
Have you found yourself regularly saying there isn’t enough time in the day? Is your life flying by while you are missing out on what matters most? In Slow Down, Mama, Patty H. Scott provides empowering insights to help you live with deep meaning and direction. You will learn what is at the root of your busyness, how to move past your personal pitfalls and identify your truest purposes, and how to develop and solidify life-giving habits.
How to Juggle “All the Things” and
Keep on Writing
Life sped along with my foot fully depressed on the gas pedal.
My “yes “answer to most opportunities and requests kept me filled beyond capacity. Underneath my hurried existence were roots of perfectionism, people pleasing, and a fear of missing out. When people said things like, “You’re so busy!” I would either shrug off their comment, justifying my feeling of super-human ability, or I would defend myself by saying, “I’m not that busy.” Either way, I lived in denial of the toll all this busyness took on my life and relationships.
Through a series of events and over the course of several years, God put a brake pedal on my life. I started wanting to live a more reasonable and measured lifestyle. This was harder than I thought it was going to be. My heart issues, along with my acclimation to adrenaline, procrastination, and late-night cram sessions, made it challenging to come to a halt, or even slow down.
That’s how it was: Busy. Missing out on the very things I wanted most – peace, connection, contentment, and purposeful productivity.
As I shifted gears to pursue a more streamlined and manageable pace of life, I read voraciously about life-purpose, cultivating habits, and essentialism. I spent hours and hours with my mentor and a therapist, working through the underlying issues that kept me from saying, “no,” or prioritizing what was best. My life transformed inch by inch, almost imperceptibly. I no longer live at breakneck speed, rushing through moments, hoping I don’t drop a ball or miss an invitation.
I want to share with you some of the key principles and practices I have learned over the past fifteen years as I moved from crazy-busy to peacefully productive. The first key was determining my purpose. Knowing who I am, what qualities and giftings I have, and what I’m here on earth to do has provided me with a filter when choices for involvements come my way. I step back every 90 days to clarify my mission and vision.
I spend time for one week asking God to show me what my over-arching purpose is as well as the specific goals and calling in the coming 90 days. I can’t overstate the blessing in doing this. When opportunities or requests come my way, I can easily say no, delete an email, or postpone them when they don’t line up with what I clearly know my purpose is for the given three months.
I define my purpose in three areas – my to-be, to-love, and to-do lists. I address them in that order. My to-be list involves developing my character. In this season I am focusing on being more gentle and listening well. In order to facilitate my increased gentleness, I know I need margin. I build space around the edges into my plans each week as well as planning in times of rest and refreshment.
My to-love list always starts with my husband and children. Then I consider who God is calling me to pour into. I purposely include plans to bless, reach out, and pray for those people. When I lived more of a pell-mell lifestyle, my husband got the dregs, and many days my children had a frazzled mom. Living on purpose allows me to ensure I am putting those precious relationships in the center of what I plan. I consider their needs and my capacity to be present for them as I incorporate other activities and commitments.
People often start planning with a to-do list and go from there. As a matter of fact, most of us allow our to-do list into our life like a puppy who hasn’t been housebroken or trained to sit. Pretty soon that to-do list has messed and chewed all our valuables, taken over the home, and made us tired and weary. We need to get a leash and hook it on quickly.
Our to-do list is meant to obey us and serve us, not the other way around. I carefully choose what goes on my to-do list. I always hold the key to sorting and rearranging it according to what I see is best. Yes, sometimes other people’s urgent needs will trump my plans (and that can be a divine appointment), but I aim to have a lifestyle where I center choices around my most important values and relationships. I want to go deep and not be spread so thin that no one gets my best.
My purpose informs my priorities. My priorities guide my planning. Not everyone is wired to be a Type-A, calendar toting, organizational guru. I am actually somewhere on the middle of that spectrum myself.
Planning ahead does not mean you rigidly systematize your weeks, days, and hours. It simply means that in the world of time use, everything has a place. When I sit down sometime between Friday morning and Sunday evening to plan the week ahead, I look at the rhythm I have crafted for my weeks in this season. My highest purpose and my focused calling lead me as I plan. Then I map out time for all the most important things.
You probably have seen a video of a professor or heard the story where he had water, sand, pebbles, and big rocks. He wanted to put them all in a jar. When he put anything but the big rocks in first, not all the items could fit. When he put things in according to their weight and mass – rocks first, then pebbles, then sand, and finally water – the whole kit and caboodle could fit in the jar. Knowing my big rocks and making room for those assures me there will be time in my week to get those done. Everything else seems to ease in along the edges when I practice this principle.
I have always wanted to write. Writing is a “big rock” in my life. I carefully plan time for writing into every week. My designated time slots for creativity carry the weight of official appointments. I show up and make the effort to pour my heart and experience out on paper so that what I have lived might be a blessing to others. Putting our purposes into our priorities and planning time to ensure their place in our lives allows us to do “all the things,” at least all the most important things.
You can find Patty Scott at the following:
Patty Scott was born in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in Ohio and St. Louis and spent her summers traveling around the United States with her parents and younger sister. Patty returned to California for graduate school where she got her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and met her surfer/skater husband. While they were dating, Patty trusted Jesus with her life. This started a healing journey which has transformed and defined her. When Patty was five years old, she decided she wanted to be a writer, speaker and to help people. She has been pursuing both of these passions ever since. When she isn’t writing, Patty can be found having coffee with friends, spending time in her garden, attending Zumba classes or reading great books.