3 things you’re probably doing wrong with your evening
I often hear about what successful leaders do with their mornings. What I don’t often hear is what those same leaders do with their evenings. In order to have a successful morning, I think a successful evening is implied.
Now, you need to know, I’ve been married 14 years and have three children. I can’t write without this coloring my experience. In my many years of marriage and parenting, I’ve learned three things. Hear me now, I don’t always get these three things correct. But I have learned that they are vital to my giving life to others instead of sucking the life out of others.
Let's talk about three things you’re probably doing wrong with your evening and how to fix it.
#1 > You’re not creating margin between work and home.
Whether you’re married with kids or not. And, whether you work from home or have a long commute, my point here is to disconnect from work. There has to be an intentional buffer between work and home.
Work from home? Take a quick walk outside or run an errand. Do something to transition your mind off of work.
Work outside of the home? Use your commute as time to reflect. I know. Use traffic to decompress? Maybe not. But maybe, you can pop in your favorite speaker or listen to your favorite podcast while driving and kill two birds with one stone. Sorry, birds.
Here’s the goal: don’t walk into your house until you’ve turned work off. Here’s your homework, reflect on this verse until it’s memorized:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. —Psalm 139:23-24
Think about it. You walk into your home on a business call. Or, you walk into your home ready to relax and if you have a family, you’re ready to engage. Over time, the difference will be noticeable—both for you and your family.
#2 > You’re not unplugging and engaging in the now.
I’m horrible at this one, especially. I love my iPhone. I’ve spent a fortune on it and I intend to not separate from it. But, I have a wife and three young kids. So, when I get this right, I live as if that piece of machinery in my pocket actually has a working “Do Not Disturb" feature.
There’s a Scripture that God spoke for iPhone owners. Philippians 2:3-5 says:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
My point? Your wife and your kids need your attention. Don’t have a wife and kids? You or someone around you needs attention. Something besides work can have some of your attention.
#3 > You’re not closing your evening strong.
Maybe you’ve done the first two things on this list. You’re not done yet. If you’re married with kids, closing strong means being intentional and engaged in a bedtime routine. But for readers who may not be married or with kids, your night may mean not watching that episode of “Madame Secretary.” Because, although awesome, it’s like 46 minutes that you could be prepping for tomorrow or sleeping.
When I’m at my best, I remember James 1:22, "But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves". You see, if I call myself a Christian, and I do, I'll be intentional about my evenings. I’ll see my evening as I do all of my time, not as time to kill, but time to redeem.
Can you imagine a more intentional evening for yourself? How would it affect your leadership? How would it affect your morning?
Photo source: istock
Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan is married to Tonia and they have two daughters and one son. He lives in Reston, Virginia, serves at McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC and is a diehard Redskins fan.
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