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In Good Time with Jen Pollock Michel

Does it feel like the clock is running you? Same! But we’ve got some help! Jen Pollock Michel joins The AllMomDoes Podcast host Julie Lyles Carr to explain how to resist a ‘time anxiety culture’ while experiencing ‘time-counterformation’. Sound intriguing? It is! And it’s just what you need to be the boss of the clock, instead of it driving you.

Show Notes:

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Julie [00:00:15] Hey, friend. I’m Julie Lyles Carr. This is the All Mom Does podcast on the Purposely Podcast Network. We are just taking a dive into all things time, stewardship, productivity, how much we’re supposed to be getting done, how much is unrealistic? All the ways that time comes for us and runs us around. Well, we’re learning how to take some time back, so I’m really excited for you to meet my guest today because she’s got some really out of the box ideas that I just love. I want you to welcome Jen Pollock Michel, thanks so much for being with me today, Jen.

Jen [00:00:47] Yeah, that’s going to be fun Julie. Thank you.

Julie [00:00:49] I’m excited. So tell the listener a little bit about yourself, where you’re out in the world, things you like to do, family, all that kind of stuff.

Jen [00:00:56] Hmm. Well, I always say the shorthand for my life is five books, five kids, you know? So no wonder I needed to write a book about time. We are Americans and also Canadians. We spent the last 11 years in Toronto, and we’ve since moved back to back to the United States. We live in Cincinnati now. Part of that was just, you know, caring for family, our aging parents and there’s a lot of that story in the book as well.

Julie [00:01:21] Absolutely. I really like Cincinnati. I had an opportunity to go there. My husband is actually one of the people in Toastmasters who was the world champion of public speaking. One of the big international events they did was in Cincinnati. We got to go to the museum that’s in the train station, which is incredible. I had no idea such a thing existed. So for anybody listening, if you happen to be going through Cincinnati, seriously, that museum at the train station is absolutely incredible. I’m not saying that I can’t remember the name the train station. I’m so sorry. The train station itself is amazing.

Jen [00:02:02] I’m embarrassed to say that I actually haven’t been to that museum. My boys went to it. They went on a school trip. It was like a January intercession is what they call it, between like, yeah, you know, the two semesters. And so it was just learning the history of Cincinnati and they actually ended up at that museum at the train station. But I have not personally been to it and so I have not confirmed. I can neither confirm nor deny either.

Julie [00:02:24] Yes. Yes, that is all good. I’m trying to look it up really fast and see if I can find it. Well, figure it out anyway. Great Museum of Europe. The opportunity to go there. It’s at the Union terminal, I believe, a union terminal. And it’s very historic. The paintings in the lobby are incredible. It’s just a great time. So anyway, I like your town. I like your town. Welcome back. Like, welcome back to the U.S.

Jen [00:02:44] Thank you!

Julie [00:02:46] Well, I am so fascinated by the subject of time. I’m someone who’s always trying to be more efficient, get more done, all of the things. There are ways in which I think I do a pretty good job. There are times I feel like I am just getting the complete run around that my calendar is running me. I know that a lot of the listeners are experiencing a lot of the same things. What do you. How do you define this thing? There’s a term that you had that I thought was really interesting, called time anxiety, because even though I want to hear your definition of it, the minute I saw those two words together, I was like, I have that. I don’t know exactly what the symptoms are, but I know I have that. So what is time anxiety?

Jen [00:03:27] Yeah, I mean, I think the most obvious form of time anxiety is just the overwhelm of everyday modern life. This idea that like we can’t keep up our to do lists are growing, you know, longer and longer time is growing scarcer and scarcer. And so we just constantly feel behind. And so time anxiety is definitely related to that conversation starter that everybody knows. How are you? Busy. You know, like that is sort of the stand in for what life feels like today. I think there are other forms of time anxiety that are made maybe a little bit less obvious, but are related to time anxieties related to time. Sometimes it’s anxieties about the past, about the things that we can’t change parts of our story that just feel like, you know, these irreparable mistakes or failures or sin or shame in our past. The ways that suffering has shaped our lives. And so there’s anxiety related to that. I think there’s also a lot of anxiety related to the future. I think a lot of young people feel related, you know, related to the future, like how am I ever going to buy a house or, you know, how many careers am I going to have in this one wild and precious life of mine? You know, I think that, you know, you can experience all kinds of anxiety related to the future. You know, what will my health be like? Yeah, just all those things that we can’t control. I think that’s ultimately sort of the bottom line of time anxiety that we live in a context over which we have absolutely no control, despite the fact that we talk about managing time, it really isn’t ours to manage.

Julie [00:05:03] Right, Right. We move through it. It definitely does a lot to us. But you’re right, we don’t really harness. Where do you think that we get our ideas and our current cultural identity toward time, where do you think we get some stuff just kind of wrong? Like, what are the ways we’re trying to bend time that just don’t even really make sense at the end of the day?

Jen [00:05:27] Mm hmm. Well, I do think that productivity is one of those terms that I want to challenge as an unchallenged good. I mean, I think usually people just say productivity is like an unchallenged good. Of course, we all want to be productive. And I mean, on the one hand, of course, like, we don’t want to be failing at life, you know, failing at work and just regular adulting life. But productivity actually comes to us from the factory. It comes to us like it’s a very new kind of measure of time, and it comes through industrialization. It’s a mechanized view of time. And you can see some of the problems that happen when we take a mechanical category and then we just sort of lay it over human life. Our bodies don’t work like machines and we can’t just endlessly produce and we can’t endlessly speed up our production. We’ve done that with technology and it’s really interesting when we think about time as related to technological progress. You know, economists were saying in the 20th century like, oh my gosh, we’re not going to know what to do with all the time that we discover.

Julie [00:06:36] Yeah.

Jen [00:06:37] And, you know, we have more time. It is true that computers and other forms of technology have given us more time, but we actually haven’t applied that to leisure and to rest. We’ve actually just applied it to more work. So I think productivity, efficiency, these are definitely terms that I want to challenge and I want people to think about, you know, new ways to imagine just new categories for time. I think especially for people who read the Bible, people who follow Christ, we do already have those categories and some of those that, you know, we can get into that in that in the conversation.

Julie [00:07:16] Absolutely. I’d love to talk more on the categories. I’m going make a note of that. So we circle back. You are a self-professed person who has read all kinds of time management and calendaring and scheduling kind of books and websites and all of the things. What is sort of your net assessment of a lot of the things that you’ve read when it comes to how we live through this? Because we are floating in this river of time now we live with it.

Jen [00:07:41] Mm hmm. One of the really interesting books that I read called Counterproductive by Melissa Gregg, she actually says there’s really not a lot of new time management advice. Like we have a lot of it. We’re sort of like circulating recycling advice that was actually given to us early in the 20th century. So when you read a time management book, you might find some new strategies, especially if you’re new to the genre in kind of the industry. I would say that I have been helped by some of those strategies. I mean, you know, like just handling paper one time and, you know, just different calendaring techniques and that kind of stuff. But you don’t have to endlessly read time management books like you can read a couple and you sort of have the strategies. At the end of the day, I think what I’ve really learned is that time anxiety is actually not solved by time strategizing. We think that if we implement all of these techniques and strategies like it’ll help us get our get to the bottom of our list. And then, oh, suddenly peace you know, in the universe and within my soul, that that’s actually not really where time anxiety comes from. It’s interesting, I read a book called 4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. Have you read that and you’re familiar with it?

Julie [00:08:59] My husband is so into it. I have not finished reading it. I haven’t jumped into it, but I feel like I don’t need to because Mike quotes it to me all the time. He’s like my own version of Audible on this particular book. But go ahead. I want to hear your insight.

Jen [00:09:12] Good. That’s great.

Julie [00:09:13] Yeah. Yeah. He’s saving me sometimes.

Jen [00:09:16] It’s sort of interesting because I think it’s sort of a secular counterpart to even what I’ve been trying to talk about. Oliver Burkeman is a person who has also, like me, been a reader and an avid sort of devotee of time management, and then just sort of came to the end of that and realized, you know what time anxiety is actually related to anxiety about mortality and that his the introduction to that book is sort of a morbid title. You know, people I think could be shocked and startled by the title, which is in the long run, we’re all dead. So I think we have to get honest about where time anxiety comes from. I believe as a Christian, like, there’s just so much hope for time anxiety because we actually tell a different story about time. See, productivity is so much about like you’re at the center of the story and it’s all about your heroic efforts. It’s to get things done, like you’ve got to make meaning out of your lives. I think that’s like an impossible task, you know, especially for dark seasons and just the way sometimes we’re functioning with chronic illness or we’re caring for somebody else and we’re not as productive as we want to be. There’s a lot of good news for for our unproductive seasons of life.

Julie [00:10:35] It seems to me that there has been for quite a while now. I feel like I saw a renaissance of this for a period of time. This attachment of like a moral virtue to how much we get done during the same 8 hours, 16 hours as someone else. I found this really interesting and I’m not surprised that I suffer under it because of the generation that I was raised in, which was very much about get into the best college and get the best job and get with the best company. These are all the things that prove that you’re a good person because you’ve worked so hard to be able to have those doors open to you. I’ve seen a little bit of a decline in that, which is good. But then, you know, I’d say right before the pandemic, I saw a lot of that same verbiage kind of gearing up again. Oh, you know, we’ve got to be part of the club that gets up at a certain time of day and we’ve got to get this much accomplished before the sun comes up. These are the people who are going to really move the needle on all of these accomplishments that are going to move humanity forward. How does that dovetail with where we’re at as a Christian culture? Part of the reason I ask that. I have a friend who really took a deep dive into more of the antiquity of Christianity and in more of the Greek type traditions, in more of the older European traditions. She walked away surprised, saying, Wow, in the way that American Christians look at time and productivity. It’s so very different than some of our original foundations as a culture of Christians in more of the Eastern traditions. She was really amazed to discover and have to and she had to detangle, in a sense, her sense of time from her Americanism when it came to what it means before God. So how do you see all of that? Do you see that we’re still holding on to productivity being a virtue that somehow gets infused into our spiritual lives?

Jen [00:12:34] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think a lot of people would sort of translate Jesus teaching on the Sermon of the Mount seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to, you know, they have this sort of natural kind of like be productive for the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you. So we just sort of assume that as long as we’re getting good things done like that, we’re on the right path. Again, it’s sort of that unchallenged morality, I think, is a really good way of putting it, the morality of productivity. So Christians, you know, there’s absolutely no morality to productivity, you know, productivity and and like you can be getting terrible things done. So I think Christians sort of answer that with saying, “Well, no, we’re going to get the right things done, and that’s going to be really wonderful.” But I still think it’s just not always asking the right questions. You know, how do you know that you’re doing the right things with the right motivation? You know, there’s so much about Christianity that’s just all about the heart. You know, you could be doing good things. And if your motivations are corrupt, if you do it for wrong purposes, then all of it is in vain, essentially. So it’s interesting when you actually do dig into the history of the clock, it comes out of the monastery. I think a lot of people have done a lot of really interesting research around that. Like what? What were the monks about? Like, why were they developing the clock? What were the importance of the hours in the monastery? There are people who I think very helpfully have said it wasn’t about productivity and it wasn’t even about punctuality. It was about, you know, understanding that time is a gift from God not to be wasted, you know, but to be cultivated as an offering to God. So the clocks in the monastery were calling the monks to prayer, calling the monks to, you know, fellowships over meals, calling them to manual labor, calling them to study. So the hours were just really all about faithfulness. I think that something really to return to. I think there’s something really beautiful about that. That on the one hand, we shouldn’t waste time, you know? I mean, but I don’t think it means that every single moment of your life has to be used up with something measurable and visible, like measurable, visible output. But yes, the whole of your life is an offering that you are offering to God. That is your time and that’s your body in time. Those are your gifts and your abilities. So I think that’s really a history that’s important to look at.

Julie [00:15:23] I even see the shades of that in the Old Testament, the different festivals, the different seasons of year. Those weren’t about being productive. Those were about stopping, taking a moment, pausing, being, being re solidified and community being re solidified in devotion to God. I can see that that history then permeates into the monks helping come up with this technology that would actually literally clock the passing of the seasons, the passing of the time, the passing the day. I love that. I shared with you before we got on mic that in my family of origin to be on time, Thou shalt be on time, too everything was part of the Ten Commandments. I’m really still kind of floored when I go and look at what’s in the Ten Commandments that I guess that modern additions have left this out. I don’t know. But in my family of origin, being on time everywhere was really, really important. It was almost seen, again as a an evidence of productivity that if you’re getting things right, then you show up and do this. I still think there’s value. Now, I happened to marry someone who had not been raised in that theology at all, and apparently that was now in his Ten Commandments. That took some adjustment in our early marriage because it was ingrained as such a value in me. Those are just some of the indicators of how interesting it is to take a look at how each of us looks at time and how we make assumptions about how someone is operating in their life based on how we think they’re handling their time. I think we’re in a really interesting today because there is this moment that happened for all of this called the pandemic. To your point about how a lot of our efficiencies then moved into how much more we could then get done, which is hilarious. For example, with housekeeping technologies, you know, we should have more quote unquote, time on our hands because we have washing machines and we have robotic vacuum cleaners, which I love very much, by the way. That’s a really important tool at my house.

Jen [00:17:20] Thank God for Roomba.

Julie [00:17:22] Exactly. So all of these things that supposedly were going to buy us more time, what we all went and did is we took on bigger houses with more complex systems that take more maintenance and bigger wardrobes. We’ve done all these things that actually make it more complicated. That’s what we did with our extra time. But I saw through the pandemic that there are a lot of people who have said, wait, wait, wait, I’m no longer interested in showing up at a meeting. That doesn’t mean anything because that’s a waste of my time. I can show that I can be just as productive in my home office in 4 hours as I can be in office in 8 hours. What are some rumblings that you’re seeing after some of the revelations we began to understand about time, how we spend time, about our productivity, about why we do certain things that become just wrote that really don’t even expand to our productivity. What are some trends that you’re seeing there?

Jen [00:18:13] Yeah, I think it’s a great question, and I think the disruption of the pandemic was exactly that. I think it was a disruption and people starting to decide, Wait, just because I have been doing things in a particular kind of way, can I do things differently? What do I actually really value? So at the start of the pandemic and I mean really through the pandemic, we were living in Toronto and what we saw was like people were leaving the city. People were like, I’m not going to spend, you know, all this money to live in this teeny little condo in downtown Toronto. Like, I’m going to go buy more property. If I have to work at home, like, I’m going to buy more space, I’m going to get out of the city. It was really interesting to see how people just started to connect maybe with different values. Obviously you couldn’t go out. You could enjoy the kinds of things that you were normally enjoying in the city, you know, the shows and you know, the restaurants and all of that kind of stuff. So people were like, Well, I might as well just go enjoy the country. Interestingly enough, like we’re seeing the reverse movement, and I think a lot of cities, like people are coming back to the cities now as things open up. So I think the disruption of that was really good and asking us to consider our values. I think the work, the relationship of work and home is now incredibly complicated. Now that people a lot of people are at home. My husband is fully remote now, like the boundaries between work and home being completely porous. I think that’s really difficult for people. Some people love it and some people feel like it’s just nonstop work. You know, you wake up and there’s your there’s your desk and there’s your computer and people are sort of assuming that…

Julie [00:19:52] Groundhog Day.

Jen [00:19:53] Yeah. I think also, you know, what’s happened to is I think people do lament that a synchronization of time. You see a lot of research about that that when people went remote. So, for example, my husband’s company was in Chicago, they sold the headquarters and so people dispersed all over the country. Some people are working asynchronously. Of course, you know, there are still certain meetings that are together, but even people leaving church and just deciding, you know, I’m going to catch online services and people that have still not gone back to church. So it means that you kind of like can opt in to things asynchronously, which means you’re not sharing them communally. I think people are regretting that, lamenting that. I mean, sort of recognizing like maybe there are some new freedoms, but also some there are some losses to this kind of a synchronized time. So I think that cache on the whole, you know, there’s probably been as much good as as as ill, you know, in terms of the pandemic. I do think that we also see this, that people are still weary from the pandemic. That while on the one hand, you know, we’re not rid of our categories of productivity and efficiency, but people are still feeling pretty tired. Which I think is really interesting three years into I mean, we’re almost three years into it, you know? I just think people are they haven’t maybe resumed the pace. They still have the expectation that that is normal and good, but they haven’t resumed it. Maybe they’re sort of like criticizing themselves self-flagellating like, you know, why am I so weary? Why does all this takes so much effort to get out of my house and get out of my pajamas?

Julie [00:21:42] Right. You know, I think part of that has to do with the ethos that we allowed to develop around the great before. In that some way, the great before we really had it together, we were doing all these things. If we could just get back to that place. Yet, I don’t know. I lived in those years. You did too. I don’t remember that. It was all, you know, just roses and unicorns. I remember being very burnt out before we ever hit the pandemic. I remember knowing that I had allowed myself to get way out of balance with responsibilities. My calendar was chock full, and it reminds me of when you’ve been doing a really, really hard, hard, hard run and you come to an absolute stop and you don’t have time to like, stretch and cool down. That to me is what the pandemic felt like. We were all running too hard on too thin of a margins. Then we had to come to a hard stop and the muscle aches and tears of trying to get going again are leaving us still kind of wondering, okay, what was that? So I think those are really interesting insights on your part about how all of that is affected us and the way that we see time. Now, I promise we get back around to this. Talk me through the categories of time that you’ve been able to identify in your work.

Jen [00:22:55] Yeah, well, one of the things is just recovering the language of fruitfulness as opposed to productivity. I mean, when you say there’s a lot of imagery in the Bible that talks about, you know, the vine and the trees, and these are images of what the flourishing human life is like. But the interesting thing is that generally trees and vines aren’t productive year round. You know, there’s a seasonality to that. I think that is a really humanizing way to sort of think about, yes, like we want our lives to produce fruit, but there are seasons of wintering, for example, in our lives, you know? In seasons of cutting back and deepening our roots and seasons of drought. Actually, you learn like vines, like enforced drought is a good thing. You don’t put like a drip hose on a vine because you don’t want it to have like steady water. This is true even just like you don’t water your houseplants, you know, every day you’re supposed to give them a little you’re supposed to deprive them a little bit so that they deepen their roots. So I think that’s one category fruitfulness as opposed to productivity, because productivity means every minute has to have visible, measurable output or it doesn’t count. Whereas a fruitful life means you can embrace a season that, you know, may not feel like you’re doing anything measurable or visible or grand or cosmic, but maybe it’s because you’re in a season of study or you’re cultivating your vocation or you’re caring for somebody. You’ve taken on something, some sort of obligation or some yes in your life, which is good. It just means that it’s a different kind of season that you’re not producing something outward. So I think that’s really beautiful. I also think another category for a time is getting time as opposed to productive time. So this is something from I read in a commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes that was just talking about that very famous passage. There’s a season to be born, you know, at a time when it’s time to plant and time to uproot. The commentator was talking about, you know, this idea of like, there’s a fitting time to do something. So often I think we just think of time as these very like just as units you know and however you use the units, then if you’re using the units, then then you’re doing it right, essentially. But fitting time would say no. You know, there are certain moments of time that are now and that are irretrievable. If you don’t take up the responsibility of a particular thing now, like, you might never get it back. So I think asking those questions of like getting time, not just productive time, but like for my season of life, what’s really fitting? I didn’t do it today or in this season, like I might not be able to do it again. Of course, you know, God is a worker of many miracles. So sometimes we think that there’s a fitting season for something and it doesn’t happen. We think, oh, no, you know, time, anxiety. That time has passed and we could see that God might renew it in the future. So I don’t want to say that I always know it’s fitting, but in this particular book I talked about returning to the states to care for my mom because she’s aging, aging and has a health diagnosis. This is the time. Like, I’m not going to be able to procrastinate on that. I guess I would say the last thing you know, in terms of like, instead of thinking about managing time, I’ve started to think about receiving time and this is just like renewing my imagination for time as a gift. Time as a gift given by God. I don’t control it. I don’t harness it. You use that word like I can’t always make it obey my commands. You know, often I’m left to receive interruptions that I don’t expect surprises, contingencies. But if I live my whole life with the assumption that God’s in control, then certainly He’s in control of the time that comes to me today. So I think that is a really helpful way to think about time. It moves us toward gratitude rather than like tight fisted like, No, today really has to go like today. Then, of course, you’re irritable when today doesn’t go like today. So there’s just this greater joy and freedom to just receive the day doesn’t mean, you know, you lie back and well, whatever, you know. But I think you can still be an intentional person. Move towards the days and the hours with intentionality. But then that open handed intentionality like God’s as far as it all hands on me, I want to offer this day with with with faithfulness to You. But whatever You give to me today, whatever surprises and interruptions come my way, I receive those as a through Your hands of providence and wisdom and love.

Julie [00:27:52] I love that simple shift of a verb to receive, because that really keeps me more in a posture of time as a gift. Instead of the entitlement I sometimes approach time with. It keeps me in a better posture of saying while it’s today, while it’s still called today, you know that this is a gift of today. I love that simple exchange of words, but it’s very, very powerful. You have a phrase that you have a couple…the time is too anxiety. Love that. You have another phrase called time counter formation. Unpack this for me. Like I am so intrigued by what this means and I’m pretty sure I need this. So tell me what time counter formation is.

Jen [00:28:36] Yeah, I mean, I would just say that everything is formation in our lives, you know? In particular the kinds of stories that we live. They’re forming us, their forming our our hopes, our expectations, our aspirations, their even informing our disappointments. So in particular, with time, we live a certain story of time. You know, and there’s a cultural story of time, like you only live once, like, you know, if you miss this moment, it’s gone and you got to make it all count. I want to say that there’s a story that we can live that’s a counter formation. I think it’s Psalm 90, which is really like from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. Like, God is not panicked about time. I don’t need to be panicked about time, like if I live. The other thing is I need to recover. Part of the counter formation is to, like, downsize the importance of my life alittle bit. You know, that Psalm 90 says, like, God can sweep away a thousand years as like they’re a dream. Our life is like a shadow, like a mess to vapor all these images that we have in Scripture. Which doesn’t diminish the importance of them. I mean, the thing, the crazy paradox of Scripture is that humans are so like they God gave them reign and rule in the garden and said, you know, be like coregents with me over creation, but like our lives, like we got to sort of like right size them. Psalm 90 says that, you know? So the counter formation of like my life is, is full of dignity because of being made in the image of God and now being called to participate in union with Christ. My life is going to extend actually beyond this life. But my human life, my human days, like the memory of my life, is it’s going to evaporate. Like I say, it’s like shorter than a TikTok video. So there’s not all this pressure on what I have to do and achieve and produce again. Like, I want to be faithful, but I don’t have to be panicked. So I think renewing our imagination for how long time is on the one hand, and how short and brief human life is, and holding those things in tension and knowing that if God’s not panicked by time, I don’t have to be. So entering into that story, forms me in a different way. It actually reforms my relationship with my work in particular. I don’t have to constantly work to, like, perform or secure an identity. I work as an offering to God. Then I patterned my work after His working and creations so I get to rest as well.

Julie [00:31:33] I think that’s such a beautiful way of looking at it. You know, Jen, I’m sure that we have listeners out there who are saying, listen, I would love to have a time counter formation. I am absolutely resonating with everything that you’re saying. But I’m in a work situation with a boss who certainly does not share the same philosophy or theology. I’m in a season of life where it is just moving from one thing to the next. I have someone in my world who is needing chronic care all the time, and that’s going to continue for many, many years. What do you say to someone in a situation like that? Where there are those of us who need to be reminded that we don’t get to control time? Then there are others who are saying, Oh no, I’m fully aware, and the pace at which I’m having to live because of all of these other things around me, outside of my own decisions, is carrying me so fast and it’s such an intensity. I don’t know how to keep a breath. What do you say to someone who’s in that kind of circumstance?

Jen [00:32:30] Yeah, I mean, the reality of modern work today is just inhuman. It really is. I see the research that says we’re getting the sign productivity scores. These are just conditions that we live in and can’t change, as you said. I think we have to be honest about…I mean, I think we have to live as courageously as we can. Sometimes, you know, we’re just maybe afraid to make decisions that could be actually possible and available to us. I mean, I see that even in my husband’s work. I mean, I have work that’s very self-directed and I get to sort of choose what I do and when I do it. He doesn’t have the kind of flexibility that I do. Then I see that he has he can make courageous decisions and those are available to him sometimes. So I do want to call people to the courage that this kind of story is calling us to. Even if it means people look at you and think, wow, you’re sort of like slacking in the office. Or maybe you don’t, you know, get to climb the ladder at the same pace and rate as other people. I think if you’re in a caregiving season, so this is a different kind of obligation where it’s, you know, you want to do it and it’s just exhausting. I think this could be true, too, and work like let’s not be heroes. Like let’s not sort of believe the lie of our own heroism. That’s one of the things I talk about in the book, is that time management is very individualistic. It’s really about this isolated individual performing heroics in time to get so many things done. Whereas I think biblically we know like we are members of community. If there are ways that you could look to other people to give you relief, you know, if you’re caring for someone like respite care is a huge part of something that’s a huge gift that the church can offer to people. Whether you’re caring for an aging parents or caring for little ones or, you know, caring for someone who’s chronically ill or, you know, suffers other kinds of challenges, like how can we support one another? I always say that, you know, I like to say it this way. Sometimes busy chooses us and sometimes we choose busy. I think we have to just sort of we have to exercise the discernment to know when we choose busy. When busy is choosing us, like we just pray to God. God, give me Your grace, Your sufficient grace and help and strength. Give me eyes to see it. Give me courage to ask for it. Give me steadfastness for a season that might just have to be sort of endured. But when we choose busy, like we have to be honest about that. Then we have to be honest about the core motivations that drive us to that. What am I afraid of? What do I have to prove? What am I panicked about? Sometimes asking those kinds of questions allows us to, like, sort of take our foot off the gas a little bit and maybe exercise the courage that could be available to us.

Julie [00:35:48] Jen, so much to take from this conversation. Absolutely incredible. I’m thrilled for you’ve got a new book out called In Good Time Eight Habits for Reimagining Productivity Resisting Hurry and Practicing Peace. Where can listeners go to find you? Are you on the socials? Is there a website? Tell us where we can come and get more of your great wisdom and insight.

Jen [00:36:10] Thank you. My website is So, Michel is M-I-C-H-E-L. I am actually going to be offering some seminars in the future so you can look for some days on just the monastic practice of a rule of life, like just thinking about ways we pattern our lives in time to feel a little bit more sane and ultimately just to live with greater faithfulness in time. I am sporadically on socials, Twitter and mostly Instagram at @JenPMichel so they can find me there too. Mondays, actually, I write a letter letters to readers, and they can subscribe to those on my website.

Julie [00:36:49] Fantastic. I love that. Well, Rebecca will put all this in the show notes. So listener, you know what to do. Get over to the show notes. Check out where all those links are. Jen, thank you so much for taking time. See what I did there to be on today. Really appreciate you. This has been just fantastic.

Jen [00:37:05] Thank you so much, Julie. Thanks so much.

Julie [00:37:08] All right. So go check out Jen on the socials. You can check out more places that you can connect with her in the show notes. Hey, do me a favor, if you don’t mind. Take just a second and get the link to this episode and send it to someone who, you know, really is wrestling a little bit with how to manage time, feeling a little overwhelmed and having some new ideas. Be sure and send it to them when you share, when you care. I really appreciate it. Helps us to know that the podcast is speaking to you, and it’s just one of the best ways that we get to interact with you and see more people get to find all of this great content. I will see you next time on the All Mom Does podcast.

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