Regnum Christi

Lenten Resolutions to Make the Most of Your Day

Recently, when I told a friend that I was going to give up wasting time for Lent, she responded, “But how do you even have any time to waste?!” And she’s right, I really don’t. As anyone who works in a parish knows, Lent is not a time for slacking – we’re all running around trying to figure out the best way to fill the big baptism tub for the Easter Vigil, or how we’ll keep the pre-programmed alarm from going off in the middle all-night adoration, on top of our regular Lenten tasks. On top of that, I teach two classes at the local university, so any free time I’ve got, in the first week of Lent at least, will be spent marking midterms. And of course, family life includes rides that need to be given, soccer matches that need to be watched, and a poor husband who needs to be assured that I know he exists every once in a while!

It’s a busy life stage for me, with every hour of my day packed with activity, at work and at home, and while there doesn’t appear to be a minute to spare in my schedule, why do I feel so often like the little time I do have, I’m wasting?

The answer is, I think, that it’s not so much that I’m wasting time, but that I’m simply not using the time I have in a meaningful and intentional way. For me, then, using my time well does not mean filling my days with more things, or never resting, but being purposeful in all the things that do fill my day – work, rest, and play. Instead of feeling like I’m running from one thing to the next, I’d like to feel like I’m more present in every moment. And when I’m “resting,” I’d like to spend less time scrolling through Facebook reels and more time doing things that are actually restful.

Here are two ideas I’m tossing around to add to my Lenten journey this year:

  1. Make – and adhere to – a daily routine.

My years in grad school, and in particular, the second year, was probably the most productive year of my life. I excelled at my course work, held a TA position with regular classes and office hours, and made good headway on my thesis, along with working out at the campus gym for an hour every morning, attending daily Mass, and managing to read at least two novels a week in my spare time! This was, of course, several decades ago, and I’ve never managed to reproduce the level of efficiency I had in my life back then (when, in my defense, I was living alone, and not sharing a home and a life with six other people).

But the one thing I did during that year, that I’ve never been able to do well since, is stick to a routine. In my little daytimer, the time was marked in 15 minute increments, and each of those increments of my day was accounted for: workout, gym, class, study, visit, read, sleep.

It’s not hard to write down a daily routine, but it can be a real sacrifice to stick to it. To exercise  or do laundry when I feel like staying in bed, to pray when I feel like I need to get straight to work on a particularly busy day, to read or sleep when I am tempted to scroll mindlessly through my phone. Adhering to a routine means, quite often, at least for me, detaching from my preferences, what I feel like doing, and obeying the duty of my state of life.

  1. Reduce screen time

Other than consistently keeping to a daily routine, there was one other thing that made that year so much more productive than any other, including my first year of grad school: I didn’t watch TV (or consume any media, for that matter). In my first year, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment, where I had a little TV that I turned on whenever I was home, just to fill the silence. I got into the habit of watching TV all evening, and falling asleep to Seinfeld every night.

In my second year of grad school, I had moved closer to school, renting a single bedroom out of the basement of a house just a block off campus. There was a TV in the shared living room, but as an introvert, I preferred to come home and spend time alone in my own room after a full day of peopling. Instead of watching TV, I read, going through two or three books in a week.

And this was, of course, long before cell phones, which hold infinite hours of docuseries (my favourite) to consume, and to distract me from those other things I could, and ought to, be doing. If I truly wanted to replicate the level of productivity I had during that one magical year of my life, there would need to be a serious reduction in the time – the hours – I spend on my phone each day.

And it’s not that I am seeking higher production rates out of myself – that’s not really the point of it all. I think that what I’m after, in trying to reproduce some of the habits and attitudes I had in that year, is not the productivity, but the peace. In following a routine, and in not having access to media that distracted me from it, I went through my day with a sense of order, that everything, every activity, was in its place. When I went out with friends, or read, or napped, I knew that the other things I had to do were done, or would get done, because they had a designated space in my day. There was peace in knowing that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl. 3:1). And that daily peace is what I’m really after.

If this isn’t what you’re looking for this Lent, you might try one of these other Lenten themes I’ve written about in previous years, like:

Lenten Resolutions When You Have Relationships in Need of Healing

Lenten Resolutions for Your Mental Health

Lenten Resolutions to Improve Your Relationship with Food

Lenten Resolutions for Your Marriage

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Alex Kucera

Atlanta

Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!