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Declutter for Generosity

3 steps to help simplify your calendar & give back in ways that are meaningful to you


A quick glance at anyone's calendar – including your own – and it's easy to understand why so many people struggle to make time for giving back. Work, school, home, sports, family and church activities leave little room for anything else.

With so many things vying for your attention, it's both wise and fruitful to cut out the unnecessary – whether that's reducing physical clutter in and around your home, or decluttering your calendar.

Being intentional about your schedule allows you to make time for the things you value most. So what does it take to develop a lifestyle of generosity? Whether you are a young college student or on the brink of retirement, here are three steps to help you make time for giving back.

Step 1: Evaluate your commitments

Take inventory of your current daily, weekly and monthly commitments. Consider seasonal or yearly commitments as well. Your list might include work, family, home, civic or religious duties, social obligations and hobbies. List them all.

Then ask yourself:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What am I committing to out of guilt?
  • What do I need to delegate or relinquish responsibility for?
  • Are these commitments life-giving?
  • Do these commitments support my values, dreams and goals?

Cutting away the clutter can be, at times, a painful process. If you need extra support, work through this list of questions with a family member or friend.

Step 2: Find your passion

Becoming generous with your time becomes easier when you clarify your passions and values, and make intentional choices around those. Where do you want to volunteer? Who do you want to serve? Find a cause you care about and get involved. You just might find yourself spending time in the local library, at an elementary school, with a sports team or at a food shelf.

Step 3: Pencil it in

Once you've found your passion, search for service opportunities in your community and then add them to your schedule right away. Think about it: Board meetings, dentist appointments and birthday parties all go on the calendar. The same goes for volunteer commitments. If it's on the calendar, you'll be less likely to forget about the commitment, overschedule or double book.

When you minimize activities that add unnecessary clutter to your schedule, you can be confident you'll make time and space for the things you value – including a lifestyle of generosity.

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