Something That Worked for Me in 2017

Sometime this past spring, I decided I wasn’t going to work on Sundays any more.

I’d never really meant to be working on Sunday, but when your work is at your fingertips all day, every day, it just gets really easy for it to slip into every available moment of your life.

Week after week, it seemed like there was just one tiny thing left to do, or sometimes a big thing left to do – some freelance article to wrap up, a Facebook post that needed to go up for a sponsored post, or just endless emails to respond to.

I’d feel a low-grade panic every Sunday as the day went on and I needed the girls to get to bed so I could finish these things up. Every Monday morning felt stressful because I often stayed up late to finish things up and I started the week feeling as if I’d had no rest at all.

Gradually, I realized that no one else was going to take control of my schedule for me. If I wanted to take Sundays off and spend them in ways that didn’t involve my blog, it was going to be up to me.

I’d tried having screen-free Sundays in the past, but it had never worked for more than a week or two. I like looking at my email or Instagram, and the idea of not doing that at all on Sunday just wasn’t something that seemed like a long-term solution to me.

Instead, I simply decided: no work.

On Friday afternoons, I try to make sure everything is ready for Monday and if it’s not, I finish it up on Saturday afternoon. Or, sometimes, I just don’t have a blog post go up on Monday (unbelievably, the world has not ended on those occasional Mondays where no post goes up here. I was shocked too).

Now, on Sundays, I don’t sit in church feeling antsy about the things I need to do before the end of the day.

In the afternoons, we play games as a family, and during nap time, it’s the one day of the week that I don’t feel any pressure to work. I read a book or call my mom or take a nap.

We have friends over for dinner or take a walk with the girls around the neighborhood.

I check my email, but I don’t respond to anything. I might post a quick snapshot to Instagram if I feel so inclined, but most Sundays I don’t post at all. Instagram seems to survive just fine without me.

On Sunday evenings, after the girls are in bed, Bart and I plan for the week ahead and go to bed at a reasonable time which is a great way to kick off Monday.

And I wake up feeling energized and refreshed for a week ahead.

I love my work and so I didn’t really feel burned out, but now after months of not working on Sunday, it’s amazing what a difference having that real day of rest and distance from my work has made.

I value Sundays in a way I never have before, as a day to recharge, connect with my family, and prepare for the week ahead.

It’s been a huge reminder to me that if you want to change something in your life, nobody is going to do it for you – you have to make space for it and protect it, whether it’s getting enough sleep or exercising or spending time with friends or whatever else you want to do with your time.

In the past, I’d felt like I was too busy to take a Sabbath – now I feel like I’m too busy not to.


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Photos by Christie Knight Photography

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  • Reply Stephanie January 4, 2018 at 8:24 am

    This was something that I worked for last year also. Especially as my girls are getting older, Sundays are quiet and it’s tempting to use them to finish the neverending to-do list. But it really hit me last year that I needed that one quiet day to balance me, and my family needed it too. Happy New Year to you! I love your blog and especially your reading recommendations.

  • Reply Paige Flamm January 4, 2018 at 9:42 am

    I LOVE this! Especially since last Sunday I was running around like a crazy person making a super bowl tablescape for the super bowl part we’re definitely not having… I think I need to implement this in my life.

  • Reply Karen January 4, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Loved this post. It is easy to let things (especially online things) creep in and take over both your time and your thoughts, and I love your decision to not let that happen, but to focus on what you want your Sunday to be. It is a good reminder to me, both about preserving Sundays and about taking charge in other areas of my life.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw January 5, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      I think you and Dad are such good examples of making time for the things that matter to you. Love you!

  • Reply Diana January 4, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Yes!! I don’t have nearly the blog/outside computer-necessary commitments that you do but I try to stay completely off my computer on the weekends. Not always possible but SO much more relaxing! I LOVE a good Sunday afternoon nap during quiet time! And YES to the “nobody is going to fix your schedule problems but you”. I need to apply that to “nobody is going to get me out of bed early except me…” Such a good reminder as we start the year!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw January 5, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Okay, I’m going to start saying that in the morning – I love it!

  • Reply Rebecca Lately January 5, 2018 at 11:04 am

    This was so lovely to read. I feel the same way about Sundays, and I’m striving to make them family days again. They already are in a lot of ways, but my afternoon and evening is cluttered with thinking about and working on my blog. It’s so nice to hear that you had success in not working on Sundays.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw January 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Blogs are basically like a small baby that ALWAYS need attention, aren’t they?!

  • Reply Tricia McSwain January 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    This! This is what I needed to hear. Thank you!!

  • Reply Karen January 5, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Your closing line is perfect! I learned the same lesson when I was a capstone (final semester) nursing student at BYU and also working part-time as an LPN. I ended up working (for pay as an LPN) every other Sunday and it initially felt like I had MORE time to do things during the week because I’d gotten work time in on Sunday….but then I’d be working 14 straight days (on homework, clinical hours, job hunting, house work or regular work) and the Sundays I didn’t work were SO NEEDED as a mental/spiritual break. Thankfully I set my own schedule now and don’t usually work on Sundays anymore, but I’ve been the primary president for the past 8 months and I’ve had a hard time with how busy my Sundays are! Adding a few hours of meetings on top of a 3 hour church block, along with all the little primary fires/crisises that come up before church and Sunday has felt much less like a Sabbath than I need it to. I’m REALLY hoping that switching from 1 PM to 9 AM church will help with this–even though it means going to ward council much earlier.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw January 5, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      I laughed aloud about the Primary fires because I know those so well! I tell Bart almost every Sunday that a Sunday morning where I don’t get any texts is a good morning (no one, strangely, has ever texted me on Sunday morning to let me know their lesson is all prepared and they’ll be there on time. . . .).

  • Reply Jodi January 5, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    Love this. It’s one of my only real resolutions, to make happen what I want to make happen instead of waiting for life to work it out.

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