About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. I’m using my fringe hours to watch and comment before work! Love it!

    Q1. I did download the time log, but I’m going to wait until next Monday to start tracking time. I already know I have a large amount of time in the mornings (I get up around 5:20 but don’t leave for work until almost 8:00, and no children yet) and most evenings during the week. I’m realizing that I often waste time in the evenings, as we generally don’t have many responsibilities during the week. I’m working on being more intentional in how I spend my time during the evenings, instead of being lazy and relaxing on the couch! I’ve been knitting for just over a year now so I still find myself trying to get in the habit of doing it regularly. I also really enjoy reading and try to make time for that as well.

    Q2. As a teacher my lunch break is pretty much out the window – I don’t have much time during the school day for fringe hours for myself. So, as I said in Q1, I have a good amount of intentional time in the mornings in the Word and in prayer. I also try to get some chores done during that time as well (folding laundry from the night before, cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast). I find it’s difficult for me to manage the evening hours, as there’s so much time to fill, it’s easier for me to waste time watching TV, when I know that’s a great amount to spend on myself or with my husband. I’ll often head to the gym after school, and sometimes read or knit in the evenings as well.

    Q3. “I believe that when we overcommit our nights, it can have a negative impact on our days. Nights are a gift to use to refuel and invest in yourself” (127). This stuck out to me because in my marriage I’ve had to really learn how to step back from over-committing with church activities during the week, and now I’ve come to really value the evenings during the week to refuel and invest in myself and my marriage.

    • I’m impressed you already get up so early!!! It seems once we become more AWARE of time, we’re better stewards of it.

      Also, it’s great for you to know what ISN’T a good fringe hour block of time for you–lunch. Then you can not worry about figuring how you can maximize that time, when it’s pretty much not an option. You’re fortunate to see where you DO have those hours to invest.

    • I totally understand the no lunch break as a teacher! When I was working full-time in the brick-and-mortar school our lunch break was like 20 mins! Less when you take into account talking to students, heating your lunch, etc. I also frequently used it to grade or set up labs (science)! There is definitely no free-time at work when your a teacher!

  2. As a stay-at-home mom of a 4 year old I am on control of how my hours are spent. I have not committed my family to many outside activities that are set in stone so that we can just go with the flow. This has been a tremendous blessing to us and I tend to flourish with not having loads of outside commitments. With that being said, our daily routines tend to be pretty consistent and predictable.

    I know where my pockets of time are and my challenge at this time is to use those pockets of time intentionally. I need to add some soul-enriching activities in those moments and I intend to explore what those soul-enriching activities are. This is such a work in progress for me because taking time just for my pursuits is a very foreign uncomfortable thing for me to do.

    I need to start my days slowly, connecting with myself and with God in order to set the tone for the best possible day for me.
    At night is when I have the lengthiest most predictable fringe time and this is where I need to maximize things that light my fire.

    • “I know where my pockets of time are and my challenge at this time is to use those pockets of time intentionally.”

      You’ve jumped that first hurdle…now on to the second. 🙂

  3. Q1 When I started teaching at the college level part time, I was asked to teach an orientation class that the students take before they start their major. Most of the students here are adults in their 30’s and 40’s who work full time and are returning to school to try to finish their degree. We read First Things First by Stephen Covey,and one of the assignments in class was to do this activity. When we were done, we had to label the items on our list as important or non-important and then urgent or not urgent — it was LIFE CHANGING for me. I saw how I was using my time for all the wrong things, and i made adjustments. — That was 7 years ago, and I was single at the time. This week, I have “re-visited” the idea. I didn’t track, but I sat down and wrote out a rough estimate of how i spend my 24 hours on a weekday. 7 hours sleep, 9 hours work and travel to work, 2 hours on dinner and clean up, 2 hours on quiet time and getting ready in the AM. I have 4 hours left in there somewhere, and I realized that I am not making the most of them.

    Q2. I am a night owl. I laughed at Angie’s comment about calls in the morning because we recently had to have a “come to Jesus” conversation with a friend who likes to send long texts early in the morning. No texts before 9 AM unless you are getting arrested or in the hospital. 🙂 — Like Jessica, I am a working girl, so I use my lunch hour to read, pay bills, blog, etc. — I make calls to friends and family or pray for my people on the drive home. I read blogs in the bathroom and standing in lines using my feedly app on my iPhone. (Yes, you can read in the bathroom. I am going there.) — I always have a book and my journal in my purse.

    Q3. I loved LIz’s quote on page 120: “The act of finding joy in the every day moments–that became my conscious stand in the midst of the most challenging year of my life.”

  4. Q1. I’m looking for a good app to track my time. I know myself well enough to know that I’m a lot more likely to do it if I can enter the info on my phone rather than remember to keep up with a piece of paper and write it down! I know I waste some time derping around on the computer, but I’m not sure how many actual usable chunks of time I have. I could be spending time before bed reading or doing something other than derping on the computer (but I like derping on the computer, so maybe that does count as “me” time?).

    • I just have to admit that I have never seen the word “derping” until this study :). And now I’ve seen it just about every time we have a new FH post! So there ya go… 😉

      Wow, though, Lisa, yours is a FULL life; I hear the challenge in your activities. I’m w/you on Q3, though–I think you NEED that women’s group! It IS a FH thing!!

      Just continue to evaluate your time and hopefully minutes will stretch to include those things that fill your tank. xo

  5. “What would you add to the conversation around the table?” – Well, here at my desk, when Angie said: “When you say morning, I hear middle of the night”, I spoke out loud “Me too, sister”. 🙂 Even though I’m a nighttime girl, I try to get up before my kids need to be up because there is so much value in that peacefulness of a quiet house. I need the sacredness of that time when I’m not “on call”. My kids think that I have a super-power of not needing an alarm clock. I haven’t used an alarm clock in years, yet, I’m never late to anything. The only reason that this is true is because I wake up with the sun, it’s my natural alarm clock. But, now that DST is back, I end up waking up around 7:00 instead of 6:00. I would like to be more intentional about being up at 6:00.

    I homeschool, and my husband works from home, so I really struggle to find time that I consider to be fringe-worthy. Not because it doesn’t exist, but because I foolishly feel as if any time that my family is around, I need to be doing something with them. Unwarranted guilt, sigh–those hard-wired things are hard to renounce. I don’t purposely think this way. I don’t even believe in it. I’d caution a friend against it. Guilt is my greatest bully.

    The Lord is gently guiding me in another way though, and patiently waiting for me to catch up. I’m so grateful. He has good stuff in store for me, and I need to learn to let Him be bigger than guilt, and trust Him to provide wisdom for how to use my time – His time – with purpose. I can’t pour from an empty pitcher. When I’m fulfilled, I can more genuinely be used by God to pour into others.

    • What a gentle soul you are, Brenda. “Guilt is my greatest bully” – I think many women can relate. Except I’d call it FALSE guilt because you’ve done nothing to warrant it, right? You sound like you’re making progress and that is a beautiful evidence of the Spirit working in your life :).

  6. Since I started reading this book, I have been getting up earlier in the morning every day in order to have some time to myself before my daughter and husband are up and I have to be “on.” I start with a devotional from IF:Equip, or YouVersion if it’s the weekend. It’s easy because it’s on my phone, and reading it helps me wake up and into the right mindset for the day. I don’t look at anything else or do anything else until I have had that time. Then, if I have gotten up early enough, I go and make myself some coffee and breakfast. If I still have extra time, I will read or work on a personal project before I start getting ready for the day. Right now, I’m getting up between 5:00 and 5:30 so I can be in the shower and getting ready by 6:00 am. It has been a stretch, but I’m doing it, and now I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

  7. Loved the section on mornings. Since I am a morning person, I loved “studies show that the most successful people wake up early” and “morning people were happier than night owls and felt healthier.” At the end of the chapter, I loved the quote from Dr. Gail Saltz, “If you go to pieces, everyone is going down with you.” So true, and they are going down whether they want to or not.

    • Hmmm, since I’m up at 4:50 for boot camp 3X a week, maybe I’ll become more successful. I definitely know my body is moving in the right direction :).

  8. I’m so happy Angie said Jessica’s mornings (at 5am) sound like the middle of the night! I’m a night owl too, and I’ve tried to wake up early. Like Leigh, I just stare blankly at what’s in front of me. Although, I found that the mornings are wonderful for devotional time, and then I stare blankly at the wall or go back to sleep. 🙂

    Jessica wrote about reading during the times we wait (in line, at the airport, at appointments). I love my Nook Color for this because I have a library in my purse. I read during waiting times and those fringe minutes really do add up!

    • Angela, your comment reminded me that I FORGOT to take “anything fringy” to a hair appointment last week. I could have KICKED myself when I realized I had forgotten my book. And then I remembered my iPhone…and my Kindle app…and the book I was in the middle of there…. 😉

  9. Q1: So I did not print the log yet, but all my free moments throughout the day go to trying to do my part-time online teaching job. I try not to put my daughter in daycare too much, so I have to squeeze in work whenever I get a chance.

    Q2: I will say that at night, after my daughter goes to bed, I try not to do my work stuff, unless I am behind. I try to save this time to spend with my husband, read, or veg out with netflix. I do better with using larger blocks of time. I have a hard time throughout the day because I feel so guilty if I have my daughter watch too much tv while I get cleaning, working, or other things done. She watches WAY too much TV =-( I would really like to find time to pray and spend time with the Lord, but this time needs to be uninterrupted. I have tried to do it at night, but I start to fall asleep! I am more of a morning person, but my daughter sleeps with us and if I get up (even to pee) she wakes up instantly! So waking up before her in the morning is a no-go.

    Q3: I am definitely not someone who overcommits. I already know that I will/would be too stressed if we had to do something every or most week nights. I read or heard somewhere while doing chapter 6 (already cannot remember where!) someone mentioned that they try to only be gone 1-2 nights a week. Any more than that and they feel overwhelmed. That would be me! I need a much slower pace. When I go back to work full-time and my daughter is in school I know that I would not be able to handle too many activities. I need that time to decompress at home. I am blessed that I am able to stay home with my daughter and work from home as an online teacher because I do not know how working moms do it all! Kudos to you!

  10. How do you get over the guilt of not playing or spending time with your child? I already have her watch too much TV in order to do work (online teaching) or cleaning/cooking. I try to have her help me with the cleaning and cooking sometimes, but I think I really do have her watch too much TV. =-(

    • Hi, Shelly. I don’t think you mentioned her age…I have 3 kids and we were really strict about tv time with the first, and typically, got more relaxed about it as we got to #3. I think that most people would say that it is a good idea to teach your child to play with toys by themselves some. There is also a technique where you start your child doing something, and do it with them for a bit, then say, “okay, you finish this picture/puzzle/keep playing with the blocks while i go do the laundry for a few minutes” to get them used to independent play. if she’s older, can you set a timer for both of you? like, “okay, i’m going to work for 30 minutes…what are you going to do for 30 min? yes, reading is a great idea… When the timer goes off, we can meet in the kitchen and start supper.” Does any of that sound helpful? and guilt is pretty much a waste of your time…you are probably doing the best that you can. if you want to wean her off of too much tv, just keep that in mind and try a little at a time. when you move forward on it (she watched less today than yesterday), then rejoice! if she picks up a book or toys or something, and the tv wasn’t on, then rejoice! if you know that you played one game with her, or read a book together, whatever, be glad for that positive time together and let her know that you enjoyed it. i hope something here helps! 🙂

      • †hose are some good tips, thank you! The encouragement is also appreciated. My daughter is 2.5 years old, so I am just now able to get her to start playing by herself. I think we did pretty good today! I sat with her at the table while she did her workbook and coloring and I made my weekly meal plan and then read some in a book. =-) That worked pretty well! She actually enjoys her workbook so much that we probably did about 3 hours of that today! <–Her choice!

        I think I need to invest in more workbooks. =-)

        When I grew up the TV was on ALL the time, even just for noise and not to watch. I am slowly trying to break that habit too.

        • Tami had some great ideas to offer 🙂 (thanks Tami!) At 2 1/2, she’s beginning to be able to do more for herself. Do you have a pack & play? Sometimes a small bit of time could be reserved for her to have special toys she can only play with when she’s confined for a short while. I grew up when playpens were around, so it was natural for me to use a pack & play to help when I NEEDED to do something without a wee one under foot. That way I knew my babies were safe, had something fun to do, and I was able to get whatever it was done without worrying they would get hurt.

          Slow and steady weaning of TV is good; she’d protest WAY too much if you went cold turkey!! And maybe invest in some educational programming where it’s not mindless cartoons but something where she’s learning new information of skills. Be gentle to yourself–you ARE doing the best you can!! xo

  11. Q1 I did print the time log and I am going to use it. I work night shift part of the week and then flipflop to a day time ‘at home with my kids homeschooling and being with family’ life the other days. I know this isn’t an excuse but it is hard to deal with and makes waking up at the same time everyday very difficult. But I know that I can manage my time better. I both look forward to this exercise and I am a little afraid of it too. I might be wasting a good bit of time. 🙂 Also, I know that I need to be better at going to bed at a decent time on my nights off from work. If I stay up a little late (11pm) then my body seems to flip a switch thinking I should be up all night and then I can’t sleep.
    Q2 I find little pockets of time hard to manage and not to waste. I do always carry a book with me and that has helped me to get more reading done like I would like. But, at home, if I didn’t realize I was going to have the time and planned for it, then I feel like I let the time slip away. I fill it with what I “should be doing” or just jump on facebook and scroll (or other “mindless” actiivity). I used to be much better at managing my time and have sort of let it slip in this season of my life. I have found myself more worn out and have trouble really thinking well lately. I recognize this as time that I may need to focus more on my health and let some pockets of time go just to rest.
    Q3 My biggest take away from this chapter was to slow down and breathe and enjoy. It seems like the message was to savor whatever moment you were in in whatever place you were. So, for example, if you are with your kids, then savor it. Then you won’t feel guilty in another moment when you are doing something for you thinking you should be with your kids more.

    • Rebecca, I love how honest you are about the time log exercise; I did that years ago and I was a little convicted (and confounded) at what I discovered…! Time and our use of it is a sneaky thing; this study seems to be getting a lot of us to become aware with how we’re spending it, which is such a healthy exercise :).

  12. 1. I printed the time log out today, and I’m going to start using it this week. I’m excited and hope to discover some things! I’m pretty sure where I waste the most time – tv and internet.

    2. The most pockets of time I have are nights/weekends. I work full time and have 5 kids, so the weekends I really value for family and “me” time! I think it’s harder to manage longer stretches of time because I find that I’m so exhausted from the week, that I just want to watch tv! If my husband is home, then my time is even more limited, but when he’s at work I can get productive (after I wake up, that is… I’m not a morning person!).

    • Let us know what you discover after you track your time Christina!! I’d love for some readers to share what they discovered and whether or not it was a surprise.

  13. Q2: I am finding that I need to maximize a TRUE lunch break in the middle of my day to catch up on things that I have been putting off. I am also finding that a quick review of my emails early in the morning is a great way for me to not put off those important, quick tasks that need to be accomplished. Also, I am DETERMINED to set an earlier alarm and make time to allow for more fringe hours in the earlier part of my day to enjoy spending time in the word, praying, reading books, as I truly enjoy reading and learning from others!
    Q3: “Be careful to make good improvement of precious time”. That resonated with me that I am not maximizing all of my fringe hours! I sat yesterday on my free weekend day and mindlessly thumbed through Facebook and Instagram when I could have been using that time that more than likely amounted to a good bit of time on reading one of the many books I am enjoying right now! I need to be more mindful of those precious moments/time that I have, whether 5 minutes or 60 minutes!