The Fringe Hours

fringeJessica N. Turner makes a valuable contribution to the do-it-all/balance/super mom cultural debate with her insightful and helpful book The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.  Drawing on surveys of women in a wide variety of stages, circumstances, and walks of life, Turner notes that the key to making headway on your goals and taking time to be filled rather than running on empty means making good use of the fringe hours of your life–those tiny increments of time between the pressing demands of your job, family, community, and everything else you do.

If you have ever tracked your time (168 Hours is a great resource for that) you probably know this to be true.  While women today don’t often have huge unclaimed chunks of leisure time, the structure of modern life means that we do have spare minutes here and there, and with some deliberate choices we can create more pockets of time.  When we are deliberate with our fringe hours, making choices to do fill that time with things that are restorative and life-giving, it makes us better and more effective in all of our other roles.

I found the whole book helpful, inspiring, and encouraging.  A couple of the points I thought were particularly strong include:

  • Balance doesn’t mean being everything to everyone, pleasing everyone, or setting a lot of unrealistic expectations on yourself to be a super woman.
  • Your schedule is your own.  Don’t do things just because you feel guilty not doing them, don’t feel like your calendar has to look like anyone else’s, and don’t justify busyness as something valuable.  It’s not about doing ALL the things, but about doing the things that matter most to you and your calling.
  • It’s ok to ask for help. Turner does a great job of identifying areas where getting help might make your life less frantic, and her suggestions are broad enough to apply to women in a wide range of situations. Sometimes you just need to look at things from a different angle to have a breakthrough.

Overall, the book is not about maximizing your every second or reaching some externally-imposed idea of success.  Rather, it’s a call to live more deliberately, and to realize that running yourself ragged isn’t the life God has called you to live.  Whether you’re single or married, have children at home or not, work outside the home or from home or are a homemaker or retired, I think any woman would find The Fringe Hours a worthwhile read.

How do you spend your fringe hours?  It will come as no surprise that I spend most of mine reading.  🙂


Disclosure: The publisher sent me a free advance reader copy of The Fringe Hours, but the opinions in this post are my own.  Links in the post are affiliate links – when you click through to Amazon from this blog and make a purchase, A Spirited Mind gets a small commission.  Thank you for your support!

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